Why They’re In Prison

Offenses for men and women inmates in state prisons.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - Feb 15th, 2019 11:56 am
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Waupun Correctional Institution. Photo from the Department of Corrections.

Waupun Correctional Institution. Photo from the Department of Corrections.

Most serious offenses for inmates in Wisconsin prisons on July 1, 2018

Men's charges

Men’s charges

Women's charges

Women’s charges

A few notes on the data:

  • There were a total of 1,624 women and 22,459 men imprisoned on July 31, 2018.
  • Twice as many men were in prison for sex offenses than there were total women in prison. Sex offenses include sexual assaults, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
  • Drug offenses were the most serious charges for 122 women, or 7.5 percent of female inmates; drug offenses were the most serious charges for 994 men, or 4.2 percent of the male prison population.
  • There were 977 men and 67 from whom the Department of Corrections did not have offense data or who were temporarily held pending supervision revocation or as an alternative to revocation.

Not shown on the charts – 4,947 men and 420 women were in prison because their supervision (probation, parole, or extended supervision) was revoked without a new conviction. Some 6,130 men and 386 women were revoked with a new conviction. The Fiscal Bureau has this cautionary note: “Due to date limitations, the number of revocations with no new sentences my be over represented, as further investigations of revocations frequently result in new sentences at a later date.”

The number of revocations with new sentences are excluded from cumulative populations because officials “cannot identify whether the type of offense is for the original sentence that led to revocation or the new offense that led to a new sentence.”

Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.

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