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Groups Fight Plan To Build New Prison In Wisconsin

ACLU, NAACP And Others Say State Should Be Closing Prisons, Not Building New Ones

Aimee (CC-BY)

Groups that want to reduce the number of people behind bars are fighting a plan that would build a new prison in Wisconsin.

Assembly Republicans passed a plan last month that would increase state borrowing by $350 million to build a new prison. The plan did not specify when and where the prison would be built.

The borrowing was attached to a bill that would recommend revoking parole or probation for someone who is charged with a crime while on state supervision.

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The ACLU of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP and other groups visited the capitol Tuesday to urge state senators to reject the plan, arguing the state should be trying to close prisons, not open them.

“We’re taking a giant step backwards,” said ACLU of Wisconsin attorney Emilio De Torre. “We’re looking at creating new prisons that are going to separate folks from their communities that are going to plunge us deeper into debt.”

Backers of the plan argue a new prison is inevitable because of overcrowding at Wisconsin’s existing prisons.

Assembly Republicans also amended the plan to add about 53 new district attorney positions throughout Wisconsin.

State senators are tentatively scheduled to hold their final session day of the year on March 20.