Pubdate: Thu, 27 Jan 2005
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Section: Spectrum, Page F1
Copyright: 2005 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Beryl Gribbon Fago
Bookmark: (Incarceration)

Prisons Eat Up Tax Dollars

Rehabilitation Failures Lead To Repeat Crimes: Is Public Truly Better 


We spend about $40,000 a year per prisoner in Wisconsin. The prison budget 
is gobbling our taxes while the recidivism rate is more than 75 percent. 
Those brought up in poverty are the majority filling our prisons. Is 
Wisconsin spending the necessary money on children and families in poverty? 
Economic incentives empower people. Having a job with a livable wage pays 
everyone a dividend.

Ask prisoners what they need to stay out of jail. Maybe they would say a 
mentor who cares about me and my family, a job, a place to live, drug 
rehabilitation. Most prisoners have no one to model who has made it outside 
jail. We would spend less money and have a lower crime rate as well as 
self-respecting, tax-paying citizens if we supported all children, 
especially those living in poverty.

We are a nation of laws. Incarceration alone does not work. As the old 
saying goes, "You can give someone a fish when they are hungry or you can 
teach them to fish and feed them for their whole life."

Beryl Gribbon Fago

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