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.
On October 13, governor Evers almost kind of started making an investment in alternatives to state violence in Milwaukee. He came here to announce $45 million from Wisconsin’s recovery act (ARPA) funds would go into “safer communities and violence prevention.”
Unfortunately, as with his pardon announcements, this is another of his misleading headlines. Behind the headlines, nearly half ($20 million) of the allocated funds are going to supporting victim services through the department of justice. We know them from their work obstructing the release of old law prisoners. That is not violence prevention.
[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).
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.
This is an audio version of “Abolition action at the Milwaukee county board” published at ABOLISHmke.com on September 7, 2021.
Music thanks to snag. snagmke.bandcamp.com
ABOLISHmke, news and analysis from a bad place. We write from an anti-authoritarian perspective on police, prisons, and more in the so-called state of Wisconsin.
We will publish anything sent to us that conforms to our editorial standards for authenticity, conflict, and rigor. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions: abolishmke [at] protonmail [dot] com.
There’s a bill working its way through the state legislature that will give police $600,000 to establish snitch houses in many Wisconsin cities. A snitch house, also called a COP or “community oriented policing” house, is a small police department that looks like a house and provides “wraparound services” like after-school programming to the neighboring community in exchange for improved community and police relations. By “improved relations,” they mean snitching.
Now the assembly version of the bill, AB258, is coming up for a hearing in Madison on Tuesday May 18 alongside the assembly version of SB119, the notorious “fund the police” bill. SB119 is an empty republican provocation with zero bipartisan support. Governor Evers will certainly veto it. The snitch house grant is a bigger threat because, without intervention, it will actually become law.