This is posted on behalf of a CLIP member.
Dear Senator Roys;
I am writing today to urge you to reallocate $197 million spent annually to enforce technical violations of probation and parole. It is well known that a primary root cause of crime is poverty. Our punitive carceral system does nothing to address the root causes of poverty including the lack of generational wealth among black and brown people due to historic and ongoing systemic racism. We know that black and brown people are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated here in the Midwest. The 2019 Race in the Heartland Report cites the research of the Sentencing Project in its April 2018 report to the United Nations that "African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, and they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. African American adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated as whites . . . [a]s of 2001, one of every three black boys born in that year could expect to go to prison in his lifetime.”
Investing in our current carceral approach to crime exacerbates the trauma of poverty and disenfranchisement especially for black and brown people. It is time that the State of Wisconsin invest this money to help people get back on their feet via drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment or restorative justice practices that are not only compassionate but far less expensive. I ask that the State of Wisconsin invest in alternatives to incarceration, particularly for those who violate the rules of parole which are often extreme.
Picture: Milwaukee Independent, April 2021