In 2005, the Wisconsin legislature passed 2005 Wisconsin Act 25, which authorized a grant program to counties to establish programs that provide alternatives to incarceration for offenders who abuse alcohol or other drugs. The requirements for Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) projects--which include using evidence-based practices, providing comprehensive and holistic treatment, and using graduated sanctions and incentives--are outlined in Wis. Stats. 16.964(12).
As part of the program, the legislature required the Justice Programs Unit, in collaboration with the Departments of Corrections and Health Services, to submit a report on the cost-savings generated by TAD to the legislature by December 31, 2011.
Based on an extensive cost-benefit analysis conducted by the UW Population Health Institute, TAD projects offer conclusive cost-savings in terms of jail and prison days averted. For every $1 invested in TAD, it yields benefits of $1.93 to the criminal justice system through averted incarceration and reduced crime. The TAD projects are effective in both urban and rural environments; avoided costs can be realized regardless of county size or population, or project model. TAD has a direct impact on jail and prison populations. Participation and graduation from TAD programs dramatically reduces recidivism rates.
A portion of the Justice Information System Surcharge assessed by the courts generates state funding for TAD grants. This continued investment in the TAD grant program offers an opportunity for Wisconsin to continue to explore effective alternatives to incarceration and save limited tax dollars while protecting the public.
Page updated: 08/21/2013