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Response to haikugal (Reply #62)

Sat May 16, 2015, 10:20 AM

69. I fully agree.

I spent about 25 years on the fringes of the legal system as a forensic & criminal psychologist & can verify that Nadin is exactly right about the nature of the current CJ system. And ya know what? It got really bad across those years. In 1980, WI prisons had about 7,000 inmates. By 2006 (the year I couldn't take it any more & took early retirement from WI DOC Clinical Services), we were up to 23,000.

It was absolutely insane to watch the whole system fall apart. There was a time years ago when Probation Agents had to have MSW degrees or an equivalent. They were compassionate people who viewed their supervisees as humans and tried to help them get their lives straight. The educational requirements deteriorated (in order to justify lower salaries) until at one point, all you needed was a HS diploma and not too many felonies on your record.

In contrast to the old MSW agents, the younger ones typically had criminology degrees and an attitude toward their charges. I remember some of them getting into a contest to see how many of their supervisees they could revoke or put on jail holds.

At some point in the late 90's or early 2000's, the state started charging supervision fees. If you were on probation or post-prison extended supervision, you had to pay so much per month (sliding scale supposedly based on ability to pay) to be supervised. You could go to jail for failure to pay.

Across the 16-county region I covered, the field offices would be ranked on their performance. Great idea, right? Keep them all sharp. What do you think they were ranked on? Reduction of recidivism, maybe? Nope. The only thing they were ranked on was their effiiency in collecting those supervision fees.

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