Undue Influence: the power of Police and Prison Guards’ Unions

Making Contact producer Andrew Stelzer headed up our radio documentary funded by Puffin: Undue Influence: the power of Police and Prison Guards’ Unions.
Stelzer worked with freelance reporters Jaisal Noor (New York City based reporter) , and Joanne Mar, (a San Francisco based public radio reporter).

Mar dug deep into one of the most powerful prison guard’s union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. Her report looks back at CCPOA’s rise to power their influence in creating “tough on crime” policies like three-strikes and the new state-to-county transfer of prisoners under realignment.

Stelzer paired Mar’s report with Noor’s investigation of the New York City police union’s promotion of policies that criminalize low income folks and people of color. For instance, the controversial “stop and frisk” practices.

Our audiences learn about the connection between the police unions pressuring for policies that round up dis-empowered people and then the prison guards’ unions that keep them locked up for increasingly lengthy sentences. Listeners learn about, and take action on, intersecting issues of the environment, economic justice, racism, corporate power, and immigration, as well as police and prison systems.

With Puffin’s support we conducted social marketing via facebook and twitter. We provided print transcripts and related videos as well as links to our April 2012 edition Police Tape: From Rodney King to Aiyana Jones.

Another Making Contact program examined the economic, environmental and “security apparatus” (read: police crackdown) impacts of The Olympics–by Making Contact’s George Lavender. The Olympic Games: Who wins? included freelance reports from London, Denver and Vancouver about negative effects of the event on the people and places where the Games take place.

On that beat, also look out in Summer 2013 for Big Telecom Profiteering from Prison Phone Calls — currently in research phase by George Lavender and our Prison

Additional Websites: http://www.radioproject.org/2012/04/police-tape-from-rodney-king-to-aiyana-jones/, http://www.radioproject.org/2012/07/the-olympic-games-who-wins/