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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 21, 2024

County budget may include restorative justice program funding

The Dane County Board of Supervisors announced one of its primary budget considerations for a jail diversion program Friday, in which low-level offenders to serve their time by rebuilding their community rather than in jail.

Of the several initiatives being considered, two include refining the traditional criminal justice system. One major proposal is to broaden the Community Restorative Court to the rest of Dane County due to its success in South Madison.

The program is intended to keep those age 17 to 25, who have committed low level offenses, out of the criminal justice system and out of public records. Sponsored by Supervisor Sheila Stubbs, this $61,000 amendment hopes to reduce major damages to the community and the offenders’ futures, by bringing the participants and victims together.

The Circuit Court judges proposed a different initiative of $75,000 to expand efforts to have offenders participate in community service rather than jail time. With this amendment, offenders would have the option to better themselves through doing good, according to the release.

“By offering community service we have a chance to help inmates turn their lives around and reduce recidivism,” said Supervisor Paul Rusk, the chair of the Public Protection & Judiciary Committee.

Other amendments to the budget include funding child protective services to work with minors and expanding the Urban Water Quality grant program. All are currently being reviewed by the budget-writing Personnel & Finance Committee.

The final recommended proposals, operating on a budget of about $585 million, will be considered at the meeting Nov. 14.

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