Skip to main content

In Scott Walkers cut cut cut cut Wisconsin State Budget, one item passed under the radar:  we're now spending more tax dollars on keeping people in prison than we spend on our state university system.

For 2011-'13, Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers allotted the state's public universities just under $2.1 billion to the Department of Corrections' $2.25 billion, a gap that is unlikely to close any time soon. In total, the University of Wisconsin System will receive approximately $315.8 million in cuts over two years while the corrections budget will take a $53.8 million hit over the same period.
Not only that, but they massively increased the tuition that Wisconsinites pay to attend our public university system and stripped 18% out of the paychecks of every state employee to pay for benefits as well as stripping their union rights to negotiate anything besides wages under a narrowly state-defined limit.

Priorities.  Prison over education.  Tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest in Wisconsin paid for by cuts to our children, our elderly, our public employees, and our most vulnerable citizens.  Even I I can't find any snark that fits.

It didn't happen overnight, though.

In 1990, the Department of Corrections laid claim to less than half the funds apportioned to the UW System, receiving $178.6 million to the universities' $698.2 million. Even then, the state prison population was growing.

In the 1990s, Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson made moves to crack down on crime and instituted "truth in sentencing." In that decade, Wisconsin used its budget surplus to build additional prisons and incarcerate more than 13,000 people.

In 2003, Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, pledged to end Wisconsin's prison-building boom , but prison spending didn't immediately slow . Late in his second term, Doyle's proposed early-release programs took effect, only to be repealed one year later.

In 1990, the prison population was just under 7,000. Now, it tops 22,000.
Most of that increase in due to former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompsons harsh sentencing laws rather than an increase in criminal activity.  Fear of being called "soft on crime" prevents the enactment of more reasonable sentencing laws.

It's sad when we spend more on prisons than preparing the next generation for their futures and to insure a well educated citizenry that will attract business.

Originally posted to Puddytat on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Alms for this sad news (28+ / 0-)

    Our states priorities are totally upside down.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:10:01 PM PDT

  •  and which serves society more or more cynically (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what's the difference, since a national GOP victory will increase crime in order to hire more police for the Prison Industrial Complex

    It's sad when we spend more on prisons than preparing the next generation for their futures and to insure a well educated citizenry that will attract business.
    Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron (1977) echoed this sentiment. In Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture the authors marked that authority derived through school based knowledge was not only highly arbitrary in nature but was representative of a dominant power or cultural authority at work (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977).  In this work, the theorists attempted to explain differences in educational outcomes in Western nations (i.e., France) during the 1960s.  Bourdieu promoted that capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange, and the term is extended to all the goods material and symbolic, or cultural.  This in effect imposed a “symbolic violence” on already marginalized youth.  The focus here was on the ways in which the ruling ideas or ideals of a social system were related to structures of class, production and power.  These ideas moreover were legitimated and perpetuated through the everyday practice of schooling.  Professor Michael Apple. Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies. University of Wisconsin-Madison (1986) contributed to the discourse marking schools as internal mechanisms of sorting and legitimation: Schools are an important part of a complex structure through which social groups are given legitimacy and through which social and cultural ideologies are re—created, maintained, and continuously built. (p. 9)

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:31:36 PM PDT

    •  The GOP has been a big promoter of fear (6+ / 0-)

      and they lie about crime statistics in order to keep people fearful.  Crime is down, but sentencing is harsh and mostly unfair.  Our criminal justice system is in serious need of reform and we need to work to ensure opportunities for good jobs so the underground economy based on crime and drugs becomes less appealing as a career.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:38:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, indycam, Puddytat

    to the 21st Century Social Crisis.  That fact won't be changing any time soon.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:51:49 PM PDT

  •  A dubious distinction, to be sure. :-( n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indycam, Puddytat

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:12:34 PM PDT

  •  And how many of those are private prisons in WI? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's a booming industry with a heavy lobbying arm. I wouldn't be surprised if some of Walker's cronies are making a pretty penny in the corrections business. And that would explain why the university system is experiencing bigger cuts than the prison system. Walker hasn't been able to privatize the university system.


  •  Here in the UW, we've seen this coming for a while (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indycam, zephyr108, Puddytat

    My only shock is that it didn't happen under Jim Doyle.

    Funny thing is I wanted to check and see if this was true - what happened in the 2009 budget? I used to be able to find all that material online at the state's website. Now, every google link for "wisconsin budget 2009-11" takes me to a page trumpeting Scott Walker's 2011-13 budget.

    •  Do you really think Walker (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow

      wants you to compare his budget to the previous one?  Seriously.  I wouldn't be surprise to find out they had redacted the Open Meeting Law and previous regulations they had about public use of state bildings - things they repeatedly violate.

      Jum Doyle, flawed as he was as governor, had an eaarly release program passed to get worthy inmates out sooner, but it barely lasted long enough to get set up.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 09:23:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome to the newest Hotel California (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indycam, Trotskyrepublican, Puddytat
    A recent Legislative Analysts Office  report noted that the state spent $179,000 in 2011-12 per incarcerated youth in the state’s DJF facilities.  Compare that to the approximately $7,500 per year that California spends per youth for K-12 education.

    The Chronicle article also notes, “Corrigan said in the first Jerry Brown administration, California had 44,000 people in prison. Today it has 44,000 prison guards. ‘It costs seven times as much to put someone in prison as to educate them to keep them out of prison,’ Corrigan said. Among African Americans age 18 to 30, more are in prison, on parole or in some part of the criminal justice system than are in college.”
  •  Tech-ed schools and art education would be a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indycam, Trotskyrepublican, Puddytat

    much better investment. All these people who  get into crime because they don't make it in school. If there were more hands on stuff funded at the school level, more after school programs for teens and fourth, fifth and sixth graders, that would help.

    There will always be some people who need to be imprisoned, but if you have huge portions of your population in prison, you are doing something wrong.

  •  R'd But Pikers Compared w/ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indycam, Puddytat

    CA...they spend around $16 BIL per year on their prison system.

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 06:25:22 PM PDT

  •  JS Online article disappeared (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It still shows up in their search index, but the page is missing.  I have sent them an email asking why.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site