Justice Reinvestment in Wisconsin

In 2008, the CSG Justice Center embarked on a Justice Reinvestment approach in Wisconsin to help state leaders identify and address the most pressing criminal justice system challenges.

In 2008, Wisconsin’s prison population was expected to rise 25 percent over the coming decade, at a cost of $2.5 billion in new prison construction and operating expenses. More than half of the people in state prison were there because they had failed to comply with the conditions of their supervision or because they had committed a new crime while under super­vision.

In 2008 and 2009, the CSG Justice Center worked with Wisconsin state leaders to analyze criminal justice data, interview stakeholders from across the criminal justice system, and develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. A policy framework was developed to address these challenges. Several Justice Reinvestment policies were adopted by the legislature in 2009 through the state’s budget appropriations bill, which

  • Created a “risk reduction” sentencing option to encourage individuals to complete programs in prison that are designed to reduce the likelihood of reoffending; and
  • Reinvested $10 million over two years to expand community-based recidivism-reduction programs, including substance use treatment, employment services, and access to mental health care.