Dramatic Turnaround at Milwaukee County House of Correction
One year after County Executive Chris Abele took over the operations of the Milwaukee County House of Correction (HOC), the facility has seen a dramatic and positive turnaround.
MILWAUKEE – One year after County Executive Chris Abele took over the operations of the Milwaukee County House of Correction (HOC), the facility has seen a dramatic and positive turnaround. Instead of simply housing offenders, the HOC is now offering programming and treatment that lowers recidivism and saves tax dollars.
“Every inmate who walks through the door at the HOC today fulfills their sentence, but most are also given the chance to contribute something back to our community and better themselves,” said County Executive Abele.
County Executive Abele met with law enforcement leaders from the across the country and state and held dozens of meetings on planning and best practices in advance of last year’s transition and before hiring Mike Hafemann as HOC Superintendent. County Executive Abele also interviewed numerous correctional experts to find the right leader to implement the vision of what an improved HOC could be.
“Mike and his team have done an incredible job delivering transformative change in just the first year,” County Executive Abele said. “This type of programming for inmates at the HOC is the latest step in our proactive approach to the criminal justice system. Working with the District Attorney’s Office, Chief Judge, Milwaukee Police and others, we’ve added programs and resources that address crime while also addressing the core problems leading to crime. Make no mistake, the changes we have implemented will make the County safer.”
Working with County Executive Abele, the County Board, advocates and experts across the criminal justice system, Hafemann and his staff have implemented numerous programs that give inmates a chance to break the cycle of incarceration. Teaching inmates job skills and offering necessary treatment saves money in the long run and improves public safety.
“Our accomplishments in the last 12 months have been many, but I believe the most significant has been our ability to manage an efficient, safe and secure correctional operation while also adding important inmate programming activities and options,” said Hafemann.
In just one year the Milwaukee County House of Corrections has:
*Started GED classes for inmates. So far 242 people have received their GED.
*Established in-house programming activities that includes:
- Substance abuse group and individual treatments;
- Parenting and Nurturing classes;
- Fatherhood classes;
- Anger Management; and,
- Mental health issues group and individual treatments.
*Introduced job training programs, including:
- IN2WORK, a nationally recognized restaurant and food safety training program. 130 inmates have taken the class including more than a dozen inmates who graduated this month.
- Fork Lifting class, a one week training class that certifies inmates in forklifting. A total of 96 inmates have completed the program.
*Inmate work crews have worked over 1,300 hours on various outside work details, saving Milwaukee County taxpayers nearly $90,000. Responsibilities include:
- Removing trash from County and State highways within the County;
- Working in 20 County Parks to assists park personnel in maintaining park grounds, equipment and facilities;
- Maintaining (i.e., trash removal) 17 acres of County owned vacant lands;
- Maintaining the grounds, maintenance and landscaping of the House of Correction; and,
- Working at the Hunger Task Force Farm and Fish Hatchery.
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