Now GOP Wants To Gut Open Records Law in Wisconsin: and

Dear Attorney General Schimel:

It has come to my attention that, despite your public assertions (6/1/15 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that you will uphold and expand the Wisconsin Open Records Law, the WI Department of Corrections continues to withhold from the Felmers O. Chaney Advocacy Board the public records containing the answers to these questions:

  • How many paroled or on probation people by race break a rule, but dont commit a crime, yet get sent to Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) for evaluation of whether they return to prison or go to an Alternative to Prison (ATR)? This procedure effectively cuts off these individuals from their families and usually ensures that they will lose their job attained after being released from prison.

  • How many people by race are in a MSDF ATR program, and how many by race are in community-based ATR programs?

  • Which re-integration programs work? Which ones are modeled on evidence-based current best practices programs?

  • How many prisoners by race are eligible for parole or for compassionate care release?

As you know, Wisconsin is the worst state in the nation for incarcerating Black boys and men. Now that the question of racial disparity in the WI prison system is on your desk via the June 9, 2015, letter from the Advocacy Board, as well as in this widely read interview regarding these issues at, we expect that your office will again order the DOC to make these public records available, not only to the Advisory Board, but also to the general public.

We say that your office must follow through on this matter again because we just received a copy of Assistant Attorney General Paul M. Fergusons June 19, 2015, response to Advisory Board Chair RL McNeely, PhD, JD, in which Ferguson states that the DOC has responded to the boards request. According to Dr. McNeely, the DOC has yet to respond. It cannot be that the Wisconsin Office of Open Records is incapable of enforcing state law, can it?

Racial discrimination is illegal, yet the State of Wisconsin continues also to break this law, given the lack of proof otherwise. What is not in question is the proven fact that this state is the worst in the nation for the mass incarceration of Black boys and men. In todays climate of tolerance and commonsense, as proved last week by the Supreme Court of the United States, racial discrimination is intolerable as well as criminal.


Patricia Obletz, Editor

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on July 04, 2015

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