State says ‘not so fast’ in suggesting momentum for corrections reform

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Yesterday we praised the Dane County Board for taking significant steps towards reforming criminal justice policies.

Today we criticize the state legislature’s Joint Finance Committee for planning self-fulfilling prison expansion. Such is the struggle to reform our justice and prison systems.

Dane County heeded concerned citizens and reform advocates and approved action steps to reduce the jail population and make stays more humane and rehabilitative.

Joint Finance Committee members, meeting essentially in secret, rushed through approval of funding to increase the prison population by 500 people in the next two years. As we have already seen in Wisconsin, if we build bigger prisons the system will fill them.

The rush to pass the funding request precluded public testimony on – among other things – alternatives to filling our prisons.

Corrections reform is coming. But this sure doesn’t help.