County supervisor accuses legal system of racism
The other shoe just dropped. A county supervisor is proposing an immediate halt to all planning, design, architecture, and construction of a new jail.
Race is the reason. Supv. Elizabeth Doyle says that the United States “incarcerates more people, most of whom are people of color, than any other nation.”
The wide-ranging proposal would also monitor judges’ sentencing decisions for signs of racism. The county would compile “racial disparity and incarceration statistics on the Dane County website for all actors in the criminal justice system. Begin by publishing incarceration statistics including racial disparity statistics for all Dane County judges.”
Dane County has been debating jail construction at least since a 2014 jail study recommended replacing the unsafe and inhumane jail on the top two floors of the City County Building in downtown Madison WI. The cost is now estimated at $148 million.
Doyle proposes converting office space in the Public Safety Building into jail beds and using “remote hospital sites and community based recovery sites” to house inmates with mental health issues.
Doyle condemns Dane County for “allow[ing] the militarization of law enforcement.” Doyle was endorsed by the Democrat(ic) party. She represents much of downtown Madison, including the Capitol Square.
Doyle also proposes:
- Adding “representatives of communities of color” to the Criminal Justice Council
- Eliminating the work-release program
- Restorative justice
- “Dramatically reducing” probation and parole holds
- Creating inventory of local law enforcement use of force policies.
Doyle’s campaign treasurer is Judy Karofsky, former mayor of Middleton and mother of Jill Karofsky, who was elected this spring to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.