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Booker: 38% prison cut in gov’t funding "contributes to making us less safe as a society"
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Booker: 38% prison cut in gov’t funding "contributes to making us less safe as a society"

Ep. 19 — Sen. Cory Booker (3-22-2024)
Sen. Cory Booker enters the Senate SCIF after Ask a Pol briefly catches up with him March 22, 2024. Photo: Matt Laslo

Who?

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) — Senate Judiciary Committee

LISTEN: Laslo & Booker

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Ask a Pol asks:

There’s a 38% cut to the nation’s prisons in this latest measure to fund the government?

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Key Booker: 

“This is gonna create incredibly difficult working conditions for our correctional officers, who are already severely underpaid relative to other law enforcement professionals. It could create an undermining of the programs that support incarcerated individuals in empowering them and proving to lower their recidivism rates,” Booker exclusively tells Ask a Pol.

Caught our ear: 

“It also contributes to making us less safe as a society,” Booker says. “It’s really unfortunate.”

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Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), slightly edited for clarity.

Prelude — Booker & Laslo outside Capitol

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Prelude TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Cory Booker

SCENE: Laslo sees Booker after he’s already past one gate to enter the Capitol and tries to get him to stop and chat.

Matt Laslo: (yelling) “There’s a 38% cut to prisons.”

Cory Booker: “I know all about it.”

ML: “You know all about it? I’ll look for you.”

Main TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Cory Booker

An hour or so later Laslo sees Booker inside the Capitol.

Matt Laslo: “38% cuts to the nation’s prisons?”

Cory Booker: “We had a hearing on this that really exposed the underfunding, especially when it comes to correctional officers. This is gonna create incredibly difficult working conditions for our correctional officers, who are already severely underpaid relative to other law enforcement professionals. It could create an undermining of the programs that support incarcerated individuals in empowering them and proving to lower their recidivism rates. So, it also contributes to making us less safe as a society. It’s really unfortunate.”

ML: “Yeah?”

CB: “That said, I know the Democratic negotiators got everything they could off the table. They pushed really hard, but unfortunately, Republicans insisted on these cuts. And, when it comes to law enforcement and public safety, it really is taking a hit today.”

ML: “Yup. As always, ‘preciate ya. Have a good one, y’all.”

Matt Laslo’s a veteran congressional correspondent, new media prof. & founder of Ask a Pol — a new, people-powered press corps.

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