Changes to Wisconsin’s Driver’s License Reinstatement Policy

Upon release from prison, persons convicted of an OWI offense are required to complete treatment before having their driver’s license reinstated. Many ex-offenders fail to complete this treatment due in part to the relatively high financial and logistical costs involved. This report analyzes the costs and benefits of a proposed policy change that would enable offenders to receive the requisite treatment while still incarcerated. In highlighting the spatial mismatch between public transit and job opportunities, the report shows the importance of having a driver’s license for the employment prospects of ex-offenders which in turn has important implications for recidivism. In detailing the costs and benefits—to the state and to the offender—of providing treatment while incarcerated, the report offers critical context for policymakers considering changing the process through which OWI offenders can reacquire their license.

Policy brief (PDF)


  • Course: Spring 2016 Workshop in Public Affairs, PA 869, taught by Rourke O’Brien
  • Authors: Cecilia Culp, Brian Cwerenz, Adam Johnson, Timothy Williams
  • Client: Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons Project

Download report PDF