Last month Gov. Scott Walker said at a press conference that he has not visited a prison during his time in office and he sees “no value” in doing so, despite the fact that he oversees the system with an annual budget of more than $1 billion. Here are some more disturbing numbers associated with the state’s prison system.
Wisconsin’s national ranking for black and white disparity in the prisons. The national average is that blacks are imprisoned 5.1 times more than whites, while in Wisconsin it is 11.5 times more.
The percentage of the prison population that is Native American.
The percentage of the prison population doing time for public order offenses.
The percentage of the prison population doing time for drug offenses.
The percentage of the prison population doing time for property offenses.
The number of prisons in Wisconsin. Fifteen of them have opened since 1990.
The average age of the Wisconsin prison population. The average age has been steadily climbing since 2000 when it was 33.
The percentage increase of imprisoned white women since 2000.
The percentage of the prison population that is black.
The percentage increase of imprisoned Native American women since 2000
The percentage of the prison population that is white.
The percentage of increase in the number of inmates doing life sentences since 2000. There are close to 1,200 lifers in Wisconsin prisons, with an average age of 47.
The percentage increase in prison population from 1950 to 2010.
The year Wisconsin passed the “truth in sentencing” law, which eliminated parole and is projected to cost Wisconsin taxpayers $1.8 billion through 2025, if current trends continue. Then-Assemblyman and now-Gov. Scott Walker, who once chaired the Assembly Corrections Committee, was the lead author of that bill. Before this law was passed prisoners in Wisconsin were eligible for parole after serving a quarter of their sentences. At the time, then-Assemblywoman Tammy Baldwin said, “It is inconceivable that we would pass an enormous bill like this without knowing what it will cost.”
The approximate Wisconsin prison population in 1950.
The approximate Wisconsin prison population in August 2018. The design capacity for the state’s 37 prisons is 17,745.
Annual state spending per inmate. That compares to $10,312 spent per pupil during the school year.
Annual state funding for the Department of Corrections, slightly more than the $1 billion in state funding provided to the University of Wisconsin System.
Source: Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, University of Wisconsin Law School’s Frank J. Remington Center