Barrett cited a need for criminal justice reform in his argument for the additional funding, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Barrett said many former inmates feel bitter about the jail’s condition.
The goals of the Jail Consolidation Project are to add additional inmate space and to focus on mental and medical health. Additionally, the project plans to have a multipurpose space for inmates’ spiritual needs.
The Jail Consolidation Project also aims to focus on rehabilitation by improving inmates’ living conditions through the use of more colors and natural light.
District 8 Ald. Juliana Bennett said she does not support the increase in funding for the Jail Consolidation Project.
“I understand that while the sheriff is coming from a good place, I also believe that what’s difficult is that this project has been incrementally increasing since its original projection, which is causing a lot of problems for taxpayers and those within the jail,” Bennett said.
Bennett said she does believe in the focus on rehabilitation, though she believes the project is still lacking on this front.
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Director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project Christopher Lau says the criminal justice system is deeply flawed and that the prison system needs to be reformed on a massive scale.
But one small step toward improving the justice system is spending more money on rehabilitation, rather than focusing on putting people in prison, according to Lau.
“Policing and prisons are vestiges of slavery and slave control,” Lau said. “Short of tearing everything down and starting anew, there are some smaller steps we can take.”
The County Board is set to discuss the extra $24 million for the Jail Consolidation Project again Thursday.