Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Cruel and Unusual

State Officials Rethinking Use of Solitary Confinement

Other states are reforming. Some argue it's torture. Part 2 of series.

Get a daily rundown of the top stories on Urban Milwaukee
An unoccupied cell in the segregation unit at Waupun Correctional Institution. The cells are small, with a narrow window and concrete and steel furnishings. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

An unoccupied cell in the segregation unit at Waupun Correctional Institution. The cells are small, with a narrow window and concrete and steel furnishings. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

At Waupun Correctional Institution in 2012, one inmate being transferred to the state prison’s segregation unit threatened to throw his foot locker at officers, according to a use-of-force report obtained by Gannett Wisconsin Media.

The inmate, whose name was redacted, ignored commands, declared “I am not going to seg” and tossed water from his cell. Members of the “pad subduing team” assembled in response sprayed the inmate three times with pepper spray and shot him twice with a taser. The inmate finally fell to the floor and was shackled, then taken to segregation, commonly known as solitary confinement.

While being strip searched — done whenever an inmate is taken to or from the segregation unit — he “became violently resistive” and was tasered a third time.

Waupun’s segregation unit, which houses up to 180 inmates, is not a place inmates want to be. And for good reason: The unit blends severe isolation with the recurring use of force. Two inmates in segregation at Waupun, a state prison 55 miles northeast of Madison, have committed suicide in the past 18 months.

The use-of-force reports released for Waupun from 2012 and most of 2013 include six cases in which force was deployed against inmates in segregation while they were engaged in acts of self-harm or attempted suicide.

One inmate cut his wrist and forearm with metal from his glasses and was pepper sprayed. Others were tasered or sprayed after taking pills or attempting to hang themselves with a bedsheet or pillow case.

The segregation unit at Waupun has drawn multiple complaints from inmates alleging abuse by guards. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has identified 40 separate allegations of physical or psychological abuse involving 33 inmates since 2011.

Prison officials deny abuse is occurring and accuse the inmates making these allegations of lying. But the volume of complaints has stirred the notice of a state senator, an advocate for the disabled and a former state prison chief.

All of this is playing out against a national debate over the use of solitary confinement, especially for inmates suffering from mental illness. New York, Maine and Virginia have taken recent steps to alter or reduce the use of solitary. The prison chief in New Mexico has also called for reform. In February, a U.S. Senate committee held hearings on the issue.

Ed Wall, secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections, is also concerned. In an April memo to DOC staff, Wall asked whether segregation is being used for punitive reasons, when “what we really need from segregation is for inmates to have a corrective and rehabilitative experience.” The department is now consulting professionals throughout the country, with the goal of releasing a revised policy by January.

Wall cited national developments in this area, including the “sobering” observations of former Wisconsin DOC secretary Rick Raemisch, now executive director of Colorado’s state prison system. Raemisch testified before the Senate committee, calling solitary confinement “overused, misused and abused.”

“Segregation either multiplies or manufactures mental illness,” Raemisch said in an interview. “It may help (control behavior) while the person is behind that steel door, but what you’re doing is magnifying the problem.”

Wall, in his memo, raised the same concern. He said simply locking inmates in segregation without providing corrective or rehabilitative programming “may really just be helping to create a worse behavior problem and habitual threat.”

Is segregation torture?

According to DOC spokeswoman Joy Staab, all but one of the state’s adult prisons have segregation. Currently about 1,500 of the state’s 22,000 inmates are in segregation, which is commonly used to discipline prisoners.

A 2013 report by the Association of State Correctional Administratorsfound that Wisconsin had 118 inmates who had been in segregation continuously for more than two years.

“The way segregation is used now in Wisconsin is, by definition, torture,” said the Rev. Jerry Hancock, the former head of law-enforcement services in the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Hancock, now director of the Madison-based Prison Ministry Project, cites the call from a United Nations expert for a ban on the use of segregation in excess of 15 days, saying it “can amount to torture.”

Wisconsin law allows inmates to be sentenced to up to 360 days in segregation per disciplinary charge. Subsequent charges can bring additional sentences.

Early this year Raemisch, a former Republican Dane County sheriff who headed the Wisconsin DOC from 2007 to 2011 under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, got a taste of what solitary is like by spending 20 hours in a Colorado prison cell.

“I began to count the small holes carved in the walls,” he wrote in an op-ed on his experience in the New York Times. “Tiny grooves made by inmates who’d chipped away at the cell as the cell chipped away at them.” The column drew national attention.

Former Wisconsin prison chief Rick Raemisch, now head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, is at the forefront of a national movement to reduce the use of solitary confinement, which he says “either multiplies or manufactures mental illness.” Photo from the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Former Wisconsin prison chief Rick Raemisch, now head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, is at the forefront of a national movement to reduce the use of solitary confinement, which he says “either multiplies or manufactures mental illness.” Photo from the Colorado Department of Corrections.

According to Raemisch, Colorado has dramatically reduced the number of inmates in segregation, from 1,500 in 2011 to fewer than 500 today, and “we’re going to be decreasing that further.” He said the system has virtually ended such confinement for women and the severely mentally ill.

The reductions started under Tom Clements, Raemisch’s predecessor as head of the Colorado state prison system. Clements was murdered last year by an inmate who had recently been released directly from segregation into the community.

“Whatever solitary confinement did for that former inmate and murderer, it was not for the better,” Raemisch wrote.

Raemisch, while declining to specifically critique Wisconsin’s prison system, believes that corrections has “lost sight of its mission” — not just to efficiently lock people up, but to effectively teach them how to behave. Raemisch, noting that “97 percent of inmates are ultimately returned to their communities,” considers that vital.

“You can’t give up on trying to make them better, because if you do give up, you’re going to make them worse,” he said.

‘A sickening place to work’

Studies have linked prolonged solitary confinement to severe anxiety, visual and auditory hallucinations, uncontrollable fear and rage, a lack of impulse control and self-harm.

“It is well documented that the severe psychological stress of spending 23-24 hours a day in a stainless steel and concrete box, often with very little natural sunlight for months on end, no physical contact with friends or family, and virtually nothing to do leads to lasting psychological damage,” declares Wisdom, a faith-based state advocacy group, in a draft report. “It also does absolutely nothing to facilitate rehabilitation, undermining the ability of prisoners to function once they are released.”

Of special concern is the impact on inmates with mental illness. A 2009 Wisconsin state audit found that “mentally ill inmates have been overrepresented in segregation.” In January 2008, it said, 46 percent of the inmates in segregation were mentally ill, compared to a third of the overall prison population. At Waupun, it said, 61 percent of the inmates in segregation were mentally ill.

The DOC denied the Center’s request to visit the segregation unit at Waupun and talk to inmates there “based on the disruption it would cause in the facility, your safety and the confidentiality of inmates,” spokeswoman Staab said.

Brian Cunningham, a Waupun correctional officer who heads the union that represents state prison workers, said that is no surprise, calling this form of incarceration the DOC’s “dirty little secret.”

“It’s sickening to work in seg,” Cunningham said, speaking in his capacity as a union official.

Inmates come to segregation, he said, because they cannot manage to follow general population rules. Correctional officers must do everything for inmates, from feeding them to putting them in restraints every time they are moved.

“It’s just an incredibly difficult job to do,” said Cunningham, who works elsewhere in the prison. “We all dread working in seg.”

Cunningham, describing the conditions for inmates, paints a bleak picture. “You know, he doesn’t come out,” he said. “He’s stuck in a cell the size of your bathroom. His bed is made out of concrete. His toilet is bolted to the wall. There is nothing good about seg.”

Inmates sue over treatment

In 2010, state officials agreed to make changes in policy at the segregation unit at Waupun to settle a lawsuit brought by two inmates alleging the conditions there amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. The state agreed to provide new windows, magazines and dimmer night lights.

A separate federal lawsuit filed by five inmates in 2011 alleges that segregation is used as punishment for behavior that is due directly to psychological disorders. It said inmates in segregation “are confined nearly 24 hours a day, alone, in a small cell constructed with concrete floor, brick walls, and a box-car steel door that causes extreme forced isolation, social isolation, sensory deprivation, and deprivation of direct human contact.”

The state, in its answer, admitted that the inmates have only a small window and are allowed out of their cells only four hours a week for recreation but denied that these conditions amounted to extreme isolation.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled against the inmates and dismissed the case last August. That decision has been appealed.

One of the inmates involved in the suit obtained a statement from Eugene Braaksma, a state psychologist who worked part-time at Waupun for more than five years, ending in 2012. He said in an interview that the segregation unit is “sadly where some of the most seriously mentally ill persons end up.”

Braaksma, who now works at Central Wisconsin Center, a state facility in Madison for the developmentally disabled, said in his statement that the use of segregation “can exacerbate symptoms for individuals suffering from pre-existing anxiety-based mental illnesses.” This can lead to “acting out behaviors” that extend an inmate’s confinement.

Braaksma’s statement says he tried on several occasions to make his concerns known to Warden William Pollard and other administrative staff. He believes they, thus informed, had “a responsibility (to) explore other options” for these inmates but did not.

Pollard, asked about Braaksma’s statement, declined to respond directly. But he defended the level of medical and psychological services provided to inmates in segregation.

“The health and well-being of inmates is important to the department,” Pollard wrote, saying psychological and medical staff make regular visits. Additional staff have been added to allow inmates more out-of-cell time, he said, and inmates “are offered several types of programming including various groups and self-help material.”

A lawsuit filed in federal court late last year also alleges abuse directly related to an inmate’s mental illness. Waupun inmate Noah Frieden said he has been clinically diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder; one manifestation is that he compulsively must do everything right side first.

Inmate Noah Frieden is suing the state, alleging that guards abused him because he failed to obey their directives, due to a psychological condition. Photo from the Inmate Noah Frieden is suing the state, alleging that guards abused him because he failed to obey their directives, due to a psychological condition. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Inmate Noah Frieden is suing the state, alleging that guards abused him because he failed to obey their directives, due to a psychological condition. Photo from the Inmate Noah Frieden is suing the state, alleging that guards abused him because he failed to obey their directives, due to a psychological condition. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

During a strip search on June 13, 2013, the complaint says, Friedan was ordered to move his left foot. When he instead moved his right foot, correctional officer Joseph Beahm and Lt. Jessie Schneider “slammed plaintiff’s face into the steel grated strip cage door.”

The complaint states that Beahm “started to twist the plaintiff’s wrists” and a third officer discharged a taser into Frieden’s back, while Beahm yelled “Stop resisting!” Frieden, the complaint says, “issued a series of loud piercing cries.” Whereupon he was again allegedly slammed into the steel door.

Beahm and Schneider did not respond to requests for comment. The prison incident reports say Frieden “was screaming very loudly” and “would not lift his left leg and began to kick his right leg in staff’s direction.” It confirms that he was shot with a taser and “directed to the strip cell door with minimal force.”

Calls for change sounded here

Kit Kerschensteiner, managing attorney with Disability Rights Wisconsin, said inmates with mental illness are punished more frequently and often that is because their disability makes it difficult for them to follow rules.

“Unfortunately, prisons like Waupun were never intended to be treatment facilities,” Kerschensteiner said. “Correctional officers don’t have the training or supervision to work with people with mental illness. A crisis situation can quickly escalate and in our experience often ends in excessive force and abuse.”

Kit Kerschensteiner of Disability Rights Wisconsin says correctional officers often lack training and supervision to deal with mentally ill inmates: “A crisis situation can quickly escalate, and in our experience often ends in excessive force and abuse.” Photo by Kate Golden of the  Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Kit Kerschensteiner of Disability Rights Wisconsin says correctional officers often lack training and supervision to deal with mentally ill inmates: “A crisis situation can quickly escalate, and in our experience often ends in excessive force and abuse.” Photo by Kate Golden of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Kerschensteiner said her group hears often from Waupun inmates seeking to be transferred to the Wisconsin Resource Center, a state prison facility in Winnebago that provides mental health treatment. But “even if we could get them transferred, once they were stabilized at WRC they would be sent back to make room for new patients and the downward cycle would begin again.”

What is needed, Kerschensteiner said, “is a serious commitment to mental health treatment by the Legislature in the DOC budget.”

Wisdom’s draft report calls for a number of specific changes in how Wisconsin uses segregation, including limiting stays to a maximum of 15 days, increasing staff crisis intervention training, providing “a clear and structured path” for inmates to earn their way out of segregation and making sure that inmates are never released directly from segregation into the community.

The memo by Wall does not go into specifics regarding the changes he is seeking, other than its references to corrective and rehabilitative programming. But Staab suggested the changes will fall short of what the DOC’s critics would like to see: “For serious cases the maximum penalties have not changed.”

Bill Lueders is the Money and Politics Project director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org). The Center produces the project in partnership with MapLight.

The Center collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

27 thoughts on “Cruel and Unusual: State Officials Rethinking Use of Solitary Confinement”

  1. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    We are babying these violent rapists, murderers, gun criminals. Instead of solitary let us ship them down to Mexcio and pay Mexicans to keep them.

  2. David says:

    Everytime you post, you make less and less sense.

  3. PMD says:

    That is compassionate conservatism on display right there.

  4. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    As a frequent victim of crime and also a close observer of it in my pharmacies etc, I do not have any compassion for these thugs. Milwaukee is top ten most violent, top 4 for murders per capita, plus aggravated assaults are worst in country. Right now we know 90% of the people that will be doing those crimes in the next ten years. The leftists that sit on their butts, those that rule Milwaukee, safe in suburbs, refuse to act on this problem. All thy do is blame someone else. The Barrett/Flynn/Chisholm/Kremer deal on these thugs is making it worse. Only Donovan and Clarke are speaking up.
    The Left does not case if the inner city youths shoot each other up as long as it does not spill over to Shorewood too much. They are far more concerned about a new Arena for the Bucks and the parks.
    If we take the worst thugs, gun carrying felons and bid them out to Honduras, mexico, guatemlea for a much lwoer price a lot of drug selling, murderous thuges will get relgion.

  5. Justin A says:

    Maybe we should start taking these murderers and rapists out for a nice steak dinner and some wine instead of throwing them in prison. They deserve only the best!

  6. Andy says:

    I take a strong stance on crime and punishment and wish we would enforce our laws more strictly while at the same time fully enforcing the proper punishment. However, that does not mean we can not keep an eye on our correctional facilities to make sure the guards are not over stepping their power and/or mistreating inmates with mental illness instead of finding help for them.

    Filling our system with drug addicts and people with mental illness is probably not the way to go… we would be much better off putting them in programs to help them deal with their situations. That being said, for violent criminals and those with a lengthy history, I have no pity for them.

  7. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    The Lessard decision unleashed most of the mental patients back into the communities. Few drug addicts are in jail, not the users, but the sellers. The ones in jail now are pretty much the thugs and those guilty of aggravated assaults. we would be doing everyone a great favor by getting the worst thugs, rapists, murders out of our system and someplace else. It is very expensive to hold them and worse to let them free. As you see, all of the shootings by people that Bruce Murphy and others want to baby or let free, have been done by lifetime thugs who have gotten away with one felony after another. They just need love!!!!

  8. PMD says:

    I agree Andy. That’s both simplistic and inaccurate WCD. Rational people draw a distinction between people who are incarcerated for drug possession and other non-violent offenses, and those who are incarcerated for murder, rape, and other violent crimes. And when you consider that of the 2.3 million inmates in the U.S., more than half have a history of substance abuse, there are probably more than just a “few” addicts locked up.

  9. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    I am talking Wisconsin. Casual drug users, that are not peddling drugs are not in prison. Fines maybe, county jail, but not in the prison system. The one in prison are either violent thugs or big time white collar crime, few of those. Solitary, talk to the guards about some of these people. Psych problems, lots of them. If they are on meds and can be handled then they get into asylums system but the others are in prison system. Want these people out, take them into your neighborhoods, but you will never do that. How many of you Leftist clowns have been the target or repeated crimes? How many of you let Barrett/Flynn get away with one exscuse after another as Milwaukee falls apart at seams?

  10. David says:

    While I believe that 90% of medium to large Amarican cities have a crime problem, exaggerating or lying about statistics doesn’t help. Top 4 for murders per capita? Please cite your source WCD. I also find it frustrating that one year we’re in the top ten, the next year we’re out of the top 25 for crime. Who knows what the real stats are. Crime is measured so many different ways. There is so much twisted misinformation out there. Let’s all agree that there is a problem without trotting out top 10 lists and phony information. BTW, if you want to go by murders per capita, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Memephis, New Orleans, Flint, Camden, Oakland, Kansas City, Baltimore, etc. all exceed Milwaukee. And I left a bunch off the list. You are incapable of honest dialougue WCD.

  11. PMD says:

    Milwaukee is not even in the top ten for per capital murder rate. Flint, Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis, Baltimore, Birmingham, Newark, Oakland, Baton Rouge, Cleveland, and Memphis is top 10.

    Are there stats for the number of nonviolent drug offenders currently incarcerated in the state?

  12. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Sorry but Right Wisconsin/Charlie Sykes reports that Milwaukee has 4th highest per 100,000 people. Ask David Clarke. The left tries to bury these facts and as long as they are just killing poor black kids they do not care.

  13. David says:

    My mistake…… WCD I didn’t know you get your information from Charlie the Entertainer. Either you misunderstand the information you’re reading or don’t know what per capita means. Either way, you are correct that Milwaukee has a crime problem along with the rest of the country. Both Rep and Dem cities wrestle with this issue. The problem is not left or right, it’s American. I know this is the latest republican talking point, but if you’re going to use stats either get them right, understand them or don’t use them.

  14. PMD says:

    According to the FBI, here are the cities with the highest per capita homicide rates in America: Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis, Baltimore, Newark, Oakland, Stockton (CA), Kansas City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Memphis, and Atlanta. But never let facts get in the way of a good talking point or some anti-Milwaukee rhetoric.

  15. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    FBi reports from 2010 statistics Milwaukee has gotten worse shows that in the category of 500,000 to 999,9999 Milwaukee is 4th in homicide rates per 100,000. Milwaukee is tenth most violent and if you take the other pits that the dems run, that are much bigger cities we are 3rd. Fact is that this had gotten worse since Barrett, Flynn have taken power and cut the deal with Kremer and Chisholm to let people out so that they can kill more black kids. As long as there are only black and hispanic kids getting killed the left does not care, only has blame, stupid talking points and excuses. the Left has caused the problem in the city. It was better under Artie Jones.
    You want to check my figures go to Right Wisconsin, Charlie Sykes, and you can click to he FBI statistics. FBI does no have figures broken down for 2011 yet.
    And it is not a Left/Right problem, only the Left. In NY Giuliani/Bloomberg made drastic reductions in violent crime. Many other cities followed that lead. Barrett/Flynn, Left just makes excuses, blames Bush or their little sisters. Meanwhile the little Black kids get slaughtered.

  16. PMD says:

    The figures I referenced are from 2012 WCD. Again, according to the FBI, Milwaukee is not in the top 10. At least not in 2012. The figures were released in the fall of last year.


    So crime has only been reduced in cities with Republican mayors? What cities followed their lead?

  17. Andy says:

    Just to play referee a bit…

    David: If the big jump from 23rd in crime to top 10 from 2011 to 2012 is what you are referring to, that was due to Flynn misreporting crimes up until 2012. The seemingly big spike in crime was actually just correcting their reporting. So as far as suspicious goes… yes, it was indeed. JS did a series of articles about that.

    WCD: your data is old. FBI does have 2012 stats out. We’re not quite as bad as you say… although I suppose we’re not that far off. The lists vary depending on what you use for population and how the numbers are parsed in terms of murder/manslaughter/etc. However, all the lists I’ve seen have us in the 10-15 rank range.

  18. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Headlines of kids killed every day in inner city. If that was in Shorewood, Brookfield, heads would roll. In Milwaukee they just make excuses, worry bout the thugs in solitary. Who cares if these black kids get killed, just make sure that those thugs are comfortable. Murphy and friends are always making excuses. Talk to victims, people on front line, good cops, sheriffs around state and you get different picture. Talk to the guards that have to take the crap every day. We do. The road map for helping fix this problem is simple, follow NY and Austin and other cities. The left runs the schools, MPS worst in country. The Left runs the jobs out to Waukesha letting the kids here sit with nothing to do. Raise the wages so that more sit. Milwaukee is 10 worst managed cities and who is in charge? I like Milwaukee, had had property there for years but problems, govt. just got too bad. Watch Milwaukee cty. govt. and Barrett, rejects from everywhere. They are jokes and the local left just became their apologists. Nothing happens. If the same Blue Ribbon people that are calling for the taxpayers to spend 200 million for a bunch of guys to run up and down the court, for millions every year, would spend the same energy demanding that the city solve these problems, things might happen.

  19. David says:

    Andy: I am aware of the change and / or misreporting of the crime statistics. However, with a few exceptions, many cities jump in and out of the dreaded top 10 or top 20 crime lists with regularity. Also, crime stats for many cities are watered down when they include their regional populations which many do. I agree with everyone about the crime problem in our city. I’m not denying that there is a problem. However, I take issue with people that use this terrible problem for political purposes. WCD does just that. He’s loose with facts, short on solutions and spins and twists the truth. He obviously has an agenda and looks to exploit what he believes to be wedge issues. I don’t believe he’s sincere.

    I am an Independant and live in the city of Milwaukee. I love this city for all the great things it has to offer but I am not blind to it’s problems. Addressing crime in the black community is complex. I believe that the solutions will come from the left, center and right. Wisconsin has one of the highest, if not the highest incarceration rates for black males in the country -we lock a lot of people up for all sorts of offenses for a very long time. We have a thriving drug trade in the city with a many customers living in the suburbs, lack a regional public transportation network for access to jobs and our suburbs are 98% white (not by mistake). With that said, we need to be more aggressive to stabalize the crime situation so law abiding people that reside in these neighborhoods can live in relative peace. The right wants to draw a circle around the city and demonize its residents. Its just the latest strategy by the right – create separation to pretend to care. WCD is just a foot soldier.

  20. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    David, never read so much unmitigated crap. More whining. No answers, just talking points. Fact is the only people interested in the inner city are the Conservatives. The Left just lies, makes excuses, talking points, no answers ever. Tommy was only one to try to solve MPS. Left fought them, backed unions for votes and money. Ryan proposes solutions, Left criticizes, no answers. Want public transportation, they give you choo choo to nowhere. Need more buses. Solve crime. No answers in 10 years. Want jobs, beat up on the 1% and those that create jobs. If you want integration, busing ruined city, you need to educate kids and get them jobs. Will not happen under current leaders, they do not want to lose votes. Norquist had more sense than the present gang. Understood economy, worked with Tommy to fix schools. Barrett will not touch them, never has.
    I have yet to see any Leftist put up any answer to any of the problems in Milwaukee: crime, jobs, MPS, management, Wisconsin Center, MMSD.

  21. WIREFORM says:

    Violence begets violence. The clinical studies and demonstrations that have been done involving regular people put in different uniforms to see how they will behave is the first clue as to what is going on in Waupun. You put people in positions of power it is only a matter of time before they will begin to abuse that power, usually against those that they feel they are in a position of power over.

    The COs here have abused their power to the Nth degree. They are lying about it as if this were an isolated incident there wouldn’t be so many complaints being made out of the same prison.

    I can’t forgive the crimes that those inmates committed, but if we want to call ourselves civilized then we need to start acting civilized, for the behavior that is being demonstrated by those COs is not civilized or professional.

    If you live in Milwaukee, go to a concealed carry class, go get yourself a weapon and when necessary defend yourself. To believe that one should be safe all the time anywhere they are is naive, There are bad apples out there, the best you can do is prepare yourself to defend yourself and the ones that you love. I can guarantee that the more people that carried concealed the less crime there would be. Because criminals look for ‘easy pickings’, if you don’t let yourself be and they believe that 75% of the population is packing, they are less likely to try to harm you, for they don’t know if you are prepared and willing to defend yourself.

    Your personal protection starts with YOU.

  22. PMD says:

    I for one would feel a hell of a lot more unsafe if I thought 75% of Milwaukee residents were packing heat.

  23. David says:

    WCD: You are no differnt that those on the far left. The fringes control the debate so nothing gets done. Like I said, I’m not opposed to being more aggressive on crime to stabalize the neighborhoods. All politics is local – people want solutions not the constant attacks by the left or right to advance a party or candidate. I think what they have done in NYC is amazing. “Broken windows” approach is certainly worth looking at. I would like to add more police, and maybe if Act 10 included police and fire the city would have more room in the budget to add them, but Republicans wanted to win and protect their votes and including cops and fire (Milwaukee’s largest budget items by far) would mean losing votes. Very courageous WCD. However, at some point you need to see that there is a social component to crime. You can call it unmitigated crap all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re a mouthpiece. We all know this.

  24. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    As for packing? I go into woods every year where 1 million Wisconsinites are packing. Where are the fatalities? As for political. I am 74, a frequent victim of crime in my pharmacies. 18 burglaries, 3 armed robberies, one knife attack in SA. Too much shoplifting too mention. Three home burlgaries, 5 car breakins. Bad checks etc. too much to go over.
    I am 74. I am not running for office, do not want a job, do own inner city property but not in Milwaukee, have owned in Milwaukee, volunteered to work in inner city pharmacies, Walgreens, last 20 years. Worked with mostly minorities and listened to their problems.
    Observed the drug addicts many times a day. I publish the Conservative Digest but it is only interested in issues, problems and answers, not Leftist’s BS and their talking points. Have watched Obama with 9 million unemployed and a disaster for the working poor and middle classes. Higher prices for food gas, energy and other products. They are devastated, I see it every day as I have to turn down people for tenants cause they cannot get full time job. The Conservatives that I have worked with the last 50 years, from Reagan, Tommy, Ryan, Kooyenga on down, want solutions. Tommy had many for Wisconsin, but destroyed by the left. I watched Doyle, Barrett, MPS, Obama make huge mess of this state. Walker solved fiscal problems and removed one of the big problems for our schools, unions. At my age I am only interested in seeing Milwaukee solve the problems and all I hear is whining, excuses, blame Bush, Walker, their little sisters. Nothing new in 10 years. Norquist understood the problems better and Artie Jones actually did much better job then Flynn.
    The answers to a reduction in crime are there. Look at the perps that have been captured after killing those kids. Why weren’t they in jail? The Left whines for people in jail, not the victims. Look at the victims of Weakland. Why isn’t he in jail? Hundreds of kids assaulted and he walks, they suffer. I am Catholic. Put the thugs in jail, prosecute the gun crimes. Follow the lead of Bloomberg/Giuliani and you will see answers.
    Turn the police dept over to the neighborhoods, the schools too.

  25. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Since 1990 NY, despite growing population has cut murders and aggravated assault by almost 80%. Milwaukee’s have gone in opposite direction. Why? We are top ten most violent, 4th for murders in our city size bracket per FBI.

  26. WIREFORM says:

    Milwaukee is fourth because Chicago is #1.

    There is a lot of crime because there are folks that flee Chicago and bring their BS north. The reason Milwaukee has a lot of offenders on supervision is because the policy and law is that an offender goes back to the community in which they committed the crime. So they can’t hide from the public shaming that is supposed to happen.

    I am not saying that it is right to put what appears to be a concentration of offenders in one place like Milwaukee, because it isn’t. I believe in many of the cases that come out of the inner city is due to opportunity and culture. Put someone back in that community and culture and it will ‘culture’ them to do an offense again. But other communities fear getting ‘dumped’ on by the DOC if they start getting more offenders than they are producing.

    The solution here lies in the process that is used after a person is convicted of a crime. Sure they go to jail/prison, for the punishment part of the sentence, here is where the reintegration should start, the day they walk in to Dodge for evaluation. Treatment. No, it won’t work on every single person in there, but if we can get 60% or 75% that it does work for, that will reduce our prison population, for there will be less re-offenders coming back. It will make reintegration in to any community easier for both offender and community. The DOC waits so long to get people into treatment programs while in prison that many never get the treatment that they should when they are there. The reason this is this way, is because the DOC believes that they need to treat people right before they leave so they have the skills to go back out in the world with. But if they treated folks earlier, they could practice their new behaviors while inside and still around other people in treatment and that have completed it, using that support system while they are in there to move forward and then when they are out they are better equipped to be productive members of society.

    There are no easy answers to what to do with people that commit crimes, but I do know that the USA is doing something wrong for we are the Incarceration Nation of the world. Norway never incarcerates anyone past 20 years. They start treatment immediately and they also work everyone down to minimum and almost back into the community before they ever leave their prison system. I am not soft on crime, but unless we are just going to start killing those that commit crimes so we don’t have to reintegrate them back in to our communities, we need to come up with a better solution cause this one we use currently isn’t working.

  27. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    I have been to Norway, have many friends there. compare Norway to Ozaukee cty., not Milwaukee. There are ways to do it. NY reduced murders from 2300 in 1990 to 335 last year. how?

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us