Wisconsin needs more prison space to deal with growing inmate population

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The head of Wisconsin's prison system is telling lawmakers that additional capacity is needed to deal with an aging and growing inmate population.

Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher tells a Senate committee Thursday that since he took over in March 2016 the inmate population has increased by 700, or 35 a month. Litscher says a number of options are being explored, including building a new prison, expanding earned release, better preparing offenders upon release so they don't get sent back and constructing new housing within existing facilities to house older inmates.

Democratic state Sen. Bob Wirch says prison officials should consider reforms that would result in fewer people being put behind bars to begin with.

A new state task force is being formed to study needs of the Wisconsin prison system.

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