Shrink the jail is another ‘Defund the Police’
Joe Parisi may not have a spine, but there is some cartilage in the man, after all. The Dane County Executive on Wednesday 11-16-22 vetoed the County Board’s attempt to shrink the new jail addition down to five floors, which is down from six, which was down from the seven really needed to close down the 70-year-old Alcatraz atop the City County Building.
Or, to put it in terms of inmate capacity: the originally proposed seven stories would have held 925 inmates (itself 9% fewer than current capacity), the six stories 825, the five-floor job only 697 — down 30% from current capacity.
While Democrats like Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes ran from their well earned Soft On Crime reputations, a majority of Dane County’s supervisors eagerly embrace the moniker.
Woke progressives just don’t like jails
Let’s be clear: this isn’t about money. It’s about Madison Woke progressivism’s war against “the carceral state.” It’s about too many jail “residents” (Sheriff Barrett’s term) whose skin tone or ethnicity don’t match the county’s demographics. Not important whether those peripheral characteristics match actual criminality.
We’ll leave it to another Democrat (once of the card-carrying variety), former mayor Dave Cieslewicz:
The ideological objection came from the hard-left. They don’t like jails. They don’t think there are any dangerous criminals out there, just political prisoners. They wanted either no jail or a much smaller one to force the system to lock up fewer people. You would think they would have been satisfied then with the original consolidation proposal which cut the number of total beds. If you thought that, you don’t know the hard-left.— David Cieslewicz
Even the newly elected sheriff, a Democrat like Parisi, criticized the board’s disappearing jail.
“The amendment ignores millions of dollars committed to studies supporting the current plans … will result in the continued use of the 6th & 7th floors of the City County Building, cause jail overcrowding, and … threatens the health and life safety of those living, working and volunteering in the CCB for the foreseeable future.”— Sheriff Kalvin Barrett
Here are the 19 feckless supervisors (find yours here) who voted to shrink the jail:
ANDRAE, BARE, CASTILLO, CHAWLA, DOYLE, ERICKSON, GRAY, HUELSEMANN, HYNES, KIGEYA, MILES, PELLEBON, RITT, ROSE, SMITH, WEGLEITNER, WRIGHT, XISTRIS-SONGPANYA and YANG — 19
Here are the 18 responsible supervisors (find yours here) who voted for a realistic jail:
BOLLIG, COLLINS, DOOLAN, DOWNING, EICHER, ENGELBERGER, GLAZER, HATCHER, JOERS, KIEFER, McCARVILLE, MCGINNITY, PALM, RIPP, RATCLIFF, SCHAUER, VELDRAN and WEIGAND — 18.
Money for Wokeness
Parisi explained his veto:
Just a few months ago, the County Board approved designing a compromise solution addressing the outdated CCB jail. The budget presented to me called for stopping the very design work the Board asked be done then and is now only weeks away from completion. It would be one thing to stop progress if there was consensus on a viable alternative. The budget adopted offers broad policy goals but charts no clear path forward.— Parisi veto message
Not that Parisi has taken the case for the right-sized jail to the people. Not that he even included funding for a safe jail. Not that the city’s two newspapers have crusaded like they once did for Monona Terrace.
Out of an $853 million budget, Dane County found money for more bureaucrats — the brand new, $1.2 million Department of Justice Reform and Equity! Money for Climate Change: $4.5 million for carbon capture. Another $92,000 for the Office of Energy and Climate Change. Another $1.5 million for the City of Madison’s “public market.” If the county can subsidize city expenditures, can’t the city reciprocate?
Good news: Madison alders rejected attempts to spurn the federal government three-year grant for six additional police officers and raid the city’s one-third match for other uses. (Discussed that here.)
More good news: Alders rejected the big pay grab, also proposed by Council President Keith Furman: to $31,793 from $14,904. Instead, they settled for a smaller increase, to $20,604. No wonder Furman is not running for re-election!
Still more good news: The Pennsylvania House of Reps, majority Republican, impeached Philadelphia D.A.Larry Krasner for abetting record levels of violent crime. Next step: trial in the Republican-led state senate. (You see, Pennsylvania can elect Republicans, just not Trump’s Election untruthers.)
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Dane County could reduce the jail down to 10 “residents.” There would still be disproportionality, the Woke Folk’s greatest nightmare.