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Money, new positions at prison system approved

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Corrections will receive more than $5 million over the next two years to spend on information technology and creating a new office of special investigations.

The Legislature’s budget committee approved the spending requests unanimously Wednesday without discussion.

The department will receive $936,000 to pay for a new office charged with investigating allegations of supervisory and staff misconduct and reviewing rape allegations made by staff, inmates, offenders, or juveniles.

In 2011, there were 98 rape investigations across the Wisconsin prison system, 27 of which were substantiated, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said in a memo to the committee. In 2010, there were 93 investigations, 16 of which were substantiated.

Creating the new investigatory office will lead to more consistent and timely investigations, and not require pulling staff away from their regular assignments, the department said.

The new office will also provide system-wide emergency preparedness and response across the prison system.

The committee also approved the department spending $4.3 million and hiring 18 people to meet what it says are critical information technology needs. The new workers will be tasked with upgrading computer software, removing and replacing outdated systems, and providing technical support for the department’s offender records.

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