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As I See It

Looking for alternatives to jail worthy of study



We spend a lot of money to lock people up. But are there more efficient, and effective, ways to deal with lawbreakers? That is a question that a newly appointed committee in Wisconsin will try to answer. And a La Crosse judge will be among those working on the issue. Judge Elliot Levine is among those serving on the statewide panel, and he should have a lot to offer. Levine points to the failed war on drugs as proof that locking up drug users hasn’t solved the nation’s drug problem, despite the billions of dollars spent on the effort. Just look at who is sitting behind bars in La Crosse’s jail. Many of them are frequent fliers, no stranger to the justice system, who keep getting in trouble again after they get out of jail. La Crosse county has been innovative in trying to come up with jail alternatives which may help reduce recidivism, and save taxpayers money. We have established a special drug court to try to help people stay out of jail and beat their addictions. We have a special OWI court, and a special Veterans court which focuses on military veterans who have run afoul of the law. La Crosse has been among the first in the state to establish these special courts. This group will spend a couple years studying and identifying solutions in hopes of creating new laws. IF they can come up with better ways to deal with lawbreakers that can help them get on the straight and narrow, and save us tax money, we’re all ears.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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