Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 2004
Source: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (WI)
Copyright: 2004 Eau Claire Press
Author: Ric Cervantes


The Department of Corrections employs 10,220 people to protect the
people of Wisconsin from 21,978 inmates. To put it another way. There
is almost one employee of the DOC for every two inmates. I guess that
explains the cost to the taxpayers of $43,320 for each inmate. Why
does it take almost $2 billion, yes, billion dollars to run the DOC?

Granted, crime needs to be dealt with, but the price seems too great
compared with the results. Our DNR gets less than half the money that
our DOC gets, $959,371,200 compared with $1,949,568,100. So it would
appear that our natural resources take a back seat to our
prison-industrial complex.

Our elected officials use fear to justify the expanding DOC. Three
prisons are opening this year, yet crime is down. College tuitions are
up also. I am not an expert, but one seems to cause the other. I
wonder, are we paying higher college tuitions to help support an
ever-expanding prison system?

I firmly believe in owing up for crime, but not at the cost that is
being paid for by our tax dollars.

We must keep in mind that most of these people will be released. Maybe
if our prisons helped prepare and support a successful release, fewer
would return and cause more harm to our community.

You may notice a new face in your church congregation someday. There
is a chance this person may have been recently released from prison
and is now trying to piece his or her life back together. This person
may also be your new co-worker, auto mechanic or even your friend.

Remember, we are all human, and inmates are just people with family,
friends, hopes and dreams. They are simply people like you and your

Ric Cervantes

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