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California Governor Vetoes Parole Reform Bill

California Governor Gray Davis vetoed a bill that would have diverted "low-risk" parole violators into community-based programs rather than send them back through a "revolving door" to an already overcrowded state prison system.

Some critics call the veto quid pro quo for the $2 million donated to Davis' campaign last year by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), which represents California prison guards. Davis said the parole reform bill "could result in the implementation of unproven intermediate sanctions for parole violators, potentially posing a danger to public safety," the Fresno Bee reported.

The state would have established programs to try "intermediate sanctions" for low risk parole violators. It also would have set up community-based drug treatment and counseling, daytime check-in centers and home detention with electronic monitoring.

Nonpartisan groups, including the Little Hoover Commission and a commission dominated by law enforcement officials, had recommended restructuring of the state's parole system for low-risk offenders to reduce recidivism, lower prison costs, and relieve the demand for new prison construction created by an already overwhelmingly overcrowded prison system.

New state prisons, of course, would create more CCPOA jobs, more CCPOA dues, and more advancement and promotion opportunities for CCPOA member guards.

Fresno Bee, Little Hoover Commission

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