This week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:
Milwaukee County officials will soon open a newly refurbished facility in Franklin that will house county inmates and state prisoners who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Work on the new facility, which will house up to 120 patients, is expected to be completed this week. It is expected to begin accepting inmates and prisoners from around the state as early as Sunday.
So far, the project has cost $6 million — a bill that is being footed entirely by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Federal officials had budgeted $12 million for the construction project.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley made it clear that the inmates will not just come from the county. He labeled it a “regional” facility but then said it will also take patients statewide.
“This facility isn’t necessarily just for House of Correction folks,” Crowley said.
“This is the ability to allow those in our neighboring counties to take particular inmates, to separate them from the general population,” he added. “So we can take care of COVID-19 patients all from across the state of Wisconsin.”
The House of Corrections is right down the road from what I would call a ritzy neighborhood. In some parts of Franklin if folks have their lights on too long the police get a call. So can you imagine how come neighbors reacted when they read that article in the paper?
Today Franklin Mayor Steve Olson sent an e-mail to Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley:
I’m following up on our phone call from yesterday.
As we discussed, my aldermen and I are getting contacted by constituents who are concerned about the new Alternative Care Facility about to go on-line at the House of Correction. As community leaders we haven’t done a good job communicating with our constituents about the purpose and operations and that’s raising most of the concerns. I think using both the Covid briefing and perhaps a mailing for the nearby neighborhoods as well as social media (county to provide the city the graphics) we could calm the fears. Here are the issues that I believe need to be answered:
– When will the facility begin to be available to be used?
– Number of beds?
– Types of patients (types and severity of cases)?
– Where would the patients come from?
– What levels of crimes would they be convicted of?
– How would they be transported, both to and from the facility given that the city and county had specially prepared COVID ambulances and paramedic teams?
– How long will they be treated at the facility?
– How long will the facility be in existence?
– Who will medically staff the facility?
– How will the facility be secured?
– Who’s paying for the build-out?
– Who’s paying for the operations?
– What responsibility does Franklin have for escapes?
– What risk is there for Franklin residents?
It seems like a lot of questions but NO ONE from Franklin has had the opportunity (other than my brief conversations) has had opportunities to get answers to their questions.
We’re going into the holiday weekend. Answers to these questions should have been answered and available when the word of the facility first got out. Let’s do what can be done to get this information to our constituents as quickly as possible.