Treatment Alternatives to Prison

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Community Types: Various

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WISDOM, in collaboration with Human Impact Partners, conducted an HIA to project the potential health impacts of scaling up Treatment Alternative Diversion (TAD) programs from $2 million to $75 million in the Wisconsin state budget.  The HIA assessed the long-term health consequences of Wisconsin’s exploding prison population of the past two decades, and examined the effect of providing effective, local alternatives to incarceration in Wisconsin’s counties. Researchers sought input from counties across the state who implemented alternative programs such as Drug Treatment Courts, Veterans’ Courts, the Safe Streets Treatment Options Program (SSTOP) and others. The researchers focused on how various alternatives including incarceration, drug courts, mental health courts, alcohol courts, day report programs, bail diversion programs, community based substance abuse programs, community based mental health services, and job placement programs impact recovery, crime and safety, families, communities, and the economy. The HIA found that increased funding for TAD programs to $75 million per year would likely reduce the prison and jail population, reduce overall crime, improve mental health and strengthen family units. The HIA also made several recommendations including redefining eligibility criteria for TAD programs and giving parents priority access to TAD program slots.

This project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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