Sunday, July 16, 2006

Jails- "If You Build Them They Will Come"

That's the statement of Jane Klekamp, head of La Crosse County's Justice Sanctions Program, quoted in last Friday's Janesville Gazette.

Rock County is in the middle of building a 20-year addition and improvement to its jail to the tune of $56 million. Rock County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy, and likely candidate for sheriff, Bob Spoden warns that unless changes are made in crime prevention and treatment plans that we'll be going through this again in just over a decade. "If we don't start planning now for alternatives Â… then this jail will be filled in about 13 years."

Klekamp gives examples of LaCrosse County's actions to reduce jail populations without endangering the population outside the walls. (see Gazette story)

I bring this up because Friday was the day that AG candidate JB van Hollen berated Kathleen Falk for not giving in to pressure to build more cells in Dane County. JB doesn't appear to be on the cutting edge of Criminal Justice thinking in Wisconsin in 2006. His foundering campaign is starting early to depend on bluster to accomplish its ends. I don't believe that Rock County can afford JB van Hollen's style of justice in the short-run or the long.

Note: I've moved this post and the one below it to the top because of some increased interest and attention to them. These two pieces are originally from February, 2006. I hope they can help spur some debate as we move toward the election of asherifff to replace the retiring Eric Runaas.


Mason B. said...

Bob Spoden has officially announced his candidacy for Rock county Sheriff.

He is a good guy from my meetings with him and seems to be geniunely progressive with his thoughts in regards to the importance of rehabilitation as a major portion of corrections.

Anonymous said...

I think all 3 Sheriff Candidates are truely missing the real issue(s).

The dollar signs of a jail addition catch taxpayer's eyes quickly and make for a great debate subject. But why not focus on cutting crime instead of what to do with people after they have committed their crime(s).

Proactive and implementing resources is the answer. You can't keep a County the size of Rock safe only using 4 or 5 deputies. And not using local jurisdictions is an injustice to County taxpayers. Just because you don't want to live near Janesville doesn't mean you shouldn't have the public safety services you pay for.

I don't care if it's the Constable of Union Township that comes to aide when I need help, just as long as someone comes quickly when I dial 911. It shouldn't be a political game to not send a resident assistance when they request it. Just because I'm 4 or 5 miles out of Union Township, doesn't mean the Constable can't help because they rather send a deputy from Janesville. The taxpayers outside of Janesville should get the same quick service as those that live right outside of Janesville.

The Govenor talked about combining services to save money. Instead of going that route, they rather cut patrol and not use the assistance of other cop agencies so they can ask for more money. This is why the agreement between Union Township and City of Evansville Police Department can work. And I think other Townships should consider the same with their neighboring City police depts. When someone is on your property without your permission at 3 or 4 in the morning, how long should your family have to wait for help ? When your daughter is getting hit by her husband, how long should she have to wait for help ? If you own a scanner, you have heard calls like this numerous times. How safe do you feel going back to bed after the deputy gets there from Janesville and the person can't be found now ? Is he hiding from the cop ? Or has he left ? Pretty sad when you live 5 to 10 minutes from a City besides Janesville and they won't send those cops out to help you.

Stop talking about housing criminals and start talking about proactive patrols. Known fact, criminals won't commit a crime when they know the odds of getting caught are high. Cancelling the DARE program to save money for a cell you could have kept that person out of with that education ?

Let's get real and make the candidates talk about the real issues. Deputizing the local cops, like they once were, so they can help serve the citizens of Rock County that need assistance now. Educating, instead of rehabiliating drug and alcohol abusers. Working together, not spreading it thin to get more money. Use what you have and not ask for more. Wisconsin Farmers have been doing it for years.

Did anyone else hear the big debate when the Evansville ambulance was involved in an accident while two EMT's were in the back doing CPR on a guy ? What was the debate about ? An Evansville cop left the city to go help render aide to the injuried EMT and help with CPR. The County was mad that the cop left the city to help try to save someone's life. The County wanted to know who gave the Evansville cop the ok to go help. The County may say they send the closest help, but listen to a scanner and you hear the truth yourself.