This is the last in a three-part series about closing the illegal youth prisons in Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake (LH/CL). Part one outlined the best, fastest way to close these prisons. Part two re-examined the sordid tale of compromises that left the prisons open, and the millions of dollars the democrats are trying to spend on new ones. In this part, we’ll take a look at what could be funded with those millions instead.
The actual needs of Milwaukee youth
Democrats are trying to spend $42-46 million on a new prison in Milwaukee county that would cage 36 children. At the low end, that’s $1.17 million each child. Last February there were 22 kids from Milwaukee county in LH/CL who this new prison would be built for. That’s about $2 million each child. That’s ridiculous.
Despite many cultural differences, Wisconsin’s prison system has a similar negative impact on people in both under-resourced rural communities and Milwaukee’s northside. Those who have been cut out of the jobs economy, who’ve been marginalized and neglected by political elites, business owners, and corporations, are more likely to struggle with addiction, despair, and violence. We know what comes next – they end up going to prison.
In prison, negligence, abuse, and confinement cause great and lasting harm. People then return with that trauma to the same struggling communities they were taken from. The addedhe stigma of a criminal record further removes them from economic opportunities. They become more likely to resort to crimes of survival, or of addiction and emotional distress. In this way, prison drives up crime. It contributes to a cycle of harmful behavior, of people hurting their neighbors. Continue reading “Prison Hurts All of Wisconsin.”
We are inviting all Wisconsin Democrats and all organizations addressing prison issues to publicly join the 3 demands of Governor Evers. Please sign the petition, and forward it to friends, and most importantly, public figures you follow and to your elected officials.
Below is an open letter we’ve sent to more than 120 Wisconsin members or affiliates of the Democratic party, including assembly and congressional representatives, state and federal senators, county board supervisors, city council members, party officers, and more. We are also sending the open letter to a wide variety of state and local media.