The Associated Press reports that approximately 3/4 of Californians see the state heading the wrong direction. The recent findings are based on a Public Policy Poll conducted of sampling of 2,001 Californians from Jan. 12-19.
Among cited concerns are, of course, the economy and budgets. But, the poll also reveals that six in ten Californians prioritize K-12 education in allocating California’s sparse funds. While Californians are willing to pay higher taxes for education, they are not willing to do so for prisons and corrections. An overwhelming 87% of those polled say they do not want tax dollars dispersed to this part of the budget.
Governor Schwarzenegger recently proposed outsourcing prisoners to Mexico, something that reflects his unconventional thinking. His purpose in doing so is to make housing them cheaper, to alleviate overcrowding, and to possibly avoid releasing them early.
There is much to address regarding the state’s education programs as well as the governor’s proposal to outsource prisons. First, in the regards to education, it is a subject that never disappears from a place like California. With that in mind, there really isn’t much new to cover because it’s been regurgitated ad nauseum.
Despite what teacher unions tout in their campaign commercials every election cycle in California, throwing more money at education will not fix K-12’s education woes. As a matter of fact, in hindsight, it has not fixed the broken system to any significant degree.
Despite being one of the richest and highly educated states, the Modesto Bee reported earlier this month that California’s education system is a dismal 49th out of 50 states. According to the Bee, California previously ranked first or second from 1977 to 1987.
Instead of funneling money to superfluous and ineffective education programs, allocate funds to implement a solution to the overcrowded prison situation. Furthermore, equip law enforcement and border security with the most up-to-date resources to keep crime off the streets.
This is a segway to the second point: prisons.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s suggestion to outsource them to Mexico is a highly questionable suggestion. Mexico is fighting a war of their own against a powerful drug cartel. By dumping prisoners into the state’s neighboring country, the governor portrays himself to be an evader of what should be his responsibility.
Also, while the possibility of outsourcing prisons is highly unlikely, it could, in theory, provide a possible recruiting ground for Mexican drug cartels. This would severely challenge Mexican law enforcement authorities. Furthermore, it would pose a security risk for California as prisoners would likely re-enter the state upon release.
Schwarzenegger and the legislature are ignoring that from which they cannot hide. One major factor in prison overpopulation is the significant amount of incarcerated illegal immigrants.
Here's some timely advice. Conduct a thorough reform of the California immigration system in order to alleviate some of its glaring problems, at least to an extent. Brushing it aside will only keep the overpopulated prison problem alive and well.