Last week the ACLU of Wisconsin wrote a letter to Gov. Evers and said on its website, “Wisconsin officials should heed public health experts’ advice and immediately release individuals in detention who are at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19… In the letter, they are asking to ensure that system actors are responding to recommendations put forth by public health experts, specifically calling for the immediate release from prisons and jails of communities identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as vulnerable, as well as people currently in pretrial detention, to prevent a public health crisis.”
From the WI State Journal:
Starting Monday, Gov. Tony Evers (halted) all new admissions into Wisconsin’s prisons in an attempt to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“This is part of our efforts to stop the spread of the virus and help keep staff and the people in the state’s care safe,” said Melissa Baldauff, spokeswoman for Evers’ office.
Under the order, any defendant who is sentenced to prison will be held in a county jail instead of being transferred to one of DOC’s more than 30 prison facilities across the state.
Although the emergency order could help prevent an inmate from bringing COVID-19 into a prison, it might also put extra pressure on county jails, including potential overcrowding
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said there were “absolutely no conversations” with county sheriffs about the impact the order will have on county jails. The Dane County Jail was notified of the change via email at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“It’s really got sheriffs really upset,” Mahoney said. “It’s just very frustrating — as we’re trying to keep our own institutions healthy while we continue to hold prison inmates for the Department of Corrections — that we were not involved in at least a conversation about the need to find a collaborative solution.
Today’s read is from Christine Flowers, a Philadelphian who practices immigration law. A brief excerpt:
I got an email from the ACLU the other day. The email was a request to sign on to a petition that would urge President Trump and our nation’s governors to empty the prisons. They wanted “communities that are the most vulnerable to COVID-19” to be protected. They wanted defendants released back onto the streets, or at the very least, out of custody.
There are a few problems with this proposal…