Prison Guards Blasted in New ‘Yes on 5’ TV Spot

Press Release October 28, 2008
Media Contact

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli at (213) 291-4190 or Tommy McDonald at

California’s prison guards union has provided most of the money lined up against Proposition 5, a drug treatment measure that would reduce prison overcrowding and forestall $2.5 billion worth of new prison construction.

Today the Yes on 5 campaign struck back with a new TV spot that highlights the prison guards’ contributions and their financial interest in defeating Prop. 5.

Titled “Party’s Over,” the new Yes on 5 spot begins, “Our prisons are overcrowded. And prison guards are overjoyed!” The ad then explains that, for prison guards, overcrowding means more overtime pay. “That’s why the prison guards want to stop Proposition 5, and are spending millions against it,” says the ad. “Tell the prison guards the party’s over. Vote Yes on 5.”

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy campaign manager for Yes on 5, said, “We know that California voters will be outraged to learn that the people paying for those No on 5 ads are the people who benefit the most from overcrowded prisons. Let’s not forget, it is California taxpayers who shell out $10 billion a year for a broken prison system and enormous overtime pay for guards.”

The prison guards union, formally the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), contributed $1 million to the official No on 5 campaign on Oct. 14, then last Friday made another $825,000 “independent expenditure” contribution of TV airtime to oppose Prop. 5. This means the prison guards have provided 75% of the money behind the $2.4 million in airtime purchased so far to oppose Prop. 5

Dooley-Sammuli added, “If you want to know why our prison system is dysfunctional, look no further than the checkbook of the CCPOA. The prison guards will fight any reform that might threaten their bottom line. It’s time for the voters to stand up to the 800-pound gorilla of state politics. We can do that by voting Yes on Prop. 5.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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