[edit: this article originally stated that the October 4 public hearing would be at common council chambers. The common council has decided to do the meeting virtually, due to the ongoing pandemic numbers.]
Defunding and abolishing police have become a national conversation since the burning of the 3rd precinct in Minneapolis, but abolitionists and organizers in Milwaukee were fighting to defund police for years prior to that, and with some success. This year we need everyone involved to keep up the fight!
Why we need to defund MPD
Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) has consistently proven itself to be violent, racist, and ineffective. Each year, Milwaukee residents spend nearly $300 million dollars on policing, which represents approximately 45% of the city budget. Elected officials have divested in our communities to expand police funding. It seems they are resigned to surveillance and incarceration as the primary means for addressing social problems.
Sheriff Earnell Lucas and his toady Ted Chisholm have been teaming up with private companies to exploit Milwaukee families for years. We can make them stop! At the county jail and house of corruption (HOC) people who want to talk to their families or eat halfway decent food need to use services provided at exploitative rates by private companies, who kick some of their profits back to Lucas and Chisholm at the county sheriff’s office (MCSO).
This is part of an ongoing series where we attend the monthly staff meeting of the parole commission and make notes available to the public and to captives held under the old law (sentenced before 2000).
September’s meeting was on Wednesday the 1st. It was attended by commission chair, John Tate II, all three commissioners, and two records associates. The public portion was about 20 minutes long, and there was a “no action” case they discussed in closed session afterward.
Tate started the meeting similarly to the last few meetings, bringing up a few tweaks that suggest he is making gradual changes to the parole commission process. First, he indicated that parole commissioners should use third person rather than first person language when describing their choices. So, rather than saying for example, “I recommend a two month defer” they should say “the commissioner recommends a two month defer.” Tate said this “better indicates that these are the agency’s choices, not individuals.”
Ryan Clancy, Milwaukee’s openly abolitionist county board member, has been busy. First, he’s introducing two resolutions that, if passed, will significantly reduce the harm of incarceration in the county jail and HOC. Second, he’s getting county board members to read and discuss Mariame Kaba with the public.
The first of Clancy’s resolutions will give 75 minutes of free phone time and 75 minutes of free video visitation time available to everyone held in either facility. The second will cap commissary prices, requiring that people held in these facilities be charged either the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or only 125% of the typical price at a chain store in Milwaukee County.