Today Governor Walker signed into law a bill that will increase funding for TAD (Treatment Alternatives and Diversions) by an additional $2 million per year! TAD, a program that grants state money to counties for treatment alternatives to jail and prison, has been in place since 2007. It originally set aside $1 million per year for the program. Four years ago, a WISDOM-led movement led to the expansion of TAD to $4 million per year. Today’s increase will bring the budget to $6 million each year.
WISDOM’s 2012 Health Impact Assessment regarding TAD showed that each $1 million spent on TAD each year keeps 40–50 people out of state prisons, and 300–400 out of county jails. In addition, each $1 spent on TAD saves taxpayers $1.96 million in incarceration and other costs.
WISDOM is very pleased that the Legislature and the Governor have seen fit to continue to expand the TAD program, which now sponsors alternatives to incarceration in more than half of Wisconsin’s counties. We believe TAD can and should be expanded even more. Future growth in TAD needs to be directed toward those counties that are disproportionately represented in the prison population, and which drive Wisconsin’s terrible racial disparities.
Please thank your state legislators for this $2 million increase in TAD funding. It is a step in the right direction. Ask them to take the next step next year with another expansion, this time aimed at the communities that need it most. You can find your legislators here.
On April 25, the national Annie E. Casey Foundation published an extraordinary study, titled “A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration.” You can find it here: A Shared Sentence. It is well worth the time to read. One very interesting finding is that, “if incarceration rates hadn’t increased during a 24-year period, the U.S. poverty rate would have fallen by 20 percent, rather than remaining relatively steady.” The study makes three general recommendations:
Finally, EXPO member and organizer Mark Rice was invited recently to give a keynote address at UW Oshkosh. His topic was “Formerly-Incarcerated People Can Change.” You can see his talk here: Rice at UW Oshkosh.
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