Monday, November 20, 2006

Another Cost Center in WI: Corrections

Playground scores a couple of anti-Pubbie points here, but the thesis is worthwhile.

Combined, Census Bureau and Justice Department data, reveal that in fiscal years 2000-04, the Wisconsin state government spent $48,773 annually per inmate (adjusted for inflation).

No one doubts that prisons are expensive to operate, but it is not clear why this needed to be 40 percent above the national average and 44 percent higher than the state's per capita income. If Wisconsin had spent the same as the national average, the state would have saved $301 million annually. (Quoting a WSJ article by P. Trostel.)

For those of you who think that the "R" label is some sign of fiscal sanity--you're wrong (again):

Of course, part of the reason Republicans are unwilling to be tough on DOC is that they were largely responsible for corrections costs going through the roof in the '90s. The problem escalated quickly when King Tommy and his pals in the Legislature started seeing prisons as economic development tools for rural communities where no business in its right mind would ever locate. So we built in Boscobel and New Lisbon, and purchased a private facility in Stanley for far more than we ever should have paid for it.

Like the Stadium, another Gift from Tommy. The "law and order" Pubbies have handsomely rewarded prison guards and a horrifically over-stuffed DoC bureaucracy, just as they rewarded the Milwaukee Police Ass'n with ridiculous "pay 'em until they're in jail" laws.

2 comments:

James Quigley said...

I thought jail was supposed to be a 6x9 with some bars for a window and some bread and water...it's turned into a country club. Put a treadmill in each cell and don't let em out til their sentence is up. OK, maybe that's a bit crazy, but I still think a lot of the things we enable prisoners to do are crazy. Why not just put a treadmill in the cell for them to use for their exercise? Think of all the man hours you could save by not having to let them hang out in the field, or the possibility of them conspiring to do something stupid...

Dad29 said...

Well, I wouldn't go that far. The fresh air is good for them--especially in winter--makes them all tired out.

But as to the libraries, rec-centers, gyms, ....BS.