Our Crowded Prisons

Racine County Prisons Over Capacity

But Oregon prison is even more crowded

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - Feb 2nd, 2018 01:56 pm
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The Oregon Correctional Center, with an inmate population that is 150% of design capacity, has a 52-year-old kitchen and an inadequate health services unit, according to a Department of Corrections budget request.

The Department of Corrections asked for about $3.6 million to address some of the structural and equipment issues at the minimum-security facility. Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature said “no” and instead appointed a committee to study prison issues.

This is part 7 in our series on Wisconsin prisons, how crowded they are, and what the Department of Corrections said is needed to improve, repair, and maintain them.

Here is Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 Part 5, and Part 6.

As always, this primer does not really address the consequences of the crowding and physical shortcomings of the institutions – the impacts on inmates and staff. But we sure hope you will keep them in mind as you consider the price of mass incarceration.

Institution: Racine Correctional Institution, Sturtevant
Classification: Medium Security
Capital budget request: None

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Source: Department of Corrections Offenders Under Control on Jan. 19, 2018


Institution: Racine Youthful Offender Correctional Facility, Racine
Classification: Medium Security
Capital budget request: None

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Source: Department of Corrections Offenders Under Control on Jan. 19, 2018


Institution: Oregon Correctional Center, Prairie du Chien
Classification: Minimum Security
Capital budget request: $3,588,000
Status: Rejected

From the request: This project would provide for the construction of 2,063 GSF for a new building expansion of the kitchen and first floor inmate shower area, 715 GSF of remodeling of the health services unit (HSU) and inmate temporary lock-up cell (TLU), and improvements to the existing supply unloading area at the Oregon Correctional Center in Oregon, Wisconsin. … 

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Source: Department of Corrections Offenders Under Control on Jan. 19, 2018

Oregon Correctional Center (OCC) was constructed in 1973 to house 78 inmates and now houses 116. The current temporary lock up cell is a 38” x 40” steel cage currently located inside officer control. This allows offenders placed in TLU to easily observe and hear activity occurring in officer control. The main bathroom/shower facilities are located in the basement which lacks security staff supervision since the control center is located on the 1st floor. The health services unit is located behind officer control with little privacy and inadequate space. The kitchen is over 52 years old and in its original state. The bakery area operates in a shared, inadequately sized area with the pot and pan wash area. The walk in cooler and freezer do not provide sufficient storage capacity. 

The existing Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) security system is at its maximum 16 camera capacity. With any type of renovation, the security camera system would have to be updated to meet the additional cameras that are required to monitor inmate movement.

The department could continue with the current layout of the facility, but this does not improve the HSU space, provide confidentiality in officer control, or provide the proper environment for a temporary lock-up cell. The kitchen still lacks sufficient space for food preparation, food production, and sanitizing pots and pans. Also, the inmate shower area remains in the basement which does not have good security supervision since officer control is located on the first floor.

3 thoughts on “Our Crowded Prisons: Racine County Prisons Over Capacity”

  1. WashCoRepub says:

    Time to build more prisons!! Let’s get on it, Republicans. Start finding funding sources now to meet this critical need for public safety. How can you be wanting judges to impose longer sentences when there’s inadequate facilities to keep the criminals away from decent, law-abiding citizens?

  2. PMD says:

    We need more prisons for all the white opioid addicts living in places like Washington County. So many indecent lawbreakers in places like that.

  3. Terry says:

    @WashCoRepub, Make sure to keep a few cells ready for Walker, Trump and all the other greasy republicans!

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