The iron law of incarceration is that nearly all prisoners come back—to their families and communities. In FY 2006, over 14,500 prisoners were released from Wisconsin prisons. This means that the population returned to society last year was similar in size to Bayfield County, the city of Menomonie, or the combined student bodies of UW-Stevens Point and UW-Green Bay. After being behind bars an average of 10 years, many prisoners have difficulty with the most basic requirements of life outside prison, such as finding a steady job, locating housing, and reestablishing positive relationships with family and friends. Two national experts will discuss the latest evidence on how reentry policy can keep the public safe by better preparing prisoners for their inevitable return.
Seminars on Corrections / Juvenile Crime
In the last decade, the cost of corrections in Wisconsin increased from $368 million in 1996 to $956 million in 2006. Are there evidence-based approaches that could save tax dollars and still curb crime? Recent polls show the public favors rehabilitation and prevention programs for reducing juvenile crime over incarceration. Are there effective programs that deter juveniles and adults who commit crimes from doing so again? In what ways do adolescents differ from adults and does this affect how they should be tried and treated in the justice system?
Wisconsin legislators are concerned about growth in state spending on corrections. In the past six years, the Badger state has seen its corrections budget grow from $1.3 billion in the 1998-99 session to nearly $2 billion in the budget adopted for 2004-05: an increase of almost 45%. Since 1990, Wisconsin’s inmate population has risen more than 30%. This seminar features the latest research on what states are doing to curb rising corrections costs while protecting public safety. Also learn about how to maximize scarce state dollars through effective sentencing and corrections intervention programs.
In a recent poll of leaders in state legislatures across the country, child and family issues were said to be a “sure-fire vote winner.” This seminar provides a solid foundation for thinking about public policies affecting parents. Does parenting matter? Do we know what good parenting is? What can government do to promote good parenting and what can parents do to help themselves? How safe and effective are trained, supported foster care families in preventing juvenile crime among chronic repeat offenders?
According to national estimates, almost half of young people, aged 10 to 17 abuse alcohol and drugs, commit crimes, fail in school, or engage in unprotected sex. These risky behaviors can interfere with the chances that young people will grow up to be healthy, productive adults. Do we know enough to prevent youth from engaging in risky behavior? What programs and policies work? How cost effective are they? Also, learn about one state’s experience with establishing prevention programs for children and families, including setting community goals and identifying measurable outcomes.
Juvenile arrests increased by almost 40% in Wisconsin in the 10-year period between 1984 and 1993. Perhaps more alarming is the sheer size of the juvenile crime problem with over 122,000 arrests in the state in 1993. While violent juvenile arrests increased by almost 60% from 1984 to 1993, violent offenses accounted for only 1.9% of all juvenile offenses in 1993. In fact, the violent crime rate in Wisconsin represented less than one-half of the corresponding 1992 rate for violent crime in the Midwest and the nation.