Treatment Instead of Prison

The Wisconsin Council of Churches joins with other voices in the religious community to support reducing our prison population and providing drug and alcohol treatment as an effective alternative. It is evident that:

  • The vast majority of prison inmates have no history of violence.
  • Many suffer from mental illness and/or addictions.
  • Wisconsin incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than neighboring states with no increase in public safety.
  • Wisconsin’s prison costs have skyrocketed from $400 million in 1990 to 1.3 Billion in 2011, raising serious fiscal questions about the effectiveness of the status quo in these tight budget times.

Our religious traditions teach us that justice is related to restoration, not solely to retribution. The biblical mandate “to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) invites us to balance justice with mercy, to move beyond retribution to restoration, and to walk humbly with God amidst the complexities of social reform. Rather than build a system that simply punishes and diminishes people, we believe that the justice system must work to restore: to restore victims to wholeness, to restore our communities, and to help those who have offended to be restored to a productive role in our society.

 Read: “Prison Price Tag: The High Cost of Wisconsin’s Corrections Policies” from the Wisconsin Budget Project.

11 x 15 Campaign

The “11 x 15” Campaign is about moral integrity, and about making the cherished values of justice and mercy real in the way we treat some of our most vulnerable citizens. The 11 x 15 initiative is a project of WISDOM, calling for alternatives to incarceration to decrease Wisconsin’s prison population.  It is a challenge from the faith community to all the people of the State of Wisconsin so that we might all have safer, healthier, less wasteful, and more just communities.

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