Local Legislators tour La Crosse’s criminal justice system

La Crosse county has been working on a pilot program to change how bonds are set, and they’re ready to show it to legislators.

“We are working on pre-trial procedures that will streamline the process and make the process more effective. So we needed to communicate that with our legislators and make sure that they were informed and on the same page as us,” explained Monica Cruse, La Crosse County Board Supervisor.

The county made a goal to explain their pilot pre-trial test to legislators. The Public Safety Assessment is used to determine the bond status for someone who was recently arrested based on two categories.

“What their risk of flight is, what their risk to the safety of the community is,” explained Wisconsin State Representative Jill Billings.

“It allows the judges and everyone from the court system to operate off of the same data and background that is being asked of the defendants,” explained Wisconsin State Senator Jennifer Shilling.

Compared to how bonds are set in a majority of the country, the County believes that the PSA puts defendants on a level playing field.

“It really is a smarter, more logical and scientific way. An evidence based way of looking at people in our Justice system,” added Rep. Billings.

As the country continues to struggle with Jail overcrowding, the La Crosse Pilot Program may help legislators find a solution.

“La Crosse County is stepping forward to be a leader in these reforms, and looking at alternatives and incarcerations,” concluded Sen. Shilling.

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