Pubdate: Wed, 10 Apr 2002
Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette (WI)
Copyright: 2002 Green Bay Press-Gazette
Author: Roger Lade
Bookmark: (Mandatory Minimum Sentencing)


ASHWAUBENON - I agree with the April 4 editorial on uniform sentencing. It 
reminded me of a comment from ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson when he was running 
for what seemed to be his 10th term saying that we are going to keep 
building prisons in Wisconsin until everyone feels safe. He failed to 
mention that it would also make taxpayers feel poor.

It does not make sense, as your editorial stated, Wisconsin imprisons 
almost three times as many adults per 100,000 residents as Minnesota. Is 
our crime rate three times theirs? I understand Wisconsin now spends as 
much or more on prisons as it does on education. Is that a good sense of 

We have to deal with crime. Criminals have to be punished. However, the 
attitude of the majority of our legislators - to lock them up and throw 
away the key - has gotten out of hand. If the figures in the editorial are 
correct, the prison population could grow by 6,000 in the next three years. 
At today's cost, that will add over $16 million a year to prison operations 
by 2005. That would mean more prisoners and tax dollars sent out of state. 
Why, after all the prisons we have built, do other states have room and we 
do not?

If your state senator or representative is running for re-election on a 
"get tough on crime" policy, ask them how we are going to pay for it. 
Better yet, ask them how they plan to fix the mess that policy has gotten 
us into. It's time our politicians start asking the questions we have to 
ask ourselves about our personal finances - Can we afford it?

Asking that question before acting might help lower taxes and our position 
as the third highest-taxed state in the nation.

Roger Lade
- ---
MAP posted-by: Ariel