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Friday - July 6, 2018 5:57 am

Taxpayers not getting their money's worth on prison body cameras

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Often times, when government gets its hands on a pile of money, it can't wait to spend it. Such is not the case with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. The state legislature gave the Corrections department more than a half million dollars in the most recent budget to help improve prison safety. The money, $591,000, was to be spent on body cameras for correctional officers who work in solitary confinement at each of the state's six maximum security prisons. The hope is those cameras will reduce assaults on both inmates and prison staff. Such assaults are on the rise. There were more than 400 documented assaults on Wisconsin prison staff in the past year, a record high. The legislature set a July first deadline for reporting to the state the impact of the new camera policy. Turns out, not only are the cameras not operational, the Corrections Department doesn't even have them yet. Corrections Secretary Cathy Jess told legislative leaders this week she couldn't provide an update on the body camera's success because they haven't even received the cameras yet. She claims there is plenty of blame to go around. That it took time to figure out which cameras they wanted, that they had to find the vendor they want to work with, and that there were delays in fulfilling the order. She now hopes to have some of the cameras operational by the end of this year, while others won't be in place until next year. It seems that if the Corrections Secretary really thought prison assaults were a problem, they would have moved much more quickly to get these cameras installed.

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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