The last few years have not been particularly kind to the state of Wisconsin. Thanks in large part to our political leadership, once progressive, innovative, welcoming Wisconsin has developed a national image as backward, risk averse and narrow minded and other states are simply passing us by. Our reputation as a state that tolerates drunken driving does not help. An annual average of 280 fatal crashes and 4,000 injury crashes involving alcohol over the last ten years should be intolerable.
So we support Republican State Representative Jim Ott and Senator Alberta Darling’s package of proposals to toughen Wisconsin’s drunken driving penalties. And while we are as frustrated as anybody with the ever rising portion of the state budget consumed by the State Corrections Department, we believe the answer is not to reject longer and mandatory prison time and the attendant increased costs. Rather we should be reforming other prison practices, looking at mental health treatments, drug arrests and others, and locking up people who need to be locked up or at least increasing that threat as a deterrence.
Let’s get smart and get strong and crack down on drunken driving that has made our state a dangerous place to live.