Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Crowley Says House of Correction Renamed, Despite Board’s Opposition

Board cut funding for uniforms, signage at renamed Community Reintegration Center.

By - Nov 18th, 2022 05:48 pm
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. File photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. File photo by Graham Kilmer.

After the Milwaukee County Board voted to remove $158,000 in funding for the renaming the House of Correction to the Community Reintegration Center (CRC), County Executive David Crowley opted not to veto the amendment, and instead wrote a conciliatory message to the board saying he hoped to work with them on the project.

But, the county executive also didn’t back down. “With that said, I want to be clear that I have renamed the facility,” Crowley said. “The House of Correction is now the Community Reintegration Center.”

The reasoning by supervisors who voted to cut the funding ranged from feeling cut out of the decision-making process to questioning whether the leaders of the CRC were committed to reintegrating the people incarcerated there back into their communities.

Crowley responded, “Though your points concerning the need for both additional communications to the Board and a track record establishing successful reintegration outcomes were well-made and well-taken, my view is that this change is too critical to the advancement of our shared mission — to become the healthiest county in Wisconsin by achieving racial equity — to delay the important culture shift at this facility symbolized by the name change.”

The county executive and CRC Superintendent Chantell Jewell announced the name change in September shortly before Crowley released his proposed 2023 budget. Jewell told Urban Milwaukee that the name of the institution should reflect its mission, saying, “When someone comes into our facility, we are not about administering punishment.”

Supervisors said changing the name before the institution was overhauled was putting the cart before the horse. Crowley disagrees. “I believe that we must lead with a symbol of the culture change and our commitment to community-focused reintegration, as opposed to punishment… What we say we want to be and how we say it matter,” wrote the county executive.

Jewell took over the facility in late 2020 and implemented several new programs and quality-of-life measures at the facility, including a new partnership for an educational program with Marquette University and a planned new Family Engagement Center.

Crowley told the board that the CRC is already “laser focused on successful community reintegration and the reduction of recidivism” and added that the plan already is to increase enrollment in existing programming at the facility, add new additional programs and improve the outcomes toward the institutions named goal of community reintegration.

The name change is moving forward, he said, but without funding. “It is my hope that after a full discussion of the merits of programming and reintegration work currently being done by the CRC, the Board will approve funding,” wrote Crowley.

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Categories: MKE County, Politics, Weekly

One thought on “MKE County: Crowley Says House of Correction Renamed, Despite Board’s Opposition”

  1. DAGDAG says:

    Yeah, that name just rolls off of your tongue. And seriously now. The original name works, and has worked for years. Is the new name one of those things that are supposed to make inmates feel better about themselves? There are a lot better ways to spend $158,000 in the county.

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