It’s been getting a little less crowded in Wisconsin’s prisons. Department of Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch says the number of inmates in state prisons was at about 22,000 at the end of fiscal year 2009, down nearly 1,800 over the past three years. The numbers reflect a three-percent drop in the population over the last five years.
Raemisch says it’s the result of efforts launched by Governor Jim Doyle nearly eight years ago, with a push for programs that hold offenders accountable and give them the tools needed to avoid re-offending when they get out of prison.
Raemisch says there are actually empty beds now in Wisconsin’s prisons, which translates into some big savings for the state. It costs about $33,000 a year to house an inmate in a Wisconsin prison, compared to about $3,000 to properly supervise them in the community.
As of earlier this year, the state’s prison population was up slightly for 2010.