How we can fight mass incarceration

Handcuffed hands of a prisoner behind the bars of a prison with orange clothes - Crispy desaturated dramatic filtered look

From Urban Milwaukee:

he Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would be an important first step in reforming our unjust federal punishment system. However, numerous politicians, including Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, still oppose this bill that would reduce several mandatory minimum sentences, reduce racial disparities in incarceration and expand rehabilitation programs for currently incarcerated people.

Wisconsin’s senators have not signed on as co-sponsors of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act yet. Sen. Tammy Baldwin supports the bill, but she is waiting for another Republican to sign on before she co-sponsors it. Sen. Ron Johnson has not yet taken a position on this proposal.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. It is time for Clarke, Johnson and Walker to acknowledge that mass incarceration has devastated neighborhoods here in Milwaukee and across the country. Walker must face the fact that crimeless revocation (the practice of re-incarcerating individuals on probation, parole, or extended supervision for minor rule violations) is more than significant. It is a failed policy, a waste of money and an embarrassment to Wisconsin.

In response to concerns raised by EXPO and WISDOM, a group of state representatives led by Mandela Barnes, David Bowen, Evan Goyke and LaTonya Johnson introduced a bill in 2015 that would have limited the number of people who could be sent back to prison for technical violations. Unfortunately, legislators did not enact this bill.

Lawmakers at the national level and in Wisconsin should not wait any longer to reform sentencing and revocation policies that contribute to mass incarceration.

Mark Rice, president of EX-Prisoners Organizing.

For more, visit Urban Milwaukee