Stop the Senate!

Last week, with almost no warning, the State Assembly voted to have Wisconsin borrow $350 million to build a new prison. They also tossed in an additional $50 million per year in additional prison operating costs.
They did this by adding a last-minute amendment to a Senate bill that was already objectionable, a bill that would force the Department of Corrections to “revoke” even more people back to prison. We already re-imprison 3,000 people per year who have not been convicted of a new crime: they want to add more.

The Assembly took the bad bill and made it worse, much worse.
While other states, both states led by Republicans and states led by Democrats, are reducing their prison populations and closing prisons, our Assembly voted to go exactly the opposite direction.

The Assembly has gone home for the year. So, the decision rests with the State Senate. They can approve SB54, with the additional $350 million, or not. The Senate meets one more time this year - on March 20.

A group of WISDOM leaders met with leaders of other interested groups. We decided that on MARCH 13, we will bring as many people as possible to Madison to visit Senators.

The tentative plan is to meet in a large meeting room in the Capitol at 10 am, then go to visit the offices of every state Senator. We need other people, especially people who are represented by Republican State Senators, to help us to contact Senators on that day, and before.

Soon, we will have some fact sheets for you to use. Most of you don’t need too many talking points. We need to increase Treatment Alternatives; we need to stop re-incarcerating people on Crimeless Revocations; we need to re-start the Parole process for parole-eligible people; we need to move more quickly to release people who are eligible for Compassionate Release. If we did those things, we could reduce the prison population by at least 8,000 people.

We should be arguing about which facilities to close, not about building another one!

This reckless decision to spend $350 of our children’s money has to be opposed. If they build more prison space, there will be no incentive to do all the things we know can be done to safely reduce the prison population. If they build it, they will fill it.

Please try to be ready to help with this! We need to rally around this for the next few weeks and get it stopped. Then, we need to really engage in the “Race to Justice” and ensure that people who want to be in the next legislature - and Governor’s office - know better.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on March 02, 2018

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