Thursday, January 8, 2009 

 

 

Taylor Says Change is Necessary in Corrections

Justice Reinvestment will analyze trends in prison growth

(MADISON) In response to the Ten–Year Facility Development Plan released today by the Department of Corrections, Senator Lena C Taylor (D-Milwaukee), chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing and the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties, issued the following comment.

“In a time of a projected 5.4 billion dollar budget deficit and in light of a projected 1.2 billion dollar price tag for prison expansion, it only makes sense to reverse the trend of corrections and change our “lock ‘em up” attitude in Wisconsin before it bankrupts our state.  Secretary Raemisch hits the nail head-on about identifying options beyond brick and mortar.”   Taylor commented.  “Justice Reinvestment will analyze our corrections policies and identify key trends and possible solutions for the Legislature.”

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) Oversight Committee was created to address exorbitant state corrections spending.  Using a data-driven process, the committee will develop policies to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, reduce population growth.   In other states that have utilized the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, savings of up to 200 million dollars per year have been realized as well as termination of prison expansion.

“The State of the Justice System tour conducted last year by the Senate Judiciary Committee identified the incredible changes our corrections system needs to undergo,” Taylor explained.  “Examples of triple-bunking, reduction of programming space, and barracks housing have added to the ineffectiveness of the system to prepare offenders for reentry.   Adding 8,920 beds will not change that outcome.  Justice Reinvestment will work to identify a new approach to these problems.”