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Focusing on Our State Budget

Figure depicting state budget areaOur state legislature will soon take up the budget for the next biennium. The budget is where the rubber meets the road. Without funding to support programs, all we have is talk. Currently, ESTHER is focusing on securing adequate funding in two areas. Will you join us in advocating in support of these budget priorities?

Public Transit

Transit is important in our community to get people to jobs, medical appointments, school, shopping, community events, and more. The Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission has recommended investing an additional $36.3 million annually over ten years to strengthen public transit in our state [click to read the report]. We support this recommendation.

We also call for restoration of transit funds cut from the state budget during the 2010-11 biennium. Restoring this 10% cut would bring the state's public transportation budget back to the 2009-10 level. Without the restoration, communities in the Fox Valley and throughout the state will begin feeling the effects in July of this year.

Prison Reform

Treatment Alternative Diversion (TAD) programs have proven their value and their cost-effectiveness in Wisconsin and around the country. Following the recommendation of the recent Health Impact Assessment (read more at prayforjusticeinwi.org), we are calling for $75 million to be appropriated for these programs.

Results of the Health Impact Assessment indicate that such an investment would reduce costs, reduce crime, increase recovery from addictions and mental illness, strengthen families, and improve economic opportunity. Prison is about four times more costly than TAD programs such as alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment courts.

Join us at Madison Action Day [click to learn more] on March 14 to help show your support for these prioritries.

JOIN US! March 14th People of Faith, Madison Action Day

ESTHER members marching to the Capitol in MadisonPeople of Faith United for Justice is a day-long gathering to learn, discuss, pray and take action on justice issues such as prison reform, public transit, affordable housing, transitional jobs, and more. We gather at Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison for plenary sessions and lunch, followed by a march to the capitol and meetings with legislators.

Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Funding, the focus for 11x15, is one of the issues this day. Funding for transportation is another.

Read more, and then register to join us! click to register online | click to download registration flyer

Becky Young Community Justice Summit

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Join the Summit: Informational Strategy Session on Wisconsin's Judicial & Correctional Policies

 

When: Tuesday, September 1st

Time: Presentation Workshops 1:00-5:00pm; Award Dinner 5:00-7:00pm

Location: First United Methodist Church, Madison (203 Wisconsin Avenue)

Join us in a discussion and action on State and County judicial and correctional policies.  Three panel discussions followed by workshops in the area of proposed legislation for OWI offences, effective use of $10 Million Becky Young Community Justice Fund, and adequate funding and programming for Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD).  

Guest Presenters:

Senator Lena Taylor
Representative Gordon Hintz
Walter Dickey, Dean Law School
Jerry Hancock, Prison Ministry
Wendel Hruska, Project Return
Mike Olig, Safe Streets Program
Marilyn Walczak, Justice 2000
Brenda Wesley, NAMI Milwaukee
Conor Williams, MICAH

Dinner and award reception including the Madison Church Choral Group will follow.  Register in advance, call the WISDOM Office at 414-831-2070 or email wisdomwi@sbcglobal.net.  Registration cost $15 for meal and materials.  Scholarship available.

Sponsored by Wisconsin Organizations in Support of Treatment Instead of Prison.

For additional information, contact Joe Ellwanger: 414-736-2480.

Click here to view event flyer.

 

Legislative Joint Finance Committee in Appleton on April 1

No foolin'! The committee was in session in Lawrence University's Stansbury Theatre from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Opening to a packed crowd, the meeting offered opportunities for citizens and interest groups to share their views and positions on items included in (or omitted from) the Governor's proposed 2010-11 budget. ESTHER was well represented. Gwen Gibson and Rev. Maynard Beemer spoke (see photo) on behalf of earned early release and drivers certificates for immigrants who cannot get driver's licenses because of RealID. Representatives from JOSHUA were also present and spoke.

Treatment Instead of Prison Forum: Open to the Public - March 30

Speaker (5:30pm) & Community Forum (6:30pm)

Date: Monday, March 30th
Time:
5:30 & 6:30 PM
Location: St. Bernard Catholic Church
1617 W Pine St, Appleton
Behind Xavier School on Prospect Ave

Treatment Instead of Prison:
Saving Money, Saving Communities, Saving Families

5:30pm - Department of Corrections Secretary Speaks Out
Department of Corrections Secretary, Rick Raemisch to speak on Governor Doyle's plan for earned release, enhancing corrections programs and investing in our communities, question and answer session to follow. Free and open to the public.

6:30pm - Community Forum, Treatment Instead of Prison
The Fox Valley has pioneered efforts to address drug and alcohol addiction with treatment for non-violent offenders through several local initiatives.  In a recent statement, Governor Doyle remarked on the need for prison reform and the need to offer community based options to low-risk offenders.  Reform is needed…treatment is needed.

 

•    How does drug and alcohol addiction impact our justice system?
•    Will treatment make safer neighborhoods?
•    Can Wisconsin afford to build additional prisons?
•    What treatment options are available in the Fox Valley?
Get your questions answered at this forum with guest panelists including Outagamie Circuit Court Judge Nancy Krueger.
 

Event sponsored by ESTHER - Free and open to the public
Contributors include: Family Services, Mooring House, NAMI, ThedaCare

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