“Take prison guards,” says John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham Law School who researches criminal justice. “They’re always going to fight efforts to decarcerate, because if you start emptying out prisons, you’re going to get demands to close facilities.”
Providing subsidies to states that decarcerate in order to help prison guards find work is “the kind of thing the federal government could look at,” Pfaff says.
Changing the state and local policies perpetuating incarceration practices would be more effective in weakening the power of law-enforcement unions than federal reforms. But first, citizens must recognize the insidious influence these unions wield.