The George Floyd thing, again.
Two weeks ago, the feckless overseers of the Dane County jail called for a time out. They didn’t have the votes for an additional $24 million to decommission the outdated two floors of Sing Sing-era cells atop the City County Building to build a more humane facility adjacent to the Public Safety building.
A compromise was in the works, Dane County supervisors said. County Board chairman Analiese Eicher has introduced that compromise: an even smaller jail by lopping off the top floor of the proposed seven-story addition.
Dane County currently has room for 1,013 inmates (the sheriff calls them “residents”). Dane County budgeted for $150 million for 922 beds — a 9% reduction. But that’s not small enough for Wisconsin’s fastest-growing county.
Continued delays, supply chain issues, and inflation required an additional $24 million to complete that project. So the compromise introduced today would authorize only $16 million to further reduce jail beds to 825 — a 19% reduction from current capacity. Plus a ton of social engineering:
- Weekly meetings between the WI Department of Corrections and Dane County Sheriff “to review the status of those held on Department of Corrections on technical violations.” As if!
- Create a “Justice Support Services division to provide improved outcomes for those whose primary criminal justice involvement was with behavioral health and/or substance use issues.”
- Eliminate the Huber work-release program in the next three years, with a “human services-based system” (whatever that means).
- Expand the use of electronic monitoring. (As if that rubber band hasn’t been stretched to the breaking point). And of course …
- Hire a consultant. When flapping around on the beach, always hire a consultant “to evaluate specific policy, practice, and program effectiveness in reducing the jail population.”
All this, the Resolution says, is “Due to “increased attention to the need for criminal justice reform after the murder of George Floyd.”
The Eicher amendment is co-sponsored by Sups. Andrae, Bayrd, Miles, Schauer, and Ratcliff. It’s Item #K on Thursday evening’s 02-03-22 agenda. Meeting starts at 7 p.m. Comment here for public safety. Watch it all go down here.
Blaska’s Bottom Line goes to Supervisor David Ripp of Springdale, the most tenured member of the County Board: “They think there are enough votes to pass this garbage. If I vote for it, I’ll have to vomit right after it.”