Schwarzenegger seeks shift from prisons to schools


With his state strapped for cash and his legacy looming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Jan. 6 proposed to greatly reduce the amount of money California spends on its prisons and to funnel that sum to the state’s higher-education system instead, reports the New York Times. The governor said he also would push for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the percentage of the state budget earmarked for prisons from exceeding what is set aside for its public university system. “Choosing universities over prisons,” Schwarzenegger said in his final annual address to the Legislature. “This is a historic and transforming realignment of California’s priorities.” While the governor provided few details of his new plan, much of the prison cost savings he envisions would come though privatizing services or prisons themselves, anathema in a state where the union for corrections officers has held political sway for years. Such sweeping change at a time of great fiscal distress in California no doubt will be an uphill fight for Schwarzenegger, a lame-duck governor. The proposal, which would require a constitutional amendment or ballot box action, comes at a time when the state’s vaunted public university system is increasingly perceived as the most visible victim of huge budget cuts…

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With his state strapped for cash and his legacy looming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Jan. 6 proposed to greatly reduce the amount of money California spends on its prisons and to funnel that sum to the state’s higher-education system instead, reports the New York Times. The governor said he also would push for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the percentage of the state budget earmarked for prisons from exceeding what is set aside for its public university system. “Choosing universities over prisons,” Schwarzenegger said in his final annual address to the Legislature. “This is a historic and transforming realignment of California’s priorities.” While the governor provided few details of his new plan, much of the prison cost savings he envisions would come though privatizing services or prisons themselves, anathema in a state where the union for corrections officers has held political sway for years. Such sweeping change at a time of great fiscal distress in California no doubt will be an uphill fight for Schwarzenegger, a lame-duck governor. The proposal, which would require a constitutional amendment or ballot box action, comes at a time when the state’s vaunted public university system is increasingly perceived as the most visible victim of huge budget cuts…

Click here for the full story

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