June 2, 2008
Taylor Calls for Audit of Secured Juvenile Facilities
MADISON – In a letter to the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, State Senator Lena C. Taylor requested a comprehensive audit of all Department of Corrections (DOC) secured juvenile facilities and of the accompanying daily rate charges assessed to counties.
“The cost of maintaining these facilities keeps going up,” Taylor noted, “while Wisconsin’s population of incarcerated juveniles continues to decline. Given the financial pressures operating on our families and businesses, the Legislature has a responsibility to lessen costs wherever possible. A review of juvenile facilities by the Legislative Audit Bureau would be an important step in the right direction.”
Effective July 1, the juvenile corrections institution daily rate will be set by statutes at $268 per day. Under the new rate, it will cost Wisconsin counties almost $100,000 per year to house a single juvenile in a secured facility. This staggering annual cost prompted Taylor’s call for the audit.
“An audit would let us know whether or not our juvenile corrections system can operate more efficiently, either by cutting operating costs or closing unnecessary facilities. By examining the costs for things like administration, dietary and medical needs, programming, security, education and training, we could identify and eliminate fiscal inefficiencies. In tight economic times, that ought to be a priority.”
The co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Senator Jim Sullivan and Representative Sue Jeskewitz, will consider whether or not to grant a hearing to consider the proposed audit. At present, there is no deadline by which the Committee must grant or deny Senator Taylor’s request.