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As I See It

Wisconsin must act to solve prison crisis



The state of Wisconsin has long ignored the problems at its troubled prisons. They can’t ignore them any longer.  The warden at the Waupun Correctional Institution, along with nine other staff members, has been arrested and charged with felonies. They are facing charges after four inmates died at Waupun in the past year, including one inmate who died of dehydration but wasn’t discovered until at least twelve hours after his death. This is just the latest in a string of problems at Waupun, the state’s oldest prison. There was an FBI investigation into allegations guards were harming prisoners. There has been a federal probe into a drug and cellphone smuggling ring run by prison staff. Staffing issues have also prompted lockdown conditions for inmates. The state has been talking for years about reforming its prison system, possibly merging some facilities, or turning a youth prison into an adult prison. Our elected officials in Madison need to come up with a plan, and fast. We can’t wait until the next Legislature meets in January. Governor Evers should develop a plan for improving conditions at Wisconsin’s prisons, and call lawmakers back for a special session to vote on it. The Department of Corrections calls inmates as “persons in our care” but it is clear that currently there isn’t much care being provided.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. R Head

    June 7, 2024 at 8:44 am

    It must really suck to go to prison. Maybe people should think twice about committing crime.

    • Tom Schmidt

      June 7, 2024 at 1:18 pm

      I worked as a Nurse at WCI and DCI for 17 years. There are many “don’t give a shit” people at both prisons. Total burnout due to short staff. SAD

  2. Joe

    June 7, 2024 at 10:01 am

    Why….Why is there more worry for prisoners than unborn children? All are people, all life should be respected.

    • Lorna

      June 10, 2024 at 7:37 am

      Amen Joe

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