An interesting perspecting on how Wisconsin handles crime

This is worth a read…

Investing in addiction and mental health treatment, instead of prison, for nonviolent offenders would likely lower crime, strengthen communities and save the state millions of dollars annually, according to a study released this week by a coalition pushing to expand Wisconsin’s drug courts and other alternatives-to-prison programs.

The health-impact assessment, by the California-based Human Impact Partners, recommends the state increase funding for its existing treatment alternative programs from about $1 million to $75 million annually, expand eligibility, and add $20 million for mental health treatment, jobs programs and other, related services.

“There’s every reason in the world to see that alternatives to incarceration work, especially for people whose primary issue is addiction or a mental health issue,” said David Liners of the faith-based advocacy group WISDOM, whose 11-by-15 Campaign for Justice aims to cut the state’s prison population in half to 11,000 by 2015.

“We’re never going to solve health issues with criminal justice solutions,” he said.

WISDOM, which sees the state’s incarceration rates as a moral and social justice issue, commissioned the study with a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The faith-based coalition of social justice groups is working on legislation for the 2013-’15 biennium modeled after a 1973 Minnesota law that stressed community treatment over incarceration for low-level offenders.

While there are most certainly many crimes that warrant time in prison, there are many crimes that could (in my opinion) be best addressed by addressing the underlying contributing factors for those crimes, whether those factors are chronic alcohol/drug abuse, mental health issues, anger management/domestic violence issues, etc.

While I certainly understand the appeal of being “tough on crime” for elected officials, there should never be an imbalance between punishment and rehabilitation when it comes to how we handle crime in our communities.

8 comments to An interesting perspecting on how Wisconsin handles crime

  • Javier

    Fix a problem and save money? Sounds great.

    But I didn’t see projected cost savings, only a proposal to increase spending by $74million. Without good data to support this proposal I’m very leary to support it.

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  • Javier

    Correction… expenditure increase of $94 million.

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  • Patrick McLafferty

    THE STRANGE CASE OF BURNETT COUNTY, WISCONSIN.. WHAT’S WRONG IN NORTH WESTERN WISCONSIN? NOW COMES ANOTHER UNBELIEVABLE, RIDICULOUS CASE IN THAT WILD WILD WESTERN LAWLESS COUNTY! CONSIDER THIS TRUE CASE REGARDING A YOUNG MAN WITH DOZENS AND DOZENS OF ARREST WARRANTS IN THAT COUNTY. LITERALLY DOZENS! STILL THIS CRIMINAL IS ALLOWED TO GO SCOT FREE! LOOK IT UP ON WCCA WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT ACCESS. PAGE AFTER PAGE OF BAIL JUMPING AND ASSAULTS, STOLEN VEHICLES, ETC., ETC. STILL, TIMOTHY HUGHES IS ALLOWED TO BE FREE IN THE COMMUNITY THERE! HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN? WHY? HE’S NOT ALONE. CONSIDER THE CASE OF JANINE COWLE, ALSO ON WCCA, WITH PAGE AFTER PAGE OF ARRESTS, PROBATION VIOLATIONS, ASSAULTS, TWO OWIs IN THE LAST YEAR! A CONVICTED FELON AND METH ADDICT, ALCOHOLIC. A WOMAN WHO HAS ALEADY LOST TWO CHILDREN TO CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT! 3 DRIVING AFTER SUSPENSIONS. WHAT DID THE HONORABLE JUDGE KEN KUTZ FINE THIS FELON FOR ALL OF HER DRIVING CRAZY CHARGES??? 10 DOLLARS!!! YEP, 10 DOLLARS AND GUESS WHAT? SHE NOW HAS HER DRIVING LICENSE BACK WITH TWO MORE OWIs ON HER RECORD, AN ASSAULT AND BATTERY AND SEVERAL OTHER PENDING CHARGES! SOMEONES ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL IN THE WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE! ONE CAN’T HELP BUT WONDER WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE OUT RUNNING FREE? HOW IN THE WORLD DOES A 10 FINE COVER ALL OF HER CRIMINAL DRIVING CHARGES? WHAT KIND OF JUSTICE IS THAT?
    SAD TO SAY BUT THE ONLY REASON I CAN FATHOM FOR THESE TERRIBLE MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE ARE BECAUSE OF THE “TRIBAL INFLUENCE” IN BURNETT COUNTY. IF ANYONE ELSE HAS ANY IDEAS I SURE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ‘EM. ONE CAN FORGET ALL ABOUT HOMELAND SECURITY IN BURNETT COUNTY… IT’S NO WONDER THE “HEAD DEPUTY” OF BURNETT COUNTY GOT AWAY WITH MURDERING HIS OWN WIFE BACK A FEW YEARS AGO. AT THAT INJUSTICE THE SHERIFF, HIMSELF, GAVE THE DRUNKEN DEPUTY A RIDE HOME SO HE COULD SAY HE DRANK AT HOME AND WASN’T DRUNK DRIVING WHEN DEPUTY DAVID KEITH SLAMMED HIS WIFES SIDE OF THE CAR INTO A HUGE TREE, DRUNK AS A SKUNK. HE GOT OFF SCOT FREE AS WELL CAUSE THE SHERIFF, STEVE WIERSCHEM AT THAT TIME, TOOK THE GUILTY BUM HOME TO PROVIDE A “PAT ALIBI” FOR DEPUTY INEBRIATED… BURNETT COUNTY… ALL THEY’RE MISSIN’ UP THERE IS AN AL QAEDA CLUB HOUSE…

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    • Javier

      Patrick, 1st, please don’t write in all caps. It’s difficult to read and is also considered the equivalent of shouting.

      As for the cases you cite… I’m not sure I fully understand what you are calling for. Do you want to lock these people up and throw away the key? Do you have a proposal in terms of rehabilitation or specific incarceration lengths? It appears pretty obvious that justice may not have been served in these 3 incidents, but for the deputy who killed his wife by driving drunk… that is a burden he will live with the rest of his life. How would locking him up help anyone at this point?

      As for the other 2, what is your proposed solution?

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      • gooy

        about the story of david keith thats my mom and my step dad and yes the sheriffs took him home to get more drunk. he was politely asked to resign and only got one month house arrest

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  • Patrick McLafferty

    my apologies for not having seen your ‘response’ until now. First, let me say that compared to the horrible transgressions listed in this relators’ report, CAPITAL LETTERS should be the last thing on your mind. I believed that writing in all caps would make it easier and more noticeable for the general public to read. Didn’t even consider that it would be a ‘foible’ of any type.
    What am I ‘calling for’? How about “equal justice’ under the law? How ’bout the state attorney generals office, or any other entity which is supposed to be out there watching and monitoring the law-breakers, demanding the arrest of these convicts? How about the State of Wisconsin ‘stepping up to the plate’ and ordering the immediate arrest of these felons? How is that for a concept? Actually doing their jobs? Perhaps that’s too much to hope for even, eh?
    David keith, the deputy who murdered his wife??? Are you serious or fresh out of the “pen” yourself? How do you think the children of Mr. Keiths’ wife feel about this? How do you think the general public feels about a law enforcement officer, the “head deputy” of Burnett County, getting away with out and out murder? With the “help” of what can only be described as a “crooked sheriff”? Hmmm?
    Former Deputy David Keith should be serving a minimun sentence of 10 to 20 years. Former Sheriff Steve Wierschem, ought to be doing even more time for deliberately with knowledge and forethought providing a “pat alibi” so Mr. keith could and would never have to serve any time in prison for the crime he committed. Period. Justice applies to all, equally and fairly, or it applies to none!
    As for the other two offenders… Yes, they both ought to be arrested and have to serve the same type of “sentence guidelines” as the rest of the general population!
    So, let’s review… Crooks and creeps… no matter how “connected” they are, no matter how much influence they have with “Tribal Casino Cash bankrolling” should still have to live under and follow the same rules as the rest of “us”… Do you get it? There obviously is NO rehabilitation on this planet, or in the universe, far as I know, for these snide convicts. They all knew what they were doing, they all did it anyway and they all are living “scott free” up in the METH CAPITAL of the world, Burnett County. Yep, the “Dukes of Hazard” got nothin’ on that county. ipso Facto!!!!!
    “A burden he will live with for the rest of his life”? R U serious???

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    • Javier

      to Patrick…

      I’m interested in a logical debate. If you can’t keep it civil and respectful then don’t even bother.

      Referring to my ‘response’. Downplaying the CAPS and lecturing me about the importance of key matter. “fresh out of the pen yourself”, Ending with “are you serious?”

      I completely agree with your desire for justice to be fair and just… not so much on equal… I would use the term equitable.

      Calling someone a law-breaker carries no weight with me. We have plenty of flawed laws on the books… we need to look at situations on their merits. I don’t recall if they are felons or not (going by the primary definition of convicted of a felony). If they’re not convicted though, they’re not felons, so stop labeling them inaccurately. If you want to debate the details of them… let’s do that case by case.

      Yes I completely agree with you on the state resources being expected to perform their assigned duties and responsibilities fairly and thoroughly on every case. But in a state of milllions we’re citing 3 incidents over how many years as examples to slam those state resources? I expect them to strive for perfection but I don’t expect anything created by humans to ever achieve perfection.
      For the deputy specifically, I am definitely curious why that case wasn’t pursued further based on the allegations of corruption and subversion of the law. Yes I am serious about that guy not getting locked away because I question what good it will do. I am going off the assumption that if he did in fact drink and drive he didn’t set out to kill his wife (homicide or manslaughter, but not murder). Either way, I’m assuming he loved her and her blood on his hands is a burden he has to carry that incarceration could never impose. Now if he’s out and about like OJ Simpson was then yes… I’d be a fan of incarceration. But bigger picture, think of the children of that family… they lost their mom, if they lose their dad too does that justice help society? You asked specifically how I wonder how the children feel… that’s actually one of my concerns. Again, assuming he loves his children he has that additional burden to raise them while knowing their mother is gone because of him.

      I’m guessing your bigger concern is hypocrisy and corruptness of our system and that this might be a “tip of the iceberg” thing… if so, then yes I’m a fan of starting to dig to root out corruption and malfeasance in our society.

      I’m not smart on sentences for manslaughter… is 10-20 the norm?
      For the allegation of collusion on the part of the Sheriff… I think equal time but disagree with more.

      I agree with your statement of “Justice applies to all, equally and fairly, or it applies to none!”

      I am confused by your comment that “There obviously is NO rehabilitation on this planet, or in the universe, far as I know, for these snide convicts.” This whole blog started on the premise that by investing money and resources in treatment we can save money in the long term and make our society a better place. This sentiment seems to contradict that. My stance is that they are held accountable and then released back into society. It may suck to release some, but I’m not a fan of the huge prison population our country already has. I think we need to find a better way, and locking people up should be our last resort.

      Referring to Burnett County as the meth capitol of the world and “Dukes of Hazard”???
      The state of Missouri has that dubious distinction. Citing ipso facto on a fictional TV county of Hazard and the Dukes? You’ve lost me on this point other than you’re pissed and you feel Burnett county is corrupt, but it’s hard to take you seriously when you go on a rant.

      “A burden he will live with for the rest of his life”? R U serious???
      Yes, completely serious. Sometimes the consequence itself is all the punishment that is ever needed. If you want to support sending to jail then I would like to see the family members of his wife calling for that, not just a few citizens calling for more.

      Best regards,
      Javier

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  • Miranda

    Javier,

    I don’t feel you have any real sense of the word justice. If I was your wife, and a drunk killed me, and all you had to say about my killer was he will have to live with it for the rest of his life, I would be disgusted that I married you. You must not have loved her all that much if you feel that is enough punishment.

       1 likes

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