This editorial is from the Orange County Register:

Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent offer of a large raise to the California prison guards union is yet another demonstration of misplaced priorities in Sacramento and the outsized influence of public-sector unions.

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the proposed contract with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association proposes a 5 percent raise with only “weak justification.”

The LAO points out that since 2001-02, pay raises for California’s prison guard pay have already kept well above inflation. While inflation-adjusted pay from 2001-02 and 2019-20 might be expected to grow about 45 percent using the U.S. Consumer Price Index or 54 percent using the California CPI, the LAO notes that if this 5 percent raise goes through, California prison guard pay “will have increased 67 percent between 2001-02 and 2019-20.”

Certainly not bad considering that in 2015 the average base pay for workers represented by the CCPOA was $76,000, especially when you contrast that with the average salary of a correctional officer or jailer in Texas, which Southern California News Group columnist Susan Shelley recently noted was just $41,420 in May 2017. It’s even above the median household income in California of $67,739.

Throwing another 5 percent raise on top of it for the sake of it isn’t a prudent use of finite taxpayer resources.

Notably, the LAO reportedly found “no evidence of recruitment or retention issues to justify the large pay increase. In fact, we find that … compensation levels likely are sufficient to allow correctional facilities to meet personnel needs at the present time.”

All things considered, this seems like an unduly generous offer from a governor who simultaneously is cautioning the Legislature to be more fiscally disciplined as the odds of the next recession become increasingly likely.

With undisciplined handouts like this, it’s no wonder the average cost to incarcerate someone in California prisons has long since surpassed $70,000 per prisoner per year. Considering the high rate of recidivism, it can’t be said California has been getting much of a positive return on its prison spending.

This proposal should be spiked by the Legislature should it get any further.

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