Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Senate Budget Cuts Corrections Recidivism & Saves Taxpayers $2.5 Billion over 10 Years
Taylor wins adoption of Justice Reinvestment Sentencing Policy, scales back prison building
(MADISON) Senator Lena C. Taylor (D Milwaukee) today ensured that the state budget passed by the Wisconsin Senate includes policies developed by the Justice Reinvestment study committee in order to increase public safety by reducing recidivism and avert billions of dollars of projected corrections costs as a result.
“Unprecedented, reckless growth in prison expenditures has brought fiscal peril to Wisconsin, and yet, independent data analysis shows this massive investment in incarceration has failed to make our communities safer,” Sen. Taylor said, citing negative trends in the state’s violent crime and recidivism rates. “Today I
applaud my senate colleagues for joining me in approving the Justice Reinvestment policy framework to target crucial public safety resources where they will protect our communities the most.”
A nineteen member bipartisan legislative study committee, chaired by Sen. Taylor, recommended the policy framework based on nonpartisan analysis provided by the Council of State Governments Justice Center. The committee consisted of a cross section of the criminal justice system, all three branches of state government,
and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. “The Justice Reinvestment policy in this budget will make our criminal justice system more cost effective, by focusing resources where they can cut crime and recidivism rates, rather than continuing down the highfailure, high cost path we were on,” Sen. Taylor continued. “Our vote today saves Wisconsin taxpayers $2.5 billion by averting growth in the prison population and the need to build and operate additional prisons. I also commend Senate Republicans for joining the Democratic caucus in the revisions we made to the Risk Reduction Sentence in our deliberations adding a bi-partisan voice to this debate.”
This framework opens up crucial dollars to make Wisconsin communities safer so that immediate public safety investments can be made. Revisions were made on the floor to ensure that the framework was properly codified in state law. These include specialized courts, law enforcement, the Department of Justice, prosecutors and public defenders, and mental health services and drug treatment. In addition, the Wisconsin Senate scaled back provisions of Governor Doyle’s corrections policies that were introduced separately from the Justice Reinvestment study committee process.