Thursday, January 13, 2011

Focus on reentry reduced Wisconsin's prison population

Since I'm hopeful Texas will embrace policy changes to reduce the number of inmates in Texas prisons, I was interested to see this story from the Wisconsin State Journal on successful efforts in that state to reduce their prison population by 14% over the last couple of years during a period when crime continued to decline. What did they do to achieve that?
it wasn't former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's controversial earned release program — coincidentally projected to result in up to 3,000 early releases — that fueled the reduction. And whatever small impact that program had will likely end soon: GOP Gov. Scott Walker has vowed to kill it.
Corrections officials instead credit the reduction to a systemwide push begun five years ago to prepare all prisoners for re-entry into society. It aims to reduce the number of offenders who return to prison, either for violating terms of their release or by committing new crimes.

The initiative includes assessing each prisoner's risk to re-offend and providing at least some of them with services such as drug and alcohol treatment, anger management, job training, education and community support to boost their chances of success on the outside, said Mary Kay Kollat, director of re-entry for the state prison system.

Kollat acknowledged the department can't say for sure that the re-entry initiative — funded by a series of federal grants, private funding and a $10 million state grant — has played a role in the dramatic reduction, but it hasn't hurt.

"We know that some criminals belong in prison for a long time, and in some cases, forever," she said. "But research shows anywhere between 95 (percent) and 97 percent of offenders will get out. It is common sense that those people should be offered services and tools so that when they get out, they can be law-abiding citizens. That makes all of us safer."


Hook Em Horns said...

Hey Grits...FYI|topnews|text|

Audrey said...

This only makes good sense. It was my experience in the Women's units of TDCJ...they are not rehabbing anybody. The limited classes are a joke. This led me to the conclusion that TDCJ was far more interested in maintaining recidivism to keep there BIG BUSINESS funded. On the county level, in Dallas, there were many women who were also there for the funding purposes only...i.e. getting meals, provided a "bed" but were receiving NO due'd think it would be the same data base for both purposes but they just didn't exist when it came to the courts and being provided an attorney. I helped many of those write letters begging for due process. In addition, women released would get rearrested by vice in the parking lot of Lew Sterrit, because if they didn't talk to the vice cop and get arrested for prostitution, then they would get arrested for lewd behavior. Quotos!! Keep that funding coming. I don't think Dallas or the State wants to reduce these costs...their behavior shows the opposite. If there is not enough cases...then create them. The joke among Dallas is more difficult to get a conviction for an innocent person than someone who is guilty....but it can be done!

Hook Em Horns said...

When you are dealing with such a high propensity of drug users, as they are in Indiana and other states, rehab is the key element missing from many prison systems.

I know a guy who did 3 of a 5 year sentence here in Texas on a meth dealing charge yet the real issue, his addiction, was never dealt with. In Indiana, where meth is the #1 dope problem and has filled the states prisons beyond capacity, they have created at least one "drug prison" which focuses on rehab. They are serious about trying to fix the problem.

Texas has never been real serious about correcting criminal behavior we have just been concerned with creating felonies and keeping our 112 prisons filled.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Todd Smith and Royce west are trying to pull a sneak attack. I do believe hb 227 and sb 198 if passed will put texas on the hot track to adam walsh act. AWA is a 38 million dollar nighmare for law enforcement according to the experts. The 38 million is just to implement awa. The monitoring will run into the millions as well. Why cant legislators just be up front about things. No wonder the general public is ready for a complete overhaul of offices. There is no more integrity in the capitol. The people can no longer trust politicians to do any thing good for we, the people on any level.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW 3:39 (and just to mention it your comment was left on the wrong post; yesterday I added an update to the one mentioning West), Royce West's office contacted me to say that a version of the bill will be substituted that does not require Adam Walsh Act compliance.