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Committee votes to cut 60 prison guard positions

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Sixty tower guard positions in 10 Wisconsin prisons would be eliminated under a vote by the Legislature’s budget committee.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday went along with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to reduce third-shift tower guard staffing. The cuts will save the state about $5.9 million over the next two years.

Department of Corrections officials say anyone currently filling those positions would be moved into other vacancies.

Corrections officials defend reducing staffing in the towers, saying there’s been only two inmate escape attempts during third shift over the last 20 years. They say they can maintain third-shift security using technology and perimeter patrols instead of tower guards.

Democrats on the budget committee questioned whether safety would be compromised by the cuts.

One comment

  1. This is all quite silly. Minnesota has nearly identical demographics and crime rates but incarcerates fewer than half the number that Wisconsin does. At $38,000 per year per inmate, that 12,000 inmate difference means that, as a state, we already waste more than $450 Million in taxpayer money per year due to over-incarceration for purely political rather than law enforcement reasons. The answer to real savings is to substantially cut the length of prison sentences, replace unnecessary prison sentences with supervision in the community, adequately fund prison and community programming, increase job placement of ex-offenders to minimize recidivism, and stop wasting time fiddling around with staffing levels.

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