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Marquette poll helping case for state prison system reform

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A recent statewide poll gave ammunition to those seeking reforms in Wisconsin prisons.

According to the new Marquette Law School poll, only 1 of every 5 registered voters thought the prison system was doing a good or excellent job of turning inmates into productive members of society.

WISDOM, a coalition of churches, recently renewed its campaign to encourage putting more prisoners on parole -- giving early releases to elderly inmates -- and ending solitary confinement.

The Reverend Jerry Hancock, who heads a prison ministry project in Madison, tells the AP that the poll reflects a general feeling that the system is failing. However, he admits that those answering the poll probably don't have a strong knowledge of the state's rehabilitation efforts.

Wisconsin prisons have more than 22,000 inmates, but the numbers of repeat offenders in prisons have generally been dropping over the last 20 years.

Corrections' officials have started to work with mental health experts and other states to give inmates in solitary confinement more rehab.

Governor Scott Walker opposes early release programs, but has said he's willing to consider more alternatives to sending certain offenders to prison.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)