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Goal to Reduce Wisconsin's Prison Population: An Opinion

I share my opinion on the initiative to reduce the Wisconsin prison population.

I recently attended a presentation about the 11x15 initiative to reduce the Wisconsin prison population.  Since I have volunteered at Huber Facility as part of a Bible study for a few years, I was interested to learn more about this issue.  

The first question that I suspect you have is what does the phrase 11x15 mean?  The goal is to lower the prison population from around 22,000 to 11,000 by the end of the year 2015.  This would bring our numbers closer to Minnesota and Maine which the Frequently Asked Questions sheet claims are "states with comparable crime rates and demographics."  

Now, I bet someone is yelling that I am being soft on crime.  We can't allow violent offenders out just to save money.  I agree.  We need to provide alternatives to prison such as our drug court, alcohol court, and the day report center.  We can expand these programs and still manage to save money by reducing our prison population.  The 11x15 website states "Alternatives to incarceration save taxpapers a great deal of money.  Most save at least $2 for every dollar spent."  

I suspect someone is now saying "But, does these programs work?  I remember a person who was out on probation who commited another crime."  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had an article that stated that the day report center had an 89% successful completion rate.  This includes supervision by a case manager, drug testing and other services.  One of my textbooks from Waukesha County Technical College (Drugs and Society: Eighth Edition by Glen Hanson, Peter Venturelli and Annette Fleckenstein) says "Jurisdictions that have implemented drug court programs also report significantly lower arrest, conviction, and drug usage rates for both drug court participants and graduates."  

To learn more about this initiative, please visit PrayforJusticeinWI.org.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Johnny Paycheck July 16, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I'm pretty sure criminality is not genetic... Wasn't Australia an English penal colony once?
Craig July 16, 2012 at 09:55 PM
A round into the head also is very effective at reducing inmate population, it works well for China.
$$andSense July 17, 2012 at 03:28 AM
In addition to imprisoning, Stalin also ordered the execution of somewhere around a million, plus or minus depending on the source, that didn’t agree with him. Does anyone want to go there?
Steve ® July 17, 2012 at 05:50 AM
I love you AWD
Bren July 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM
I think the great problem with incarceration is that it is intended to get antisocial personalities off the street at a lower cost than treatment. It often results in exacerbating the antisocial problems/behavior. Treating human beings like feral animals is illogical. There are behaviors/psychological issues that clearly need to be isolated from the community but there are other crimes that do not require it.

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