Testy partisan debate on spending money to keep convicted felons from reoffending. It came as the legislature’s finance committee debated a Department of Corrections request for ten million dollars. Republican state Representative Robin Vos said the money will go to “home coming parties for criminals,” and brought up the early release program included in the Democrat’s state budget bill to save money on corrections. “We have ten million dollars sitting right here that we could have used to make sure those same people who are already reoffending stay in jail. But no, we said it’s much more important to let them out, and then to pay for programming for prisoners, than it is to make sure we keep people locked up and the community safe,” said Vos.

But Republican Senator Luther Olson said the money to provide services to persons on probation, parole or extended supervision will help reduce the state’s high recidivism rate. “Sometimes you have to spend a little to save a lot,” said Olson. The money goes to the Becky Young Community Corrections program within the Department of Corrections, which is named after Madison activist and legislator Becky Young, who died last year. “We’re going to spend our dollars in a that it will reduce recidivism, said state Senator Lena Taylor.

 Bob Hague (1:10 MP3)  AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:10 MP3)

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