Undue Influence: The Power of Police and Prison Guards’ Unions

California Correctional Peace Officers Association
California Correctional Peace Officers Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By Andrew Stelzer, National Radio Project


Police officers and prison guards hold tremendous political sway. Their unions support or opposition can make or break a campaign for office. And their advocacy for better pay, more power, and more jobs has been a major factor in the expansion of the prison industrial complex. For decades, they’ve helped build America’s build America’s criminal justice system. Now that system is changing. Can law enforcement unions change as well?


Listen HERE




Patrick Lynch, NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president; Chuck Alexander, California Correctional Peace Officers Association vice president; Pat Quinn, governor of Illinois; Jerry Brown, governor of California; Dan Macallair, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice executive director; Darius Charney, Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney; Rick Hilliard, Southern Illinois Central Labor Council business manager; Alex Friedmann, Prison Legal News associate editor; Leroy Gadsen, New York NAACP Legal Redress Committee Esq. Chair; Eric Adams, New York State Senator; Elizabeth Crowley, NYC City Council member and former Congressional candidate; Howard Wooldridge, Citizens Opposing Prohibition lobbyist; Carlton Berkeley, Retired NYPD Detective; Jonathan Simon, University of California at Berkeley Law professor; Harriet Salarno, Crime Victims United president and founder; Kirk Dutton, AFSCME Local 31 vice president;


Similar to prison guards, police unions advocacy for their members has helped perpetuate cycles of criminalization and incarceration that plague America’s low income neighborhoods, especially communities of color. New York City’s police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, is the biggest, and of the most powerful in the country, But as Jaisal Noor reports, recent controversy over a law enforcement tool called ‘stop and frisk’ has exposed some cracks in the union, and may be opening the door for reform.


Transcript HERE Via TruthOut.org






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