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Wisconsin Justice Initiative Identifies Promising Sentencing Alternatives

With support from SJI (SJI-10-N-004), the Wisconsin Justice Initiative, comprised of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Director of State Courts, and the Planning and Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC), recently released findings and recommendations from an assessment conducted by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) on three promising alternatives to incarceration. The report includes a thorough analysis of current initiatives in several counties including, the risk-and-needs pilot project, Assess, Inform, and Measure (AIM); problem-solving courts; and criminal justice collaborating committees. It also details best practices for each of these initiatives and how the Initiative has leveraged local support for breaking with traditional processes to improve the justice system and outcomes for offenders. These improvements are marked by common measurements of success, including increased public safety, reduced recidivism, and reduced costs associated with incarceration.

The partners of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative requested SJI assistance in December 2009. The final report, Effective Justice Strategies in Wisconsin/A Report of Findings and Recommendations, was two years in the making. NCSC visited 15 counties across the state and also surveyed numerous justice system stakeholders to assess the value of a range of strategies developed in Wisconsin to improve public safety. The report provides recommendations on developing a statewide strategy and plan of action for expansion to other counties throughout Wisconsin.