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In my last two CA Policy blogs I discussed successful marketing strategies employed by special interest groups to thwart criminal justice policy reform. The two propositions I depicted as examples, involved sophisticated use of rhetoric and multimedia visibility. Both Proposition 66 and Proposition 5 were opposed by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), whose influential role in the opposition campaigns is documented in CJCJ’s CCPOA Information Sheet.

Here’s a table of the contributions CCPOA made to various ballot measures since 2004, provided by Follow the Money:

The most recent CCPOA legislative updates are available on their website. 

In July 2010, CJCJ’s Executive Director Daniel Macallair posted a blog entitled, A New Responsible CCPOA, which chronicled the CCPOA’s promotion of harsher sentencing laws and prison expansion. However, he also acknowledged the new leadership of Mike Jimenez and suggested that there had been a shift in the CCPOA’s agenda, concluding: 

Clearly the challenge of the future for the CCPOA is to take a leadership role in repairing the damage of its past policies and creating a better working environment for both staff and inmates.”

In January 2010, Mike Jimenez made a statement that the California Prison System is failing at every level.” The CCPOA launched its corrections blueprint entitled New Direction, in which it laid out its vision for criminal justice reform, including changes to sentencing, assessments, rehabilitation, infrastructure, parole, and juvenile justice. 

The association’s new direction reflects the understanding that prison are not only unsafe for inmates, but for staff as well. CCPOA’s recent support of Gov. Brown’s Realignment strategy suggests a recognition that past policies and agendas have failed to create a criminal justice system that promotes rehabilitation and public safety. Perhaps under this new era of leadership the association can contribute to criminal justice policy making that encourages safe conditions for both inmates and staff.