In 2008, Governor James Doyle, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Senate President Fred Risser, and Assembly Speaker Michael Huebsch requested technical assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center to help the State of Wisconsin increase public safety, manage the growth of the prison population, and reinvest in strategies to reduce recidivism. Examples of support with which Wisconsin policymakers have requested the Justice Center’s assistance include:
- Mapping specific high-stakes neighborhoods where a large number of people released from prison return,
- Analyzing the prison population to determine the drivers of growth,
- Developing data-driven policy options for strengthening public safety and reducing corrections spending,
- Highlighting strategies that have been successfully employed in other states to address similar trends and patterns, and
- Projecting the fiscal impact of policy options on the state budget.
The Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council has since appointed the Special Committee on Justice Reinvestment Oversight, a bipartisan, bicameral and inter-branch advisory body consisting of policymakers, stakeholders, and community members.