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As I See It

Lawmakers show no urgency to fix Wisconsin’s troubled prison system

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Where is the urgency? It has been nearly one month since the warden of Wisconsin’s Waupun prison and members of his staff were arrested and charged with misconduct in public office. The charges came after a 62-year-old inmate died of dehydration after being placed on water restriction. Another inmate died of an overdose, but wasn’t found for at least 12 hours. Prison staff were fudging the reports of their hourly check on him. These are just the latest examples of a Shawshank-style prison system Wisconsin seems to be running, but our lawmakers continue to ignore the problem. They have not taken up a single piece of legislation to try to fix the state’s troubled prison system. Instead, they decided back in March to give themselves the rest of the year off. They should get their butts back to Madison and figure out a fix. An audit of how the system is run would be a good start, but our elected officials also need to come up with a plan to modernize the system, and close Waupun, which is more than a century old. Instead, those whose salaries we pay are playing golf or campaigning. Add fixing the prison system to the long list of important issues our lawmakers are ignoring.

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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kent Porter Mayor of the Northside

    June 21, 2024 at 6:41 am

    SHOULD MAKE CONVICTS WORK ON THE CHAIN GANG MAYBE THEY WOULD LEARN A LESSON. CRIME DOESN’T PAY !!!!!!!!!

  2. Walden

    June 21, 2024 at 11:08 am

    Apparently, Shaw has no knowledge of [fill in the blank].

    Contrary to what Shaw thinks, it’s the Wisconsin Department of Corrections that has oversight of the state’s prisons, not the legislature.

    DOC is headed up by a guy named Hoy who is a professional prison manager. Hoy is a member of Gov Evers cabinet. If Hoy can’t do the job, Evers should remove him and get someone who can. It is up to the Governor and his team to make any needed changes. Is Evers’ inaction a sign he is trying to cover something up? Perhaps the only action needed by the Legislature is to investigate why the Governor has failed to act.

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