The state's correctional officers join with some of their historical adversaries, including the ACLU, to push for sentencing changes

By Andy Furillo – Bee Capitol Bureau

Sacramento Bee 

Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, February 15, 2007
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A3

The state correctional officers union has forged an alliance with some of its longtime adversaries to propose key sentencing changes that represent a departure from the labor group's pro-incarceration positions of the past.

One proposal being pushed by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association would reserve prison space for "violent and habitual offenders" only. The union also is calling for a sentencing commission to set prison term guidelines that could be changed only if both chambers of the Legislature agree.

Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Oakland-based Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice joined the CCPOA on a union-convened committee that developed the proposals. For years, those groups have contested the CCPOA's historic support for the state's "three-strikes" law and tough revocation policies for parolees, both of which have helped jam-pack the state prison system.

"I think the guards union has come around on the current conditions," said Dan Macallair, executive director of the Oakland group and member of the committee. "There's been a recognition that there have got to be some changes."