Peter Barca
Press Release

Walker Administration and Republican Legislators Must Also Be Held Accountable for Corrections Crisis

Assembly Democrats Request Audit of Department of Corrections

By - Feb 12th, 2016 03:17 pm

MADISON – Following the resignation of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall, Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said today that the Walker Administration and Republican legislators must also be held accountable for the crisis at the Department of Corrections. Assembly Democrats also officially requested an audit of the Department of Corrections in response to the severe health and safety concerns.

“While a leadership change is warranted, the Walker Administration and Republican legislators must also be held accountable for the crisis at the Department of Corrections,” Rep. Barca said. “Under Gov. Walker and Republicans, our correctional institutions have become dangerously mismanaged and a toxic environment for staff and inmates. The Walker Administration and Republican lawmakers have known for years that there were significant problems at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake and yet took no action. Wisconsin deserves accountability not only at the Department of Corrections but also throughout the Walker Administration and from Republicans in power to ensure that all our correctional facilities are the safest possible for workers, inmates and the citizens of Wisconsin.”

In response to the ongoing issues at the state’s correctional system, members of the Assembly Democratic caucus also formally requested the Joint Committee on Audit to audit the Department of Corrections. A copy of their letter is available here.

Under the Walker Administration there have been severe and systemic problems at the Department of Corrections (DOC) including understaffing, workplace safety, ballooning overtime costs, and low morale among the DOC workforce. Media investigations have revealed that the Walker Administration and Republican lawmakers have long known about problems at institutions including the juvenile facilities, yet took no meaningful action to address them.

Legislative Democrats continue to call for meaningful action to address the serious issues at the DOC. Assembly Democrats on the Corrections committee recently called for public hearings in response to the serious issues at the state’s juvenile facilities. Reps. Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee) and Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), the Assembly’s ranking Democratic members on the Corrections and Criminal Justice and Public Safety committees respectively, in December visited Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake after media investigations detailed mismanagement at those institutions. Democrats have also put forward meaningful solutions to address the toxic environment and lack of accountability at the Department of Corrections. Last month, Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) and other Democratic lawmakers introduced a series of reforms that would improve staffing issues and safety at the state’s correctional facilities.

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One thought on “Walker Administration and Republican Legislators Must Also Be Held Accountable for Corrections Crisis”

  1. Alene says:

    Seems to me from all I have heard and read about Wisconsin’s DOC, Walker doesn’t give a hoot about the DOC one iota. He seems to think it just runs itself and the people who work there must all be upstanding individuals to be working in such an environment. It would be interesting to know what he truly does think about the DOC in Wisconsin. It seems that all he knows is to take money away from departments or throw money at them to resolve all issues. He’s doing such a poor job with the state’s economy it makes a person wonder why he even wants to be governor except for the power and notoriety. If that’s the case, then that’s not a good enough reason.

    Actually Mr. Barca I think there have been and are severe and systemic problems in all departments in Wisconsin’s government that need to be fixed. Walker has given himself all of the power, but he does nothing good with that power. Did he simply want to take the power away from someone else and/or take the power so he could ignore problems? Did he think that once he had all the power he could then stick his head in the sand and hope those problems would resolve themselves or just go away. What else could it be. Wisconsin seems to be nothing but a big mess right now, and it won’t get better under the current administration. Every week there is yet another law in the works to take away or limit civil rights. When will that stop?

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