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Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in WI Justice System - Final Report, Doyle, 2008

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Commission on Reducing
Racial Disparities in the
Wisconsin Justice System
Jim Doyle
Governor
Spencer Coggs ◊ Noble Wray
Co-Chairs

Final Report
February 2008

Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities
in the Wisconsin Justice System
Co-Chairs
Spencer Coggs, State Senator
Noble Wray, Madison Police Chief

Members
Garey Bies, State Representative
Brian Blanchard, Dane County District Attorney
John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney
Debra Davidoski, Milwaukee Police Captain
Stan Davis, Esq., Axley Brynelson, LLP
Deidre Garton, Governor's Juvenile Justice Commission Chairperson
Lutecia Gonzalez, Esq., Milwaukee attorney
Tamara Grigsby, State Representative
Bishop Darrell Hines, Christian Faith Fellowship Church
Fred Jones, Business Owner
Jennifer Bias-Luter, Esq., Wisconsin State Public Defender's Officer
Derrick Martin, Business Owner
Judge James Martin, Dane County Circuit Court
Pastor C.H. McClelland, Holy Cathedral Church of God in Christ
Pam Oliver, PhD, UW-Madison College of Letters & Science
Terrance Ray, City of Milwaukee Housing Partnership Liaison and Milwaukee Mayor’s Fatherhood
Initiative Coordinator
Antonio Riley, Executive Director, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
Judge Fred Rosa, Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Charles Tubbs, Administrator, Division of Juvenile Corrections
Judge Maxine White, Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Andre Wright, Esq., Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, SC

Staff
Lindsey Draper, Staff Director

Ryan Sugden, Public Affairs

Taqwanya Smith, Associate Staff Director

Jim Yocum, Research Analyst

Joyce Gilmer, Associate Staff Director

www.EqualJustice.wi.gov

Table of Contents

Prologue
1
Recommendations
5
Public Hearings
23
Commission Meeting Summary
27
Commission Presenters
30
Appendix
31
Bibliography
88

Prologue
I

It is important to recognize, however, that while
the criminal justice system is not directly responsible for these “gaps,” there is a very powerful feedback within families, neighborhoods,
and communities at large: Disparity in imprisonment contributes to disparity in education, employment, income, health care, and other areas.
Therefore, it is imperative to address disparity in
imprisonment in any and all ways that are feasible and just. It is not an exaggeration to call racial disparity across these different areas, including incarceration rates, a genuine crisis for
the country and the state of Wisconsin. It is not
merely a problem of appearance; it is a calamity
that builds on itself. The criminal justice system
has to own its part of the problem, even though
it cannot solve all aspects of the problem.

n an Executive Order signed March 21, 2007,
Governor Doyle noted that people of color receive disparate treatment in the criminal justice
system throughout the nation and that AfricanAmericans and Hispanics constitute a disproportionate percentage of incarcerated populations in Wisconsin. In response to those factors
as well as information gleaned from the deliberations of the Wisconsin Sentencing Commission; the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission; and the Legislature’s Black and Hispanic
Caucus, the Commission on Reducing Racial
Disparities in the Wisconsin Justice System was
created and directed to
“determine whether discrimination is built into the
criminal justice system at each stage of the criminal justice system continuum of arrest through
parole” and

The evidence is that in some areas, particularly
enforcement of the drug laws, some disparity
results from policies and practices that have disparate impacts on people of color – most heavily on African-Americans – and these policies
and practices should be carefully reviewed and
could be improved by police, prosecutors and
defense attorneys, judges, corrections officials,
social workers, and others who work in and influence the operation of the juvenile justice and
criminal justice systems.

“recommend strategies and solutions to reduce
the racial disparity in the Wisconsin criminal justice system.”
Whether discrimination is built into the criminal
and juvenile justice continuum is a question the
Commission needed to address at the beginning of its deliberations. The question is one
that is profoundly complicated. The Commission heard numerous citizens report events
they believed reflected obvious discrimination.
The Commission also heard from practitioners
within the justice system who reported they
were called upon to enforce and administer the
law, responding to the facts and circumstances
that appeared before them, and that they were
not engaged in discrimination.

There is a significant legal distinction between a
disparity (a statistical pattern) and discrimination (a possibly illegal act). The Sentencing
Commission study suggests, for example, that
African-Americans are more likely than whites
to be sentenced to prison for the same drug
offense, particularly in the less serious cases.
Some Commission members believe, however,
that this study may not have adequately controlled for the role of criminal history as a sentencing factor and that this study should be
taken further to address that issue. In addition,
this Commission analyzed and found a high disparity in revocation of probation and postprison parole that also requires further study.

The Commission is aware that disparity is not
discrimination. Some disparity is due to differences in the rates of crimes committed, and also
to social and economic factors not arising directly from the operation of the criminal or juvenile justice system, such as gaps in the levels of
education, employability, income, available
health care, and many other areas.

1

Prologue
civil resolution of a referral for the same conduct
for which an inner city resident would be arrested
and referred to criminal court.

Statistical analysis can also be used to determine
whether non-racial factors “explain” these differences or to provide more specific information
about where and for what offenses or groups
these patterns arise. But statistics will never prove
whether racial patterns arise from intentional discrimination on the basis of race.

In contrast to the positions stated by these witnesses, the Commission was confronted with
questions as to whether the apparent statistical
disparities resulted from reasons that are not related to racial or ethnic discrimination. On more
than one occasion, the Commission heard from
witnesses whose basic premises were that “if minorities do not want to be in prison, they shouldn’t do crimes.”

The Commission finds that the racial disparities
within the criminal justice system are a serious
problem that should be addressed regardless of
whether they arise by chance or from intentional
discrimination. The number of citizens who spoke
at public hearings or wrote to the Commission
offering personal examples of discrimination have
raised significant concerns that discrimination
exists.

Some approaches to reducing racial disparities in
the criminal justice system involve strategies for
crime reduction. Members of the Commission
have first-hand professional experience with the
related problems of crime, low education, disrupted families, and lack of opportunity in poor
communities. At public hearings and Commission
meetings, the Commission heard numerous
speakers address these issues.

The Commission has taken, as a starting point,
that racial disparities and high minority involvement in the criminal justice system are serious
patterns and that we should focus on understanding how these problems arise and what can be
done about them.

There was no denial in the African-American and
Latino communities that crime exacerbates community problems and there is the desire to address these issues. However, at the same time,
serious concerns were expressed that enforcement strategies that target particular neighborhoods or that target open air drug trafficking are
not productive in that many whose primary need
is treatment end up confined in jail or prison and,
unless having received treatment, are more likely
to commit new crimes upon release.

The United States Census Bureau statistics reviewed by the Commission revealed that Wisconsin has a population that is 86% Caucasian. By
comparison, the statistics of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) reveal that 43% of
the inmates in DOC adult facilities are Caucasian.
African-Americans comprise 6% of the overall
population of Wisconsin, but also represent 45%
of the population in the adult DOC facilities. Hispanics represent 4% of the state’s overall population, but 8% of the correctional population.

Many speakers unfavorably contrasted the relatively blunt tools of the criminal justice system –
prison, jail, probation supervision – with the
needs of many defendants to help them to avoid
crime, such as better educational programs, job
opportunities, treatment programs, and social
networks outside of the criminal justice system.
The Commission recognizes that the “leverage” of
the criminal justice system can be a good tool to
give some criminal defendants incentive to seek
treatment over incarceration, as for example using the Drug Court Treatment model.

Despite these disparities, the question of the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system remained. In the public hearing and meeting
process, the Commission heard from witnesses
who reported identical conduct resulting in different results, depending on the race of the actor. In
this regard, specific references were made to diversions of some defendants from any criminal
court contact through the issuance of citations.
Concerns were raised that suburban residents
were more frequently provided the option of a

2

Prologue
In response to these concerns, the Commission
sought to identify successful approaches to
crime reduction that carry less risk of overincarceration of any segment of the population,
particularly minorities, that are overrepresented
in jails and prisons.

♦

the impact of adequate defense preparation, including presentation of sentencing
alternatives at time of sentencing

♦

the availability of community-based treatment resources.

Perceived disparities in the availability of specialty treatment courts to minority-group members was another area examined in the effort to
address the question of discrimination. Numerous comments were made regarding Drug
Treatment Courts and the opportunities they
provide defendants in non-violent offenses to
avoid repercussions that attach to convictions
being made available to Caucasians more frequently than to minority-group members despite the numbers of defendants eligible for the
referrals. The lack of a Drug Treatment Court in
Milwaukee County was an oft-cited concern.

The Commission has held informational meetings; conducted public hearings in municipalities throughout the state; reviewed letters and
other submissions from parties ranging from
private citizens and politicians to law enforcement officers and prisoners; and studied the
reports of similar commissions impaneled in
other states. The Commission has further studied sentencing practices and utilization of alternative dispositions.
During these deliberations, the Commission has
compared the incarceration rates and patterns
of Wisconsin with states such as Minnesota, noting the differences in rates of incarceration and
amounts spent on correctional budgets and
community treatment options. The Commission
has examined statistics that reflect the lengths
of sentences given by courts throughout the
state, analyzing them as to the original sentences ordered by race. Revocation rates were
also examined as was the racial makeup of the
staff at the facilities.

Any examination of the issue of racial disparity
and possible discrimination found within the
criminal justice system must include consideration of drug arrests, prosecutions and sentences. It is in this area that the decisions made
by all parties exercising discretion throughout
the criminal justice system have had their greatest impact on the disparity rates in Wisconsin. It
is in the area of drug arrests and sentences that
the increase in the number of AfricanAmericans in correctional facilities has shown
the greatest increase.

Just as it was important that questions of discrimination and disparity be addressed, it was
also important that a part of the Commission’s
deliberations and recommendations include
considerations of community safety. The Commission recognized that overall respect for and
faith in the fairness of the justice system requires that it not only treat all of its citizens
fairly, but also that it provides protection for
these citizens. One on-going form of discrimination in United States history has been the under-protection of minorities in the criminal justice system. The Commission notes that progress in avoiding over-incarceration of minorities should not be made at the expense of victims of crimes. Protection must also remain for
those victims who live in challenged neighborhoods.

In its examination of the impact of drugs on racial disparity in the criminal justice system, the
Commission considered factors as divergent as:
♦

where law enforcement chooses to investigate and enforce adherence to drug laws,
including the emphasis on “open air” markets and low-level drug dealers

♦

length of exposure to criminal penalties assigned to specific offenses by the legislature

♦

the loss of the driver’s license and other repercussions, tied to conviction for drug offenses

3

Prologue
The Commission also noted the impact of parental absence on the development of children
of color, and the importance of fathers maintaining consistent, positive involvement in the
lives of their children.

Meanwhile, the families left behind have fewer
adults available to work or to assist in child care
and supervision, resulting in higher rates of
stress, family disruption, and residential mobility.

Education and treatment for jail and prison inmates should be made a significantly higher
priority, from the beginning through successful
reentry into the general population. The goals
of confinement and supervision need to more
clearly include rehabilitation and not merely
punishment. Availability of needed programming both within the institution and upon release into the community are critical points of
concern for both public safety and successful
individual inmate rehabilitation.

This report examines the progress of the Commission, tracing the meetings held and the nature of the presentations made at the Commission meetings. The report further highlights the
public hearings held throughout the state and
many of the recommendations made at the
hearings.
The report concludes with recommendations to
the Governor. The recommendations cover
each of the points of contact at which racial disparity has been identified. There are recommendations for policymakers and other parties
whose decisions and exercise of discretion impact racial disparity, and there are recommendations for monitoring the efforts to rectify the
disparity found throughout the criminal justice
system.

The Commission examined the impact of the
introduction of young people into the criminal
justice system on the later stages of their lives.
This includes both the children in our juvenile
justice system (now those under 17) and also
young adults (late teens), whose ability to control their emotions and impulses is less formed
than for older citizens. Once young people get a
criminal record, even for minor offenses, they
are subject to greater scrutiny and attention
from the criminal justice system, and opportunities for educational progress and gainful employment lessen.

[

High rates of incarceration remove young working-age people from the community during the
college or career-beginning age and return
them several years later with reduced prospects
for education and employment. Further, the
young people often return with greater ties to
criminal networks. Since minority youth are disproportionately affected by the adult criminal
system, the needed change in the age of adulthood in the criminal justice system from 17 to
18 would probably reduce disparity, so long as
rules and practices involving waiver into adult
court do not disproportionately disadvantage
young people of color.

4

Recommendations
I

n making recommendations to address racial
disparity in the criminal justice system, the
Commission recognizes that there are serious
offenses and behaviors that, for reasons of public safety, require that some offenders be removed from the community. The Commission
also recognizes that most of the people who are
incarcerated will one day be returned to the
community. Addressing the issues that led to
their incarceration and resulted from that incarceration is an essential step in ensuring the
well-being of the entire community.
In its 2007 report America’s Cradle to Prison
Pipeline, the Children’s Defense Fund identified
a number of the institutions that determine the
opportunities children have to lead successful
lives and noted that:
Racial disparity runs through every major system
impacting children’s life chances: limited access to
health care; lack of Head Start and quality preschool experiences; children waiting in foster care
for permanent families; and failing schools with
harsh discipline policies that suspend, expel and
discourage children who drop out and don’t
graduate and push more children into juvenile
detention and adult prisons.
The Commission has recognized that many of
the issues that were addressed in the Pipeline
report exist in Wisconsin and, as a result of their
impact on youth, contribute to racial disparity in
the criminal justice system. The Commission has
formulated recommendations focused on youth
that generally fall into the categories of data
collection and analysis; mental health; education issues and system issues.
These recommendations, if implemented, will
have broad effect; can be acted upon quickly;
and will serve the dual purpose of reducing disparity in Wisconsin’s justice system and enhancing public safety. Focusing attention on children and families using evidence based services
can have a deep impact on the racial disparity

as evidenced by two programs in Rock and Milwaukee Counties that were developed with funding provided by the Governor’s Juvenile Justice
Commission1.
In addition, the Commission recognizes that focusing attention on children and families is an investment that should bear fruit for a long period of
time. Research shows that prevention and early
intervention programs for youth and their families
are the most cost effective means in the long run
to impact troubled children and their families.
Discussions on racial disparity are best focused at
the local level. Currently, there is a lack of data
and/or lack of tracking data by race at all stages of
the justice system, from initial law enforcement
contact through probation, incarceration, and parole. Local jurisdictions need to have data so they
have an understanding of what is happening in
their communities and can begin the discussion
locally.

Recommendations
♦

Throughout the state, we must increase
and improve the validity and reliability
of data, e.g. collecting and making data
available.

♦

Local jurisdictions must develop a tracking system to identify race and age at all
stages of contact with the justice system.

♦

Information technology resources must
be developed to pull together data from
different databases to the extent possible. Consistent and reliable data must be
developed across the systems and across
jurisdictions.

♦

The barriers that prevent juvenile justice
system and child welfare system workers
from sharing information about youth in
either system should be broken down.

1Rock

County made a data-driven study of the points of contact of minority youth with the juvenile justice system and identified the
placement in secure custody as the appropriate point to develop an Alternatives to Detention program. This program has been added to
the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs site.

5

Recommendations
Recommendations

Many youth have mental health issues that
directly lead to contact with the juvenile justice system. Too often children do not receive
adequate screening for mental health needs
nor do they receive mental health services
until they reach the juvenile justice system.
Using the juvenile justice system as the means
to sort out which youth and families will receive services can have a long term deleterious effect on children as they accumulate delinquency labels that will follow them into
adulthood. In addition, too often the type of
service available to children and families is
neither evidence-based nor cost effective.

♦

Education on cultural competency
(not just cultural diversity) and support should be offered to law enforcement, school resource officers,
human services personnel, mental
health services providers, educators
and the judiciary. This could include
developing a mentoring program in
which more experienced staff in this
area mentor new personnel.

♦

School districts should be encouraged to examine their local data on
the effects of “zero tolerance” and
other discipline policies on youth of
color. Schools should be encouraged to use school resource officers
for prevention as well as intervention with students. Parents should
be included in this examination so
they will have a voice in this process
and thereby better effectuate
change.

Recommendations
♦

Significantly more evidence-based
resources should be devoted to addressing mental health issues of all
youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Some local jurisdictions
and service providers have implemented Best Practice models that
have proved effective in addressing
mental health issues.

♦

The State must increase its commitment to Wraparound and other coordinated service team models so
that the mental health needs of all
youth - and not just those in the juvenile justice system - can be addressed within the community.

Progress in identifying solutions to problems
relating to racial disparity is difficult and requires a consistent effort by many to resolve
the conditions which create the disparity. A
uniform method must exist whereby the results of these efforts can be evaluated and
adherence to them enforced.

Recommendations

Truancy, “zero tolerance” policies, and school
discipline responses often lead to a juvenile
having unnecessary contact with the juvenile
justice system and have been shown to disproportionately affect children of color. Providing support to school districts to develop
alternate means of ensuring safety within the
schools, engaging all youth in becoming part
of a learning community, and developing
creative alternatives to promote positive and
responsible behavior will reduce the disproportionate impact of restrictive discipline
codes and policies.

♦

A statewide process or entity should
be created to monitor and track progress in resolving issues relating to
racial disparity.

♦

Training and resources should be
provided to local organizations on
racial disparity issues.

Efforts that are designed to facilitate the return of inmates to their communities should
include the recognition that juveniles released from state facilities are in need of many
of the same re-entry aids as adults.

6

Recommendations
Recommendations
♦

Public and private sector leaders
should collaborate in community
efforts that emphasize education,
employment, and community mentoring.

♦

Programs such as the Milwaukee
Boys and Girls Club collaboration
with the Ethan Allen School should
be supported and expanded.

The Commission further noted that Governor
Tommy Thompson, in November, 1999, created the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Profiling and charged that task force with the responsibility of studying and making recommendations on the use of profiling when making traffic stops throughout the state. The
Commission noted that many of the recommendations made by that task force addressed needs for data and data analysis that
are similar to those this Commission has identified.
Recognizing that law enforcement agencies
have to be concerned with the fiscal impact of
and personnel commitment required in data
collection, the Commission has sought to utilize existing data sources and tools to document whether disparities exist and whether
efforts to address inappropriate disparities are
successful.

The deliberations of the Commission included
review of each of the contact points a citizen
would have with officials in the criminal justice system. Through the review of reports of
previous commissions that have examined
aspects of the justice system, the public hearings and Commission meetings, the submissions by citizens and each of the meetings the
Commission conducted, the Commission has
identified areas of the criminal justice system
in which system changes or individual actions
can help to reduce the racial disparity the
Commission found to exist in the criminal justice system.

Recommendations

The initial point of contact identified involves
law enforcement officers and the efforts of
law enforcement agencies to ensure public
safety and adherence to the law. It is the law
enforcement officer who, in investigating the
facts that have attracted law enforcement attention, initially determines if an actionable
violation has occurred and whose exercise of
discretion begins the track of the defendant
either outside or through the criminal justice
system.

♦

An Executive Order should be issued
accepting and enforcing the findings and recommendations of the
Racial Profiling Task Force Report of
2000.

♦

Appropriate state agencies should
be directed to conduct a county-bycounty baseline study of racial disparity using existing traffic citation
and arrest data to determine disparity levels in the state.

The Commission specifically notes the availability of information that would allow the
Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles to conduct a study of traffic citation data by race and to compare that data to
recent demographic information to determine if disparity exists in arrests.

The Commission recommendations relating
to law enforcement include recommendations regarding prevention strategies that
would reduce the number of the entire community, including minority-group members,
entering the criminal justice system. The recommendations particularly note drug offenses and the impact drug laws and enforcement practices have had on racial disparity.

Wisconsin’s counties vary greatly in their ethnic/racial composition and their disparity patterns. Decisions about where to focus disparity-reduction efforts need to be based on data

7

Recommendations
frequently as the drug of choice of Caucasians
were not based on any substantive difference.
There were concerns also expressed that users of methamphetamine - who are typically
Caucasian - were treated as needing treatment where users of crack cocaine were
treated as needing imprisonment.

identifying where disparities exist and involving significant numbers of people. Readilyavailable citation, arrest, and corrections data
can be used to calculate gross statistics to
show in which counties and for which groups
there is evidence of significant patterns of racial disparity. The data can provide a basis for
flagging situations that require further investigation and for evidence-based decisions
about allocating resources for disparityreduction efforts.

Bases for these reports included the Federal
Bureau of Investigation and Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration
Summary of Findings from the 1998 National
Household Survey on Drug Abuse (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
1999.

The Commission examined the impact of drug
offense arrests and prosecutions on racial disparity rates throughout the state. It heard anecdotal references to a tradition of suburban
or rural residents receiving citations for marijuana possession under circumstances that
would have resulted in minority residents of
an urban setting being arrested and entering
the criminal justice system.

The Commission concluded that reducing demand for illegal drugs and providing access to
treatment is a more effective strategy than
using “zero tolerance” policies that often
serve to remove low-level drug offenders
from the community without providing the
needed treatment. Such actions were seen to
exacerbate addiction problems without necessarily addressing the underlying treatment
need. The “offender” is often returned to the
community with the same addiction, and the
difficulties associated with a criminal record.

The Commission reviewed national studies
(including the 2003 National Survey on Drug
Use and Health, Department of Health and
Human Services) that indicate young Caucasians self-report use of illegal drugs more frequently than their African-American counterparts, yet African-Americans are imprisoned
multiple times more than Caucasians for nonviolent drug offenses.

In addition, the incarceration itself may have
exacerbated problems surrounding the family
structure, educational pursuits, and employment efforts.

The Commission noted that drug convictions
have impact on more than just the liberty of
the defendant. It heard testimony from citizens who argued that there were differences
in the response to chemical abuse problems.
Cited were instances in which some violators
are referred to treatment facilities and have
their legal difficulties resolved in light of the
intervening substance abuse treatment while
others are immediately referred to criminal
court processes.

The Commission believes state and local leaders should engage in an intensive multisystem effort to reduce substance abuse and
the demand for illegal drugs using evidencebased services. The concerns expressed by
judges and others throughout the justice system reflect the lack of sufficient treatment alternatives for those convicted of substance
abuse-related offenses highlight the need to
identify and develop treatment resources.

Concerns were also raised regarding perceptions that sentencing differences for crack cocaine, a drug perceived as being more frequently used by African-Americans, and for
powder cocaine, which is self-reported more

Whether it is the state’s high rank in the nation in binge-drinking and alcohol consumption, often reflected in multiple drunk-driving
arrests and the danger to the community

8

Recommendations
In making its recommendations for law enforcement leaders to follow in identifying, hiring, and keeping the best candidates for longterm law enforcement careers, the International Association of Chiefs of Police noted that
desirable officers were those who “possess not
only the aptitudes and attributes to engage in
traditional, action-oriented policing, but also
those who will perform in increasingly multifaceted policing environments. Law enforcement leaders must establish and then sustain a
cadre of officers who are dedicated to ethical
service-oriented policing that is respectful of
the civil rights of all community members
while maintaining safety and public order.”4

those acts involve, or the state’s national rank
in the top half for cocaine use for all ages, the
failure of Wisconsin’s continued reliance on
law enforcement and corrections instead of
investing in treatment alternatives has had
significant negative effect.2
In a number of instances, the Commission’s
attention was called to a comparison of incarceration practices in Wisconsin with those in
Minnesota. Minnesota was seen as emphasizing community supervision and treatment
programs more frequently than Wisconsin,
particularly for non-violent, drug and alcoholaddicted offenders. The comparison of rates
of incarceration in the two state indicate Wisconsin is approaching three times the number
of its citizens in prisons and jails per 100,000
residents compared to Minnesota.3

A concern of the Commission was the notion
that law enforcement officers are often
thought to provide “help” for mentally ill subjects or those with substance abuse problems
by making an arrest and starting them in “the
system.” It is extremely important that the effect of using arrests and the criminal or juvenile justice systems to obtain “help” be explored.

Recommendations
♦

Increased state and federal funds
should be committed to substance
abuse treatment and effective evidence-based programming to reduce drug use.

♦

Active efforts should be made to
change prohibitions against financial aid for education and housing
for convicted drug offenders.

♦

Using the example of High Point, NC
and examining statistics and examples showing the impact of community sweeps, local law enforcement
should engage in comprehensive
responses to open air drug markets
as opposed to zero-tolerance policies.

The Commission developed recommendations
to assist law enforcement leadership in equipping its officers with the skills and training that
will help the officers working with changing
populations throughout Wisconsin. The state is
experiencing demographic changes throughout, and cultural as well as ethnic varieties are
being introduced into Wisconsin communities.

Recommendations
♦

State leadership should collaborate
with appropriate justice system and
administrative officials to develop
training and standards consistent
with the recommendations of the Racial Profiling Task Force.

2Treatment Instead of Prisons: A Roadmap for Sentencing and Correctional Policy Reform in Wisconsin, Drug

Policy Alliance, January 2006.
of Justice Statistics-Midyear 2005. Cited in Uneven Justice: State Rates of Incarceration By Race and Ethnicity, Marc Mauer and
Ryan S. King, The Sentencing Project, July 2007.
4 Protecting Civil Rights: A leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement, International Association of Chiefs of Police, September 2006.
3Bureau

9

Recommendations
♦

♦

The appropriate state agency should
collect, promote and disseminate
best law enforcement practices on
traffic stop, treatment of mental
health cases and use of force procedures to reduce the perception of
unfairness and partiality of law enforcement towards minorities.
A state-organized major conference
shall be convened for law enforcement executives to highlight and
discuss the issue of racial disparity in
Wisconsin that includes elevation of
risks associated with introduction
into the criminal justice system.

Local law enforcement agencies
should engage in community justice
councils to develop communitybased solutions to low-level offenses.

♦

Federal and state funds should be
committed for reentry planning and
programming focusing on housing,
employment and education, specifically for young African-American
men returning to the community
from prisons.

“The trial judge is the one actor in the system
most experienced with exercising discretion in a
transparent, open and reasoned way. When it
costs so much more to incarcerate than to educate a child, we should take special care to ensure that we are not incarcerating too many persons for too long.”

The success of efforts to address racial disparity and ensure community safety will be directly affected by the allocation of sufficient
resources to support the agencies called upon
to collect and analyze data; provide treatment
alternatives; and provide appropriate law enforcement efforts. These efforts must be
mindful of the role of community members as
the greatest and most powerful resource that
local law enforcement has to reduce crime.

U. S. Supreme Court Justice
Anthony Kennedy
American Bar Association
San Francisco, CA 8/9/03
In arriving at appropriate sentencing decisions, the court benefits from a balanced approach in which the court is provided not only
the traditionally supplied information about
the crime, the impact on any victims, and the
background of the defendant, but also receives additional information that would allow it to fashion the most appropriate sentence. Currently, courts are left at the time of
sentencing not knowing when treatment
might be available, or what support for reentry from prison might look like two or three
years later.

Involvement of community members and
agencies in justice councils will assist in the
identification of “hot spots” in the community
as well as create avenues of communication
between neighborhood representatives and
law enforcement.

Recommendations
♦

♦

County baseline study data should
be used to determine the allocation
of federal Justice funds over which
the Governor has control towards
community efforts addressing racial
disparity within their criminal and
juvenile justice systems. Programs
should include, but not be limited
to: youth diversion, drug court programs, community accountability
boards, gang prevention efforts and
community justice councils.

Courts consider numerous factors in deciding
an appropriate sentence. Judges must rely on
the information provided to them about the
charges and the defendant. Public Defenders
need resources to appropriately prepare cases
and present necessary information, including
sentencing alternatives, to the decisionmaker.

10

Recommendations
The Commission was informed that standards
for eligibility for Public Defender services have
remained the same for twenty years. In addition, the rate of compensation for attorneys
accepting appointment for Public Defender
cases has remained low. As a result, resources
available to private attorneys to accept the
appointments to represent indigent defendants discourage most except the newest,
least experienced attorneys from accepting
appointments.

ternative programs. Judges are in a position
to work with other criminal justice officials in
designing and implementing useful and effective alternatives to incarceration, such as
those implicated in the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Program (TAD), deferred
prosecution agreements and drug treatment
courts.
Having alternative program information available online would allow judges and others in
the criminal justice system to quickly identify
programs that are suitable, available and
proven to work. Posted information would
include program format, availability, procedures, participants, and overall effectiveness.

Recommendations
♦

♦

♦

♦

Judges should recommend and encourage the use of new adjudicative
methods, including communitybased sentencing alternatives.

Internal to the judiciary, judges should work
with appropriate staff and/or community resources to find creative ways to unify adjudications of cases to better serve court users.
Judges are in a unique position and should
provide leadership in unification initiatives
across division lines making courts more accessible and less duplicative in improving the
processing of a single family’s case.

Pre-sentence reports provided for
sentencing should inform the judge
and the parties about the full range
of sentencing alternatives available
at the time of the sentencing, identifying both community-based and
institutional resources, and providing a realistic plan for offender rehabilitation that addresses the actual
availability of services in both the
institutional and community settings.

Recommendation
♦

An online statewide database
should be developed to collect and
disseminate information on alternative justice programs.

Judges should take a leadership role
in the development of a community
criminal justice council for each of
the ten judicial districts.

Judges should provide leadership. The mission of the Council should be to efficiently
and collaboratively coordinate services and to
effectively allocate financial resources to ensure crime reduction, victim support, offender
accountability and restorative communitybased programs. Through strategic planning
and research, the Council should identify,
evaluate and develop strategies to improve
the justice system to enhance public safety
and the quality of life.

Eligibility standards for qualification
for Public Defender services should
be revised. Resources available to
the defense for investigation and
social work should reflect the need
to make adequate sentencing information available to the court.

The Commission believes there should be a
comprehensive assessment of Wisconsin justice system programming to determine best
practices and build state level support for al-

The Council should consist of an Executive
Committee composed of various stakeholders, including, as it relates to the jurisdic-

11

Recommendations
Recommendation

tion, the Mayor(s), County Executive(s), Sheriff(s),
Chief Judge, Chair of the County Board, District
Attorney(s), Police Chief(s), area head of the Public Defender’s Office, the Department of Corrections, and a representative of community service
providers.

♦

The Council should be comprised of voting
members from a variety of city, county, state justice agencies along with business, advocacy and
other community groups. The Council should
have standing subcommittees in community justice areas such as mental health, incarceration
alternative programs, juvenile justice, public
education and information gathering.

Judges should report the appearance
of any pattern and practice of disparate treatment by any actor involved
in policing, charging decisions, sentencing recommendations, or any
court proceeding, to the appropriate
chief executive officer and/or agency
head.

Judges should send a clear message that our
justice system will not tolerate discrimination in
any form. Inappropriate conduct from staff, litigants, counsels or others including but not limited to off-color jokes, comments or other discriminatory behavior should be swiftly and
forcefully rebuked and may be subject to appropriate sanctions.

The Council will collect and review local racial
disparity data within each county where applicable and develop targeted and collaborative efforts with other criminal justice system and community stakeholders to reduce racial disparity in
their communities. In addition, they will develop
programs to address the disparity and monitor
progress over time. In order to qualify for full
funding of this grant program, the District Attorney must be an active participant.

Throughout its deliberations, the Commission
has heard testimony and has noted the need for
data and information on which to base recommendations for changes that will reduce disparity in the justice system. Whether it is as a result
of the exercise of discretion by law enforcement
officers, prosecutors, or judges, the need for
accurate information on which to base systemic
policies and changes has been a source of frequent testimony.

The Office of Justice Assistance should develop a
grant program or provide seed money using Justice Assistance Grant money to implement the
Community Justice Councils modeled after the
Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) committees funded by the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission.

Recommendations

“Racial stereotypes sometimes operate unconsciously and can influence perceptions of dangerousness even on the part of decision-makers who
harbor no conscious prejudices…Minority offenders’ personal circumstances may make them appear to some judges as unlikely prospects for rehabilitation. Those who can pay for private drug or
mental health treatment, provide restitution in
large amounts to victims and communities, or attend educational and vocational programs often
unavailable to the poor are likely to receive milder
punishments than others who have committed exactly the same crimes.”5
5Unlocking America: Why and How to Reduce America’s Prison Population,

♦

A statewide schema should be developed and utilized to collect data
on race and ethnicity at all points in
the criminal justice system process
in the CCAP and PROTECT systems.

♦

Advanced technologies should be utilized to electronically codify contents
of court transcripts.

♦

The judiciary should take the lead in
ensuring that adequate and qualified interpreters are made available
at every stage of the justice system
process.

November 2007, The JFA Institute, Washington, DC 20002.

12

Recommendations
The need for the collection of data is particularly important regarding white and nonwhite Hispanics. Better data for Asian, Hmong,
Native-American, and other ethnic groups
with significant populations in Wisconsin
should be obtained. Though numbers for
these groups have historically remained low, a
catch-all “other” category is of little use without more specific information about these
groups.

fering from mental health and drug
treatment issues.

Transcripts contain detailed information not
collected nor documented anywhere else in
the justice system. This information, if codified
and entered into a database, could be used to
ascertain the true breadth of factors considered by judges in their decision-making process. There are existing data bases in jurisdictions such as LaCrosse, Portage and Dane
Counties.

♦

Judges should educate the other
branches of government on the fiscal
impact of unfunded mandates on the
judiciary’s capacity to meet its constitutional obligations.

The provision of education to judges on the
issues surrounding racial disparity should be
an essential part of judicial education. It
should be made a core component of judicial
training at a plenary session of the Judicial
College and incorporated into specialized
training efforts such as the courses routinely
offered to new judges and specialized sessions on criminal law and sentencing.
It is further important that the courts be fully
funded and that the executive and legislative
branches provide adequate resources to the
courts and community stakeholders for alternatives to incarceration as a critical component of efforts to reduce prison and jail populations.

Recommendations
The judiciary should continue to provide access and encourage the public
to view how the court system works,
and should educate the public and
legislature about the role of courts
and effective justice strategies, particularly as it relates to the lack of alternatives to prison for offenders suf-

6Kennedy,

The judiciary should conduct broad
research nationally and draw from
the best programs and develop a
statewide judicial education program
addressing racial disparity in the
criminal justice system and how to
combat it

Judges have the opportunity to educate the
community about the workings of the justice
system by encouraging members of the public to observe judicial proceedings. Judges
also have the ability to participate in educational programs at schools and community
forums.

Changing demographics and the increasingly
diverse population appearing in the juvenile
and criminal justice systems make the availability of qualified interpreters at all stages of
the justice system process a critical issue. The
court must be able to communicate effectively using court interpreters to explain all
options and alternatives available in a particular case. Where decisions involving diversion
from the formal court process are made prior
to court contact – such as the intake decision
in the juvenile justice system to enter into a
deferred prosecution agreement – interpreters must be available to ensure all who are
subject of the process have equal access to
dispositional or diversion options.

♦

♦

“The legislative branch has the obligation to determine whether a policy is wise. It is a grave
mistake to retain a policy just because a court
finds it constitutional…Few misconceptions
about government are more mischievous than

Speech at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting, August 9, 2003

13

Recommendations
the idea that a policy is sound simply because a
court finds it permissible. A court decision does
not excuse the political branches or the public
from the responsibility for unjust laws.”6

reduce incarceration by treating substance
abuse. The projected results would lower incarceration rates; lower recidivism rates by
treating the underlying problem without jail;
and supplement the already overburdened
Department of Corrections substance abuse
treatment programs.

Throughout the public hearing process, the
Commission heard testimony reflecting a
common theme relating to inmate reentry
and reintegration into the community. Many
witnesses testified that a critical element in
successful reentry is access to employment
that pays wages on which the inmate can
adequately provide for family members. Frequently cited as obstacles in obtaining these
jobs were the access to transportation to jobs
that were located in areas to which public
transportation was not available.

Recommendations

One program that has been successful but has
only been limited on a limited basis is a partnership between the Department of Corrections and the Department of Transportation
to ensure that eligible inmates have a valid
state-issued driver’s license when they are
paroled. Inmates who are not eligible for a
driver’s license should have a valid state identification card.
The City of Milwaukee Municipal Court,
through the work of Justice 2000’s Center for
Driver’s License Recovery and Employability
Program has completed work on a
“comprehensive collaborative effort to reduce
the numbers of unlicensed drivers in Milwaukee County” through the establishment and
operation of a community-wide driver’s license recovery and employability resource
center in Milwaukee.

♦

Consistent with the results of the
January, 2008 Legislative Audit report, legislation should be introduced to return jurisdiction of 17
year olds alleged to have violated
state or federal criminal laws to juvenile courts. Current waiver provisions
should be maintained.

♦

The State Department of Transportation and Department of Corrections
program should be expanded to
serve inmates at all Department of
Corrections facilities and aid inmate
reintegration by ensuring that inmates who request them have a valid
identification card before they are
released.

Additional funds should be made available to
allow for a pilot project that will provide treatment services instead of prison.
“Between the time a suspect is arrested and the
time he or she is arraigned, a number of important activities take place where decisions are
made that can have a dramatic effect on the
racial composition of the criminal justice population. This critical stage in the processing of a
criminal case is rendered more complicated because multiple players are involved, including:
the police, the complainant, witnesses, the
prosecutor, the suspect, the suspect’s family and
friends, the pretrial officer, the defense, diversion
and alternative sanctions programs, and the
court.”7

Treatment Instead of Prisons (TIP) was included in the 2003 State Budget as a program
that would be funded by grants to counties.
The original grant was funded at $750,000, an
amount that would allow limited opportunity
to begin pilot projects that would further
prove the efficacy of this program.
Full implementation of this program would

7Reducing Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System: A Manual for Practitioners and Policymakers, The

2000

14

Sentencing Project, October

Recommendations
should be included in the PROTECT system in
order to increase the prosecutor’s ability to
understand what their respective numbers
mean.9 The work group would also work with
law enforcement, the courts and the Criminal
Investigation Bureau to resolve data definitions of race in all systems.

In the report of the Sentencing Commission,
Race and Sentencing, the authors were able
to determine by the objective data that, by in
large, the sentencing schemes in Wisconsin
are fairly meted out, particularly for egregious
offenses. It also pinpointed, however, some
areas of concern around drug sentences and
sentences for less serious offenses. Given data
suggesting that the greatest racial disparity
exists at the lower end of the severity scale in
drug cases, one area that appears to deserve
especially careful review involves the range of
charges issued for possession of small
amounts of marijuana, since responses can
vary from a mere civil ordinance violation all
the way up to felonies, if the possession is for
a second or subsequent offense.

The work group should develop a series of
management reports from the PROTECT system that will report the racial data, along with
other information that the work group may
prescribe, to enhance the management function of individual District Attorney Offices.
The Office of Justice Assistance is strongly
urged to consider consulting with the Vera
Institute’s Initiative on Prosecution and Racial
Disparity to help with the question of data.

The first step in addressing these issues is to
collect data so that we know where we are
and whether or not there are problems in the
juvenile and criminal justice systems that can
be addressed.

District Attorneys tend to agree that, along
with the seriousness of the offense, the most
important information they use in exercising
discretion is the criminal history of an offender. Criminal history and the gravity of the
offense drive each discretionary decision the
prosecutor makes. While the Sentencing Commission’s report, Race and Sentencing, was a
useful analysis of the role of race in sentencing, the role of criminal history in the context
of sentencing was not fully addressed.

Recommendation
♦

The Office of Justice Assistance
should create a work group consisting of a representative of the Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association,
the Wisconsin State Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Justice, State
Prosecutor Education and Training
(SPET) Division, and three District Attorneys, one of whom shall be from
either Milwaukee, Dane, Rock, Racine
or Kenosha County.8

Recommendation
♦

The work group would initially determine
which data from PROTECT and other data
bases must be collected on an ongoing basis
so that data, and in particular racial data, can
be reported periodically to prosecutors regarding critical stages in the continuum such
as charging and settlement offers. The group
would work to determine which new data

The Office of Justice Assistance
should commission a study similar to
Race and Sentencing but in the context of prosecutorial discretion, giving particular attention to the role of
criminal history in that exercise.

Awareness is the driver of change. The first
step in addressing perceptions that racial disparities reflect discrimination is understanding the disparities. The second step is determining which of those disparities are not con-

The work group could be something akin to the role the CCAP Oversight Committee plays for the courts.
The Commission recognizes that some of the data may not currently be electronically accessible. The work group could, however,
address the data needs so that when the time comes that DA’s are fully automated, the gathering of racial data for other decision
points such as plea offers and sentencing requests can be tracked.

8
9

15

Recommendations
cretely tied to relevant factors for the prosecution of crimes and addressing community
safety.

Rock County used a number of different
strategies, including creative prevention work
and detention reform (that included risk assessments and electronic monitoring) to develop a program that recently led to Rock
County being recognized by the MacArthur
Foundation as one of its Models for Change
sites. The MacArthur Foundation awarded
Rock County a grant of $300,000 over three
years to continue the work it is doing.

District Attorneys need to be aware of the
numbers as regards racial disparity in the
state and in each county. They also need to be
aware that while they may be exercising discretion in a race neutral manner, they can take
the opportunity to examine those decisions
particularly in light of the cultural differences
represented by people of color in Wisconsin
and the longstanding dangers of unconscious
bias.

The District Attorneys around the state do not
have the resources to address the management issues that may become clear upon data
collection. Having a resource to which they
could turn for help in implementing new
strategies to deal with racial disparity along
with other management issues would help
offices to increase efficiencies and use best
practices.

Recommendation
♦

The Office of Justice Assistance, the
State Prosecutor’s Office and the Department of Justice’s SPET office
should collaborate to develop and
offer training on conscious or unconscious racism and the danger of institutional bias in the juvenile and
criminal justice systems at all SPET
conferences.

Recommendation
♦

The Commission recommends that all prosecutors attend at least one session of this training before the end of the second year of employment and that there also be developed
and offered training on cultural differences to
particular counties. An example would be the
development of a training program on
Hmong culture to be offered in Dane, Marathon, Eau Claire and other counties having a
significant Hmong population.

The Office of Justice Assistance shall
broker or develop a technical assistance arm to help the Justice Councils
and District Attorney Offices implement new strategies such as pilot
programs to revise charging or plea
policies; community prosecution;
Community Accountability Boards;
alternatives to drug prosecution;
and/or Drug Treatment Courts as alternatives to traditional case processing.

This effort should include, as part of any diversion or deferral programs, evaluation of
whether any group (defined by race, gender
or other protected class) is being disfavored in
referrals or offers made. One unintended consequence of a treatment court, for example,
can be an inadvertent tendency toward diversion and treatment for more privileged defendants, and jail for the less privileged. Policies
and practices should be reviewed to try to
avoid this tendency, for example, by seeking
“sliding scale” treatment payment plans, creating easy-to-use program brochures, and

One of the most effective ways to address the
issue of racial disparity in a community is to
bring the stakeholders together to address
the problem. On the juvenile side, the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission has been
working with six pilot counties for almost six
years to help them collect and analyze their
data, and to develop and monitor programs
and strategies to address identified problems
in their respective systems.

16

Recommendations
ensuring referrals are based on an objective,
validated assessment process.

similar charges and sentences.
d. The District Attorney should consider the
racial effects of his/her charging and disposition policies and work with others in
the community to address unfair disparate impacts.

The Office of Justice Assistance’s supervision
of the work groups should include either employing a full-time staff person with analytical
abilities or contract with an outside consultant through either DA/IT or the Office of Justice Assistance to create the management reports and to act as a management consultant
to District Attorney Offices around the state to
improve their efficiencies.

II. Training
a. Training of prosecutors about the role of
racism in our history and criminal justice
system should be offered to all prosecutors.
b. The District Attorney should encourage
all supervisors, attorneys, and other staff
to attend the training related to race and
suspicion and assessment of risks to be
developed by SPET. (See Recommendation #3 Supra.)
c. The District Attorney should advocate for
racial disparity/profiling training for law
enforcement agencies.

The Racial Disparity Commission has focused
primarily on making recommendations to the
Governor that he can implement or influence
in addressing racial disparity, District Attorneys around the state can become partners in
this effort by adopting model guidelines to
address these issues.

Recommendation
♦

III. Management and Accountability

A resolution should be offered to the
Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association using the following guidelines:10

a. The District Attorney should support office policies that ensure diversity among
his/her professional and support staff,
including the active recruitment, hiring,
retention, and promotion of AfricanAmericans, Native Americans, Hmong,
Hispanics and other racial and ethnic minorities.
b. Every prosecutor should review his/her
own personal beliefs and biases, including use of racial and ethnic stereotypes
or use of proxies for race and ethnicity
(such as class/socio-economic status or
geography).
c. The District Attorney should charge all
assistants and deputies district attorneys
with the obligation to consciously review
their rationales for prosecution in order
to eliminate unfair racially disparate
treatment and effects.
d. The District Attorney should take affirmative steps to eliminate racial/ethnic bias

Guidelines for District Attorneys on Racial
Disparity in the Wisconsin Juvenile Justice
and Criminal Justice System
I. Prosecutorial Decision Making
a. The District Attorney should be conscious
of potential racially disparate impact
when setting prosecution priorities and
policies.
b. The District Attorney should consider statistical evidence of community crime indicators and qualitative evidence of community concerns in setting prosecution
priorities and initiatives.
c. The District Attorney should be proactive
in his/her leadership and partnership
with law enforcement agencies to prevent racial and ethnic bias and ensure
that similarly situated defendants receive

These guidelines are borrowed from “Prosecutorial Decision-Making and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in the Federal Criminal Justice
System: Principles and Guidelines”, A Project of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and the National Institute for Law
and Equity, Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol, 19, No. 3, February 2007.

10

17

Recommendations
“The cost of housing, feeding, and caring for the
inmate population in the United States is over
40 billion dollars per year…And despite the high
expenditures in prison, there remain urgent, unmet needs in the prison system.”11

or stereotyping that may be within his/
her control and supervision.
e. As an internal management tool, the District Attorney should collect and analyze
quantitative and qualitative data on the
race and ethnicity of the defendant and
victim at each stage of prosecution, including but not limited to: case intake,
bail requests, declinations, selection of
charges, diversion from prosecution or
incarceration, plea offers, sentencing recommendations, fast-track sentencing
and the use of alternative sanctions.

Recommendations
♦

When an inmate is received for custodial placement, available information
including the presentence report and
other social history including personal interviews with the inmate,
shall be used to determine whether
any children had been living with the
inmate prior to incarceration. Contact
should be initiated with and maintained with the appropriate County
social services department.

♦

The Department of Corrections (DOC)
should conduct a complete review of
the availability of programs that are
required for release from the custodial placement.

♦

The Legislature and DOC should determine the level of funding needed
for the necessary programs and every
effort should be made to provide
such funding.

♦

DOC should develop a process to review the decisions of the Program
Review Committees as they determine the program needs of inmates
and whether a particular inmate will
be admitted to a particular program.

♦

DOC should assess at what point programming is offered to achieve maximum effectiveness and take steps
necessary to ensure that essential
programming such as AODA treatment is made available to inmates in
need at the earliest possible date.

IV. Community
a. The District Attorney should meet with
community members, including members of the bar and criminal justice professionals, to obtain their input on crime
problems and effective solutions.
b. The District Attorney should seek out
from lay community members their concerns about real or perceived disparate
treatment in prosecutorial policies and
disparities in their final results.
c. The District Attorney should collaborate
with members of the community and the
local criminal and juvenile justice systems to develop problem solving solutions to disparate impacts of prosecutorial decision making.
V. Influencing Legislation and Policy
a. Each District Attorney has the affirmative
obligation to raise the racially disparate
effects of legislation and policy with local
and state legislative bodies.
b. The District Attorney should advocate
sentencing alternatives and reforms that
lessen the impact on those adversely affected by racial disparities in the Wisconsin criminal justice system.

11

Kennedy

18

Recommendations
♦

DOC should conduct a complete review of the options available to improve and increase the vocational,
educational, mental health and rehabilitation programs that can be offered to inmates during their period
of incarceration to prepare them for
life after reentry.

♦

DOC should establish a system of incentives for inmates who voluntarily
enroll in and complete programs that
assist in their rehabilitation.

♦

DOC should review and expand the
use of options such as electronic
monitoring, community group homes
and others that do not include incarceration when such use is consistent
with public safety concerns.

Once an inmate has been received by DOC
and noted to have been the person with
whom the child resided at the time of the incarceration, the appropriate DOC worker
should identify the appropriate county social
services department to which notice of the
parent’s status should be provided. In addition to remaining aware of county social services responses to the needs of the child, the
DOC should be mindful of recommendations
for visitation between the parent and child;
note referrals for mentoring or other counseling services; and remain available to social
services for recommendations regarding the
appropriateness of the parent for visitation/
placement upon release.
DOC should develop a system for managing
the admission to programs in a manner that
would expedite the process of making the
maximum number of inmates eligible for reentry at the earliest possible date that is consistent with the safety of the public.

In reports of the Council of Crime and Justice
and the California Research Bureau, children
of incarcerated parents were noted to often
suffer from negative self-image; exhibit symptoms of emotional distress such as fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, and resentment; withdraw from family and friends; and show signs
of mental illness such as depression, eating
and sleeping disorders, anxiety and hyperarousal; and attention disorders. They often
suffer from diminished academic performance. Classroom behavioral difficulties and
truancy are frequently noted. They are more
likely to exhibit physical aggression and disruptive behaviors in all the environments in
which they interact.12

This would likely have a positive impact on
disparity and the level of minority incarceration and would provide inmates with an incentive to continue improving themselves.
DOC should review the programs that it requires for release for reasonableness and to
determine if there are alternatives such as independent study or completion of programming under community-supervision that can
be used when space in programs is not available.
In cases where an inmate has otherwise satisfied requirements for reentry and the remaining needed programming is not available because of space limitations or the programming not being offered at the particular institution at which the inmate is placed, DOC
should review whether the remaining, uncompleted program is essential; can be
waived; or satisfied in some other manner
consistent with community safety. If not,
every effort should be made to enroll the oth-

Causes of these reactions were identified as
including the impact of the lack of financial
support; social alienation; and the stigma attached to having an incarcerated parent. Children were noted to be keenly attuned to the
status of their parents, and were often extremely troubled by concerns for the welfare
of the incarcerated parent.

12 Children of Incarcerated Parents, California Research Bureau, Charlene Wear Simmons, March, 2000 and Children of Incarcerated Parents, Council of Crime and Justice, January, 2006.

19

Recommendations
erwise-prepared inmate into required placements in the place of inmates, if any, who either do not need that particular program for
release, or are not presently eligible for release.

♦

DOC should determine whether required programs can be more easily obtained after release while under supervision. If so, inmates
should be released when appropriate and allowed to satisfy a required program that is not
available to him or her in the institution.

DOC should create a mechanism for the DOC
Central Office to review the impact and fairness of the prison disciplinary system to determine whether it is unnecessarily contributing to the problem of racial disparity, and
whether Conduct Reports or penalties are being issued based on inappropriate considerations.

A review should be conducted and data should
be compiled going forward to allow DOC to
determine whether decisions for requiring or
allowing admission to programs necessary for
release are being made upon inappropriate
considerations such as the race of the person
being considered.

In the study of racial disparity, a necessary
component was revocation from community
supervision. It is impossible to determine from
available data why people were revoked.
Revocation with a new sentence is obviously
the result of a new or newly discovered offense. However, people who are revoked with
no new sentence may have committed no
new crime and may have been revoked solely
for violating the technical conditions of probation, or may have been accused of a new
crime that was not prosecuted because the
person had been returned to prison.

The consideration of inmates for parole should
be used as an incentive. Inmates who complete voluntary programs such as obtaining a
GED or other education programs, should be
granted a special review of their record. A
chance to demonstrate progress and gain an
earlier opportunity for release would provide
significant incentive for inmates to complete
programs that will prepare them for reentry
into society, reduce their chances of recidivism,
and therefore reduce both the disparity in incarceration and the high level of incarceration
in Wisconsin.

Using DOC statistics, the Commission examined all people on community supervision
from 2001-2006. Because some people are
revoked multiple times and might inflate the
statistics, we considered only each person’s
first period under community supervision. We
have included the charts that reflect the results of the evaluation in the appendix.

Recommendations
♦

♦

A computerized system should be
created to better maintain the records of the issuance and adjudication of major conduct reports.

DOC should review the prison discipline system to determine whether
the data reflect any racial disparity in
the consideration of and punishments
imposed for violation of prison rules.

Recommendations

DOC should review the use of the extension of inmates’ mandatory release
date as a sanction, whether it is an effective means of improving behavior,
and to what degree it adds to the
length of inmates’ incarceration.

20

♦

A complete review of the parole process should be conducted.

♦

DOC should review the level of discretion that probation/parole officers
have in initiating revocation proceedings, and establish a process for reviewing discretionary decisions related to revocations.

Recommendations
The review of the parole process should include an assessment of the standards used to
determine suitability for parole, whether the
data demonstrate a racial disparity in the
granting of parole or length of deferrals, and
whether the current system is the most efficient for use in Wisconsin when compared to
models used in other states of like size and
demographics.

DOC should consider alternatives to longterm and or temporary incarceration in cases
where some form of discipline or supervision
is necessary for offenders. While there are certainly circumstances where public safety concerns will require incarceration, there are also
times where house arrest or a period of being
required to participate in electronic monitoring is adequate to satisfy safety and rehabilitation concerns.

In the review of discretionary decisions, DOC
should insist that discretion be exercised in a
manner that is consistent across the state, reflects and advances legitimate policy objectives, and is not based upon any inappropriate considerations such as the race of the offender being considered for revocation.

The impact on a probationer’s/parolee’s employment status should be considered when
appropriate. The primary concern expressed
in the testimony was by inmates who, on being released after being “cleared”, found that
they had lost employment due to the unnoticed work absences. The Commission
heard frequent examples in which probationers or parolees were held in custody over periods of time in which agents, having had the
subject report to his or her office and from
there ordering the subject held in custody,
conducted “investigations” of reported violations.

DOC should prepare a report on at least an
annual basis to monitor whether there is an
ongoing racial disparity in revocations and
whether there is any indication that such decisions are being made based upon any inappropriate considerations such as race or
whether current practices are exacerbating
racial disparity.

Recommendation

DOC should provide policy direction to probation/parole agents regarding appropriate exercise of discretion in conduct that justifies
initiation of revocation proceedings. Providing clear policy goals related to public safety
and offender rehabilitation would simplify the
decision-making process for agents and
would minimize the likelihood of decisions
based on inappropriate considerations.

♦

The Parole Commission should conduct a systematic review of all inmates currently eligible for parole to
determine appropriateness for parole.

The Commission particularly recommends
that inmates who are eligible for parole, but
who have not received a review hearing
within the last 48 months, be reviewed to assess their progress since the last review. Deferrals should be reviewed to determine
whether they were of appropriate length,
consistent between panels, and panels should
include more than one person and allow inmate support and participation in hearings.

When safety considerations allow and when
appropriate, DOC, working as frequently as
feasible, with local officials, should develop
policies that favor and promote rehabilitation
over incarceration. The vast majority of inmates will eventually return to their communities. It is in the best interest of the overall
population that the focus of correctional efforts be on the behavioral modification and
skills development that will allow the successful reentry of the inmate into family and community life.

21

Recommendations
The DOC Central Office should review a random sampling of inmate complaints and prepare reports on an annual basis. A summary
report of those complaints as a random sampling and a statistical analysis should be forwarded to the appropriate legislative committee for review.
DOC should continue monitoring and identifying effective systems for tracking officers
with a pattern of disciplinary problems or who
have otherwise demonstrated difficulty in interacting with inmates in a manner that is professional and consistent with DOC rules. Appropriate action should be taken.

Recommendation
♦

DOC should work collaboratively
with the faith communities to provide
services that would assist in the rehabilitation of inmates and prepare
them for release from prison. The networks built through this interaction
will assist in the maintenance of
strong ties and supervision once the
inmate returns to his or her community.

[

22

Public Hearings
A

s part of its information-gathering efforts,
the Commission conducted a series of public
hearings throughout the state. At these hearings, Commission members had the opportunity to hear the opinions and recommendations of citizens from around the state, ranging from local elected officials to family members of those who are incarcerated. Representatives of community organizations were often present at the hearings as were attorneys
representing both prosecutorial and defense
points of view.

of Minnesota. Citizens expressed interest in
Minnesota’s emphasis on treatment instead of
incarceration through community supervision
and treatment programs for non-violent, drug
and alcohol-addicted offenders.
Details regarding the Racine Police Department Community Re-Entry Program and its
efforts to reduce recidivism among high-risk
offenders who have been released from state
prison were also presented to the Commissioners as were project goals of and criminal
justice system recommendations from the
local chapter of the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Racine
The first of the public hearings took place in
Racine on July 9, 2007. Members of both the
public and private sector spoke at the meeting. The hearing opened with presentations
by Racine County Executive William
McReynolds; District Attorney Michael Nieskes; and Sheriff Robert Carlson. A member of
the County Board of Supervisors addressed
the Commission and a member of the judiciary attended as well. Citizens in the hearing
commented that politicians often speak at
public hearings but then leave without hearing from the public. Noteworthy was that two
of the initial speakers remained throughout
the entire hearing.

A number of individual citizens provided disturbing personal examples of troublesome
interactions between minority-group members and law enforcement agencies or the judicial system in Racine County. On the other
hand, one speaker opined that the reason
that minorities are overrepresented in the
criminal justice system is that they commit
more crimes.
Beloit
On July 11, 2007, the Commission conducted
its second public hearing at the Merrill Community Center in Beloit. Again, the Commission heard from a mixture of public officials
and private citizens and recommendations for
both systemic as well as community changes.

Community members urged public officials to
examine racial disparity within the juvenile
and criminal justice systems in Racine County
and to cooperate with efforts to identify solutions. The Commission learned that the
Racine County District Attorney’s Office does
not keep statistics on the racial identity of
those it charges.

The Chief of Police Sam Lathrop emphasized
his department’s efforts to have a racially diverse department that closely reflects the racial make-up of the city of Beloit. He stressed
the importance of training and recruitment of
minority-group members in the police department.

Citizens also highlighted the January 2006
publication Treatment Instead of Prisons: A
Roadmap for Sentencing and Correctional
Policy Reform in Wisconsin and the Racine
County Citizen’s Criminal Justice Advisory
Task Force Report (6/27/03). In addition, citizens urged the Commission to compare Wisconsin’s criminal justice practices with those

Efforts of the Rock County District Attorney’s
Office to hire and retain minority-group members were outlined. The Commission was informed of difficulties the office has in attracting minority attorneys.

23

Public Hearings
Wausau
The public hearing in Wausau was held on
July 23, 2007 at the North Central Technical
College. The Commission heard from representatives of the defense bar who noted the
increased presence of citizens of color in the
Wausau community and the cultural differences that some of them brought to the community. The Commission was also asked to
consider the impact of language barriers as
well as cultural differences on law enforcement and criminal justice system responses.

Citizen speakers asked the Commission to
note the impact of abuse on youth and the
likely involvement of abused and neglected
children in the juvenile and criminal justice
system due to untreated problems arising
from the abuse. The Commission was again
referred to Treatment Instead of Prisons, as
well as to The State of Black America 2007
prepared by the National Urban League.
One citizen suggested that the lack of effective leadership in the African-American community contributed to disparate incarceration
rates, and questioned whether there were sufficient demands for adherence to community
norms. Another speaker discussed “whiteprivilege” and recounted that she had observed behaviors by those in the criminal justice system that were resolved because she
and other actors were Caucasian.

Madison
On July 24, 2007, the Commission held a hearing at the Mitby Theater on the campus of
Madison Area Technical College. The Commissioners again heard from a mixture of public
officials and private citizens, including the
University of Wisconsin Chief of Police Sue
Riseling who drew the Commission’s attention to reports prepared by the International
Association of Chiefs of Police including Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State,
Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement and the Police Chiefs Guide to Immigration.

Speakers recommended a number of strategies particularly in responding to minority
youth:
♦

renewing emphasis on education and
“second-chance programs” for dropouts
and offenders
♦ recognizing that communities lose a great
deal by “giving up” on people because of
early-life mistakes
♦ identifying treatment needs and acting on
them while children are in school rather
than waiting for the children to become
subjects of court activity
♦ using mentors from local institutions of
higher learning for children in their communities.

Citizens again highlighted the Minnesota correctional system and its investment in local
treatment options through a unique financing
scheme in their adult system that is similar to
the Youth Aids paradigm in Wisconsin. In that
system, the state charges counties for the
people the county sends to prison. In order to
avoid the high cost of incarceration, Minnesota counties have developed a myriad of
less-expensive, community-based programs.
Citizens questioned the manner in which inmates become eligible for parole and the
long-term fiscal impact of truth-in-sentencing
on the prison population.

Other speakers recommended changes to the
adult system:
♦

improving efforts to include minoritygroup members on juries
♦ instituting drug treatment courts
♦ tracking incarceration rates by agent and
county to determine if there are any patterns requiring attention.

The Commission was again provided a copy
of the Urban League’s State of Black America
report. Citizens noted that acceptance and
development of personal responsibility within

24

Public Hearings
most of the victims of African-American crime
are African-American and that someone had
to speak for the victims of the criminal acts.
Speakers noted that many of the patrols and
arrests in minority neighborhoods occur because the residents of the neighborhoods
have called the police and asked for their assistance.

the minority community must be as important in Commission consideration as system
reform. In addition, citizens testified that data
collection was important to understanding
and examining carefully the rates at which
minority-group members are taken into custody.
One speaker noted different charging practices for similar conduct in the District Attorney’s Office. He stated that the District Attorney will issue a felony identity theft charge
against a minority group member who has
presented the driver’s license of a relative to a
law enforcement officer. On the other hand,
the prosecutor will issue a misdemeanor
charge of obstructing or a citation against students when fake identification to purchase
alcohol is presented at bars and liquor stores.

On the other hand, some speakers raised concerns about law enforcement practices in Milwaukee minority communities. There were
specific references to the prosecution of
members of the Milwaukee Police Department for beating African-American males with
a question “Who can black folks call when
crimes are being committed by the Milwaukee PD?”
Speakers highlighted the impact of the educational system on African-American males.
They noted the disproportionate placement
of African-American males in special education classes at an early age. Speakers also
noted the need for improved access to public
transportation for better paying employment
in outlying areas.

Some speakers noted the impact of the Circuit
Court Automated Program’s (CCAP) public
accessibility on a minority’s ability to find employment and other services. They recommended that CCAP records be removed from
the system when there is a dismissal of a
criminal charge or a “not guilty” finding. In
addition, the speaker noted that court records
often contain mistakes. He recommended frequent and liberal expungement of court records.

One speaker challenged the Commission to
consider whether the rates of commission of
crimes is what is reflected by the rates of incarceration, citing armed robbery rates by
race in Milwaukee County.

One speaker also noted that the eligibility
threshold for representation by the Public Defender’s Office was very low and needed significant revision.

The Commission met in the auditorium at Milwaukee Area Technical College on August 13,
2007. Again, public officials, including members of the judiciary as well as private citizens,
provided testimony.

Other speakers were skeptical of the influence
of the Commission’s findings and recommendations. Young witnesses suggested that a
Commission made up of youth would have
been more appropriate in seeking to identify
appropriate responses to the needs of the
community, and other witnesses stated that
community members were in a better position to make recommendations than Commission members.

Speakers focused on the role of law enforcement in the community. Comments included
the testimony of a retired law enforcement
officer who reminded the Commissioners that

Witnesses made positive comments about
existing Restorative Justice Programs and recommended similar programs that sought alternatives to incarceration.

Milwaukee

25

Public Hearings
Green Bay
The final public hearing took place in Green Bay
on August 29, 2007 at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. The Commission heard from several members of law enforcement, attorneys, and
private citizens.
The initial speaker expressed a concern that the
African-American community bore a great deal
of the responsibility for crimes being committed
by its youth. He said that the community had
failed to take responsibility for the behaviors of
young people over whom influence could be
exerted.
Representatives of a local community-based
agency challenged the African-American community to accelerate community responsibility,
by asking “What other community would let you
do a drive-by shooting or sell cocaine without
calling the police?”
In contrast to this testimony, a former member of
the Public Defender’s Office staff for twenty
years wanted to know why the Commission had
chosen this time to address the issue instead of
years ago. He characterized the “war on drugs”
as a war on people of color and recommended
that there be a “re-visitation” on the entire drug
policy issue.
One of the members of the police department
who testified expressed concern that there was
no minority-community spokesperson to whom
law enforcement and other community leaders
could turn in their efforts to resolve issues. He
indicated the Green Bay Police Department has
specific policies against racial profiling and discussed the relationship between the University
of Wisconsin -Green Bay Police Department and
the Green Bay Police Department (GBPD).

At the Green Bay hearing, Commissioner Bies
shared e-mail messages he had received from
constituents who questioned why there was a
Commission studying why so many AfricanAmericans were in prison, stating the reason
is because they commit so many crimes.
A member of the State Public Defender’s staff
raised questions about the GBPD Impact program and the impact of drug arrests on incarceration rates. An officer of the police department explained that there is a team of officers
sent into pre-determined areas based on citizen complaints, indicating that there was
“zero-tolerance” for any violations. The Commission was informed the neighborhoods
were all populated primarily by minority
group members and indicated these were the
areas in which crimes were committed. It was
at this hearing that the Commissioners questioned whether efforts to enforce drunkdriving laws were made at local sporting
events or other tailgating occasions.
The Commission heard testimony both pro
and con for returning jurisdiction over 17 year
olds accused of violating criminal laws to juvenile court. A member of the District Attorney’s staff suggested the cost of this return
would have negative impact on the availability of funds for younger children and their
families who have come to the attention of
the courts, either through a Child in Need of
Protection and Services (CHIPS), Juvenile in
Need of Protection (JIPS) or delinquency proceeding.
Witnesses also asked Commissioners to examine re-entry programs for inmates upon the
inmates’ release from prison.

The Commission also heard testimony from an
Asian liaison to the GBPD as well as an AfricanAmerican father who questioned the ability of
Family Services, after having obtained funds for
their work, to “tell us what to do without walking
in our shoes.”

26

[

Meeting Summaries
F

May 22-23, 2007
Waukesha, WI

ollowing the creation of this Commission by
the Governor, a series of meetings took place in
which Commissioners heard from representatives
of groups whose work have direct impact on the
criminal justice system and from individuals who
are a part of that system. The following is a summary of the meetings in which presentations were
made by non-members of the Commission. There
were additional meetings in which the Commissioners discussed and determined the recommendations to be made to the Governor.

Bishop Eugene Johnson of the Madison Pentecostal Assembly challenged the Commission to
recognize that, while the need for community
order and protection will dictate that some who
violate its rules will be removed from the community, the community must not lose sight of
the value many of these citizens will have for
their communities with appropriate rehabilitation and treatment. Using the example of “bent
nails” that, if straightened and struck the right
way, fit within the building project as well as
those that had been perfect throughout the
process.

April 9, 2007
Milwaukee, WI
The initial meeting of the Commission was held
in Milwaukee. The Commission members were
addressed by Governor Jim Doyle who gave the
charge to the Commission, reviewing the Executive Order that had created the Commission
and indicating his desire that the Commission
identify strategies the State of Wisconsin could
take to address the racial disparities that exist in
the criminal justice system.

Dr. Pamela Oliver offered a statistical presentation that showed the numbers of arrests and
inmates in Wisconsin, comparing the racial
breakdown of those numbers to the representation of the particular groups in the overall Wisconsin (and national) population.
The Hon. Joseph Wall, Milwaukee County Circuit
Court Judge, challenged the Commission to
consider not only the disparities that exist and
are demonstrated by the numbers, but also the
factors that contribute to those disparities. He
noted the impact of poverty and lack of educational success on the paths that lead many into
jails and prisons.

Commission members introduced themselves;
described their backgrounds and interests in
the working of the Commission; and shared
their perceptions of areas of the criminal justice
system the Commission might explore.
William Feyerherm of Portland State University
explained the Relative Rate Index that is used
by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in its projects throughout
the nation addressing Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) pursuant to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Commissioner Deirdre Garton, Chairperson of the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission, and
Lindsey Draper, Commission Staff Director and
state DMC coordinator, discussed the current
projects of the Juvenile Justice Commission to
address juvenile DMC in Wisconsin.

The Executive Director of the Latino Community
Center, Ramon Candeleria, spoke of the importance of community residents taking responsibility for the quality of life in the community,
and gave the example of efforts by community
residents to identify and work with potential
disrupters at South Division High School and
within the surrounding community to restore a
sense of order and pride to the school and
neighborhood.
Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute
for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in
Providence Rhode Island, emphasized the ability of community-based organizations to bridge
distances between law enforcement and com-

27

Meeting Summaries
munity residents. He used examples of successes
in both Boston and Providence in reducing homicide rates by supporting agencies that responded
to acts of violence by working with the community residents and law enforcement to prevent
retaliation and identify violent actors.
Wayne McKenzie (Project Director) and Don Stemen of the Vera Institute were joined by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm in
describing the study the Institute has done of the
Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office, its
charging decisions, and the impact of those decisions on both attorney and court times. The presentation included demonstrating how the information provided by the studies helped the Office
make policy decisions on allocation of attorney
time and resources.
July 13, 2007
Madison, WI
Department of Corrections Secretary Matthew
Frank described the Department of Corrections
role in providing services to inmates confined in
prison settings; offenders under community supervision; and youth in juvenile correctional facilities. He noted that the population receiving these
services is frequently less-educated than the general population, and frequently suffering from
chemical addictions and mental illnesses.
Secretary Frank discussed the emphasis of the
Department on prisoner reentry into the community, including the appointment of a Reentry Director, and the Department’s goal of reducing
recidivism. He discussed Department efforts in
the areas of education; employment; treatment;
and strengthening community corrections.

ence of their fathers in/absence from their lives
and pointed out the importance of parental responsibility - particularly that of the father - in
shaping the future of children.
The facilitated discussion was led by Joyce Mallory of the Non-Profit Center of Milwaukee and
focused on the directions of the Commission and
the issues the Commission felt needed additional
attention.
August 13, 2007
Milwaukee, WI
State Representative Don Pridemore addressed
the Commission on the importance of parental and particularly paternal - responsibility in shaping the lives and actions of children. He made reference to programs in his home base that were
supportive of fatherhood initiatives.
The Commission heard from a panel comprised of
the Dane County Circuit Court Judge Sarah
O’Brien; Tina Virgil of the Department of Justice
Division of Criminal Investigation; Assistant District Attorney Kent Lovern; Assistant State Public
Defender Craig Johnson; and Kit Murphy-McNally,
Executive Director of the Benedict Center. The
panel discussed drug courts and the impact of
community-based prosecution and treatment
facilities on successful efforts to address criminal
behaviors in communities. The panel discussed
strategies to enlist additional support and resources for treatment.

Secretary Frank made recommendations regarding use of pre-sentence reports; examination of
revocations and any evident disparities; and availability of appropriate treatment resources.

Among the topics covered in the presentation
was the handling of some chemical-abuse related
legal difficulties as treatment issues in which hospitalization or therapy is seen as the appropriate
remedy for some members of the community,
while others have similar difficulties treated as
legal problems with prosecution and incarceration deemed to be the appropriate response.

Commissioner Terence Ray made a presentation
on the impact of fathers in the lives of their children, emphasizing the importance of keeping fathers involved in family life. He presented a film in
which children spoke of the impact of the pres-

Former Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann appeared at the end of the morning and addressed the Commission regarding
policies he had implemented during his tenure as
District Attorney.

28

Meeting Summaries
The period between the panel presentation and
Mr. McCann’s presentation and the Milwaukee
public hearing included an additional facilitated
discussion in which the Commission members
refined the previously identified goals and established its future work plan.
October 5, 2007
Waukesha, WI
Nicholas L. Chiarkas, Wisconsin State Public Defender, spoke of the benefits of cooperation
with law enforcement and members of the
community, as well as the importance of adequate legal representation. The qualification of
citizens for Public Defender representation and
the availability of resources to provide alternative recommendations were significant points
in his presentation.
State Senator Lena Taylor made a report to the
Commission on her visits to numerous correctional facilities throughout the state and her
interviews with inmates at the facilities. She provided the Commissioners with written materials, including written comments by inmates and
family members, as well as private citizens.
November 12, 2007
Madison, WI
The Commission focused on issues relating to
law enforcement officers and the need of the
officers to be sensitive to community order and
safety. A panel presentation was made by Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber; West Bend Police Chief Ken Meuler; and Milwaukee Police Officer Rudy Binder.
Areas discussed during the presentation included issues related to racial profiling; the selection of areas in which to concentrate police
presence; law enforcement exercise of discretion in the issuance of citations as opposed to
making an arrest; and relationships with community members.

[
29

Presenters
W

e wish to express sincere appreciation to the following who made presentations to the Commissioners at meetings during the deliberations of the Commission:
Governor Jim Doyle
Wisconsin Governor
Madison, WI

Wayne McKenzie
Vera Institute
New York, NY

Rudy Binter
Milwaukee Police Department
Milwaukee, WI

Kit McNally
Benedict Center
Milwaukee, WI

Ramon Candeleria
Latino Community Center
Milwaukee, WI

Kenneth Mueller
West Bend Police Chief
West Bend, WI

Nick Chiarkas
State of Wisconsin Public Defender
Madison, WI

Honorable Sarah O’Brien
Dane County Circuit Chief
Madison, WI

William Feyerherm
Portland State University
Portland, OR

Dr. Pam Oliver
University of Wisconsin
Department of Sociology
Madison, WI

Matthew Frank
Department of Corrections
Madison, WI

Rep. Don Pridemore
Wisconsin State Legislature
Madison, WI

Deirdre Garton
Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission
Madison, WI

Terence Ray
Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative
Milwaukee, WI

Teny Gross
Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence
Providence, Rhode Island
Craig Johnson
State of Wisconsin – Public Defender’s Office
Milwaukee, WI

Don Stemen
Vera Institute
New York, NY
Sen. Lena Taylor
Wisconsin State Legislature
Madison, WI

Bishop Eugene Johnson
Madison Pentecostal Assembly
Madison, WI

Tina Virgil
Department of Justice
Division of Criminal Investigation
Madison, WI

Kent Lovern
Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office
Milwaukee, WI

Hon. Joseph Wall
Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Milwaukee, WI

Joyce Mallory
Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI

Barry Weber
Wauwatosa Police Chief
Wauwatosa, WI

E. Michael McCann
Former District Attorney
Milwaukee, WI

30

Appendix
A. Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, May 2006

31

Appendix

32

Appendix

33

Appendix

34

Appendix

35

Appendix

36

Appendix

37

Appendix

38

Appendix

39

Appendix

40

Appendix

41

Appendix

42

Appendix

43

Appendix
B. Racial Disparity in the Drug War and Other Crimes: Arrests, Prison Sentences, Probation and
Probation Revocations as Sources of Prison Admission Disparities
Dr. Pam Oliver
Although there are racial disparities in arrest
and incarceration across the whole range of
crimes, the disparities are especially high for
drug offenses even though public health data
indicate that the rates of illegal drug use are
lower for Blacks than for Whites among young
people (under age 26) and are only moderately
higher for Blacks than Whites for recent illegal
drug use by adults over 25. For marijuana, the
Black/White disparity in recent use among
those over 25 is about 1.3 (i.e. 30% higher for
Blacks); for all cocaine use the disparity is
about 2, and even for crack cocaine the disparity in recent use is about 4.7 to 1. These disparity ratios are calculated from data in the 2003
National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
These data are national, we do not know the
comparable figures for Wisconsin. Nevertheless, they provide a benchmark as we examine
the Wisconsin disparities in the drug war.
NOTE: Hispanics are grouped with Whites in
arrest statistics, so we are not able to conduct
this analysis separately for Hispanics. If Hispanics are disproportionately arrested for drug
crimes, as seems likely, this will make the Black/
White disparities seem smaller than they actually are.

Arrests
First we may compare the disparities in arrests
to the disparities for other crimes. Table 1
shows the minority/white arrest disparities for
Wisconsin for 2001-5; Table 2 shows the numbers and rates from which the disparity ratios
are calculated.
Black/White arrest disparities for drug crimes
are very high, and are particularly high for
crimes involving opium and cocaine and particularly high for drug sales. Given the public
health data, it is unlikely that the underlying

rates of offending are as high as the arrest disparities. It is important to remember that most
users of illegal drugs meet the legal definition
of delivering illegal drugs because of the way
an illegal market works, where people make
buys and redistribute to their friends. Nevertheless, we lack direct data on the true rates of
offending.
The next step is to compare convictions to arrests. We do not have data that directly links
individual arrests to individual court cases. Instead, we compare numbers of court sentences for a particular crime in a particular period to numbers of arrests. There are different
reasons why these numbers will not match up.
Some people are arrested and then released
because there is insufficient evidence for
prosecution. Some people are arrested multiple times but convicted only once. Some people are already under correctional supervision
when arrested and are revoked to prison without a trial on the new charge. Given that
Blacks are much more likely than Whites to be
arrested multiple times and to be under correctional supervision, this source of nonconvictions would tend to reduce the ratio of
Black convictions to White, so would make racial disparity look lower than it really is. The
other way the ratio of convictions to arrests
would be affected is if charges are handled
through municipal citation rather than state
prosecution, or charges are dismissed, or
charges are altered after arrest.
This is an imperfect exercise because the offenses in community corrections records and
the offenses in prison records do not entirely
match up with offenses in arrest records, but
we matched them up as much as possible using rules explained in the methodological appendix. This result cannot be taken as definitive, but it is suggestive. We are counting new
sentences to prison (either with or without a
revocation) plus new sentences to probation
to estimate the overall ratio of convictions to
arrests.

44

Appendix
Sentences
Because the relatively small numbers make this
exercise problematic for American Indians and
Asians, we will focus on Blacks and Whites. Again
recall that in this exercise, Hispanics are counted
as White, thus probably deflating apparent racial
disparities. Table 3 counts entries to prison on
new sentences (with and without revocations)
and new entries to community supervision on
probation. The final columns are the sums of
prison entries plus entries to probation. Overall, it
can generally be seen that the ratio of new entries
into corrections (either prison or probation) to
arrests is far below zero. This is not surprising, as
people can be arrested multiple times but enter
prison or probation only once and because some
arrests do not result in prosecutions. Also, if
someone is already on probation when arrested
and the arrest does not result in a new prison sentence (i.e. there is a jail sentence or a new probation added), this will not show up in this analysis.
In general, the ratio of corrections entries to arrests is lower for less serious offenses. This is because people are more likely to be arrested multiple times for lesser offenses and because lesser
offenses are less likely to result in state prosecutions that would show up in these data.
Table 4 calculates the disparity ratios. The disparity ratio indicates the relative likelihood of entering corrections net of arrests for Blacks as compared to Whites. That is, if the disparity ratio is 2,
that means that there were twice as many corrections entries for Blacks as for Whites per arrest.
This is a very crude assessment, but it gives us
some idea of where to look. Consider first the
rightmost “total” column, which includes new
prison entries plus new probation entries. In general, the disparity ratios are close to 1, meaning
that Blacks and Whites have the same chances of
ending up with some kind of sentence after arrest. Exceptions where the disparity is substantially less than 1 (meaning that Whites are more
likely to end up with sentences than Blacks) include homicide, vandalism, family offenses, and
the sale and possession of “other” drugs. Exceptions where the disparity is substantially greater
than 1 include burglary, motor vehicle theft,

45

white collar crime (forgery, fraud, embezzling,
fencing), prostitution, and opium/cocaine sales.
If we look at the likelihood of ending up with a
probation sentence, the disparity ratios are almost all less than 1 or 1, meaning that Whites
are generally more likely or equally likely to end
up with a probation sentence after arrest than
Blacks. The only exceptions, where Blacks are
more likely to end up with a probation sentence
are white collar crime, prostitution, and opium/
cocaine sales.
By contrast, for almost all offenses, Blacks are
much more likely to get a new prison sentence
than Whites. The exceptions are homicide, family offenses, DUI, and “other” drug sales. For
most offenses, Blacks are at least twice as likely
to draw a new prison sentence. For marijuana
possession, Blacks are 11 times more likely to
draw a prison sentence, and for opium/cocaine
possession, 3 times more likely. These calculations showing a greater likelihood of arrests being converted to prison sentences for Blacks
than for Whites are consistent with the Sentencing Commission’s analysis of sentences. These
gross disparities do not tell us why this difference is occurring, but they definitely point to
something that is happening within the system.
In particular, they show that the high rates of
prison sentences are not simply a function of
crime and arrest, but also need to be attributed
to something happening within the system. In
assessing this, it is important to remember that
multiple arrests resulting in a single prosecution
bias the sentence/arrest ratio downward. No
one has asserted that Whites are more likely to
be arrested multiple times than Blacks are. In
fact, most available evidence would suggest the
opposite, that Blacks are more likely to be arrested multiple times.
The arrest disparities combined with disparities
in the probability of a prison sentence after arrest yield work together to create a very high
disparity in the chances of going to prison on a
drug charge.

Appendix
Revocations of Probation
There is a third source of disparity. Blacks are
more likely than Whites to be sentenced to
prison rather than put on probation for a wide
variety of crimes. But then what happens with
probation? Overall, Blacks are nearly three
times more likely to be revoked from probation than Whites are, and the disparity in revocations is particularly high for drug offenses.
For the offense categories that normally do
not draw prison sentences, revocations from
probation can be a substantial share of the
ultimate prison admissions for a given offense. This is especially true for Whites, who
are much more likely to be given probation
rather than a prison sentence in the first place.
Tracing through the indirect effect of probation revocations, we find that revocation of
probation with no new sentence accounts for
20-50% of the ultimate White prison admissions for crimes that tend not to draw prison
sentences, and for 10-30% of the Black admissions. After factoring in White revocations
from probation, the total Black/White disparity in the proportion of arrests that result in
prison time (either directly through a new
sentence or indirectly through probation and
revocation) is lower than the disparity in original prison sentences for most crimes (assault,
burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, white collar crime, vandalism, weapons, prostitution, all
drug possession, and “other”) and is higher for
only two, opium/cocaine sales and family offenses.

46

Appendix
Table 1. Minority/White Disparity Ratios in Arrests 2001-5, Wisconsin Total
Black

AmerInd

Asian

1. Murder/Mansl

19.8

4.2

0.6

3. Rape/Sex Off

3.9

2.9

0.9

4. Robbery

26.3

4.6

0.5

5. Assault

8.3

6.9

0.8

6. Burglary

3.8

5.1

0.6

7. Theft

7.8

3.0

1.0

8. Motor Vehicle Theft

7.9

8.0

1.4

10. Arson

5.7

2.5

0.6

11. Forg./Fraud/Emb/Fencing

3.2

1.4

0.4

15. Vandalism

6.3

4.3

0.9

16. Weapons

10.6

3.4

0.8

17. Prostitution

15.8

2.0

0.5

31. Family Offenses

8.0

5.0

0.7

32. DUI

0.8

3.1

0.3

33. Public Order

3.4

3.0

0.7

36. Other (Exc. Traffic)

5.6

4.2

0.8

19. Total Drug Arrests

6.3

3.0

0.4

20. Drug Sales (Subtotal)

15.2

2.4

0.5

21. Opium/Cocaine Sales

28.5

2.3

0.2

5.8

2.5

0.4

17.2

2.5

1.4

25. Drug Poss. (Subtotal)

4.4

3.2

0.3

26. Opium/Cocaine Poss.

13.5

3.2

0.4

27. Marijuana Poss.

3.2

3.4

0.3

28. Other Poss.

5.7

1.9

0.4

22. Marijuana Sales
23. Oth Sales

Note: A disparity ratio of 1 indicates that there is no difference in the rate of arrest between
Whites and Minorities. For example, the disparity ratio of 6.3 that exists for total drug arrests of
blacks means that Blacks are arrested 630% more for drug crimes than Whites.

47

Appendix
Table 2. Total number of arrests by race & offense group for the years 2001-2005 and the annualized arrest rate per 100,000 population for each offense and racial group.

1. Murder/Mansl
3. Rape/Sex Off
4. Robbery
5. Assault
6. Burglary
7. Theft
8. Motor Vehicle Theft
10. Arson
11. Forg./Fraud/Emb/
Fencing
15. Vandalism
16. Weapons
17. Prostitution
31. Family Offenses
32. DUI
33. Public Order
36. Other (Exc. Traffic)

White
668
11414
2063
64973
11088
69880
3722
533

Numbers
AmerBlack
Ind
747
25
2537
299
3059
86
30425
4025
2386
507
30660
1898
1655
266
171
12

Asian
8
214
21
988
123
1344
101
6

Rate Per Year per 100,000 population
AmerWhite Black
Ind
Asian
3
66
14
2
57
224
166
53
10
270
48
5
324
2688
2235
247
55
211
282
31
349
2709
1054
336
19
146
148
25
3
15
7
1

57975
26977
10078
3425
9827
183626
347088
368305

10613
9637
6003
3046
4454
8050
66884
115743

752
1044
304
60
441
5147
9204
13962

414
509
161
34
130
1185
4785
5537

289
135
50
17
49
916
1731
1837

938
851
530
269
394
711
5909
10226

418
580
169
33
245
2858
5111
7753

103
127
40
8
32
296
1196
1384

73555

26301

2013

536

367

2324

1118

134

13164

11286

289

140

66

997

160

35

4300
6563
2301

6908
2140
2238

90
148
51

21
55
64

21
33
11

610
189
198

50
82
28

5
14
16

19. Total Drug Arrests
20. Drug Sales
(Subtotal)
21. Opium/Cocaine
Sales
22. Marijuana Sales
23. Oth Sales
25. Drug Poss.
(Subtotal)
26. Opium/Cocaine
Poss.
27. Marijuana Poss.
28. Other Poss.

60391

15015

1724

396

301

1327

957

99

4876
46315
9200

3723
8334
2958

138
1432
154

42
280
74

24
231
46

329
736
261

77
795
86

10
70
18

Adult Population Est,
2003

4010137

226377

36017

80037

48

Appendix
Table 3. Ratio of Number of Sentences to Arrests Multiplied by 100 (equivalent to a percent)

ARREST FREQUENCY

All Prison (New
Only plus New
+ Rev)

New
Sentence Only

New
Probation

All Convictions

White

White

White

White

Black

Black

Black

Black

1. Murder/Mansl

51.2

40.8

43.6

32.6

20.3

3.2

71.5

44

3. Rape/Sex Off

13.1

19.5

10

12.5

31.9

23.7

45.0

43.2

4. Robbery

24.2

32.1

16.7

22.8

10.4

7.1

34.6

39.1

5. Assault

1.2

2.9

0.5

1.5

13.6

10.1

14.8

12.9

6. Burglary

8.4

20.7

4

10.2

14.1

15.5

22.5

36.2

7. Theft

1.1

2.5

0.4

0.9

13.9

10.2

15.0

12.8

8. Motor Vehicle Theft

7.8

21.1

3

8

26.3

29.4

34.1

50.5

10. Arson
11. Forg./Fraud/Emb/
Fencing

11.7

13

8.5

10

17.5

14.2

29.3

27.2

1.0

3.9

0.4

1.5

8.5

16.6

9.6

20.4

15. Vandalism

0.5

1.1

0.1

0.3

14.1

8.3

14.5

9.4

16. Weapons

2.5

11.8

1.2

6.2

13.4

10.4

15.9

22.2

17. Prostitution

0.4

1.2

0.2

0.4

5

8.8

5.4

10

31. Family Offenses

1.0

0.8

0.7

0.5

14.4

8.6

15.4

9.5

32. DUI

1.1

1.3

0.7

0.6

2.3

1.6

3.3

2.9

33. Public Order

0.1

0.5

0

0.1

4.9

4.7

5.0

5.2

36. Other (Exc. Traffic)

0.5

1.3

0.2

0.6

4.8

3.7

5.2

4.9

19. Total Drug Arrests

2.6

15.9

1.6

9.1

18.4

18.6

20.9

34.5

20. Drug Sales (Subtotal)

11.9

32.1

8.3

19.6

40.6

27.5

52.5

59.6

21. Opium/Cocaine Sales

20.1

45

14.9

28.5

23.4

29.4

43.5

74.4

6.8

17.3

4.5

8.3

32.2

30.3

39.0

47.7

10.9

6.3

6.7

2.6

96.7

18.8

107.6

25.1

25. Drug Poss. (Subtotal)

0.5

3.8

0.2

1.2

13.5

11.9

14.1

15.7

26. Opium/Cocaine Poss.

1.5

6.8

0.6

2.1

25.1

19.4

26.6

26.2

27. Marijuana Poss.

0.3

2.7

0.1

0.8

11.2

10.8

11.5

13.5

28. Other Poss.

1.6

3.2

0.6

1.4

18.9

5.6

20.4

8.7

22. Marijuana Sales
23. Oth Sales

49

Appendix
Table 4. Black/White Disparity ratio for ratio of prison or probation sentences to arrests.

Prison +
Revocation

Prison
Sentence
Only

New
Probation

Total
Incarceration
+ Probation

Black

Black

Black

Black

1. Murder/Mansl

0.8

0.7

0.2

0.6

3. Rape/Sex Off

1.5

1.2

0.7

1.0

4. Robbery

1.3

1.4

0.7

1.1

5. Assault

2.4

2.7

0.7

0.9

6. Burglary

2.5

2.5

1.1

1.6

7. Theft

2.4

2.1

0.7

0.9

8. Motor Vehicle Theft

2.7

2.7

1.1

1.5

10. Arson

1.1

1.2

0.8

0.9

11. Forg./Fraud/Emb/Fencing

3.7

4.0

1.9

2.1

15. Vandalism

2.2

2.2

0.6

0.6

16. Weapons

4.7

5.2

0.8

1.4

17. Prostitution

3.0

2.4

1.8

1.9

31. Family Offenses

0.8

0.8

0.6

0.6

32. DUI

1.2

1.0

0.7

0.9

33. Public Order

4.9

6.4

1.0

1.0

36. Other (Exc. Traffic)

2.7

2.7

0.8

0.9

19. Total Drug Arrests

6.2

5.5

1.0

1.6

20. Drug Sales (Subtotal)

2.7

2.4

0.7

1.1

21. Opium/Cocaine Sales

2.2

1.9

1.3

1.7

22. Marijuana Sales

2.5

1.9

0.9

1.2

23. Oth Sales

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.2

25. Drug Poss. (Subtotal)

6.9

6.3

0.9

1.1

26. Opium/Cocaine Poss.

4.6

3.3

0.8

1.0

10.7

11.6

1.0

1.2

2.0

2.4

0.3

0.4

27. Marijuana Poss.
28. Other Poss.

50

Appendix
Table 5. Estimated proportion of new prison admits after arrest due to prison sentence and probation
revocation, excluding revocations that include prison sentences and prison sentences that include revocations.
White

Offense

%
Pris

%
Prob

%
Rev

R->P
%

Tot %
Pris

%R/P

%
Pris

%
Prob

Black
R>P
%
%
Rev

Tot %
Pris

%R/
P

1. Murder/Mansl

43.6

20.3

1.7

0.3

43.9

0.8

32.6

3.2

16.9

0.5

33.1

1.6

3. Rape/Sex Off

10.0

31.9

5.5

1.8

11.8

14.9

12.5

23.7

13.3

3.2

15.7

20.1

4. Robbery

16.7

10.4

7.5

0.8

17.5

4.5

22.8

7.1

9.4

0.7

23.5

2.8

5. Assault

0.5

13.6

1.5

0.2

0.7

29.0

1.5

10.1

4.0

0.4

1.9

21.2

6. Burglary

4.0

14.1

9.0

1.3

5.3

24.1

10.2

15.5

17.0

2.6

12.8

20.5

7. Theft

0.4

13.9

1.4

0.2

0.6

32.7

0.9

10.2

2.9

0.3

1.2

24.7

8. Motor Vehicle Theft

3.0

26.3

7.6

2.0

5.0

40.0

8.0

29.4

15.4

4.5

12.5

36.1

10. Arson
11. Forg.-Fraud-EmbFencing

8.5

17.5

3.4

0.6

9.1

6.5

10.0

14.2

6.3

0.9

10.9

8.2

0.4

8.5

2.7

0.2

0.6

36.5

1.5

16.6

4.3

0.7

2.2

32.2

15. Vandalism

0.1

14.1

1.0

0.1

0.2

58.5

0.3

8.3

1.5

0.1

0.4

29.3

16. Weapons

1.2

13.4

2.1

0.3

1.5

19.0

6.2

10.4

6.1

0.6

6.8

9.3

17. Prostitution

0.2

5.0

2.3

0.1

0.3

36.5

0.4

8.8

0.7

0.1

0.5

13.3

31. Family Offenses

0.7

14.4

5.1

0.7

1.4

51.2

0.5

8.6

9.1

0.8

1.3

61.0

32. DUI

0.7

2.3

2.7

0.1

0.8

8.1

0.6

1.6

4.7

0.1

0.7

11.1

33. Public Order

0.0

4.9

0.6

0.0

0.0

100.0

0.1

4.7

1.8

0.1

0.2

45.8

36. Other (Exc. Traffic)

0.2

4.8

1.5

0.1

0.3

26.5

0.6

3.7

3.8

0.1

0.7

19.0

19. Total Drug Arrests

1.6

18.4

2.1

0.4

2.0

19.5

9.1

18.6

9.2

1.7

10.8

15.8

20. Drug Sales (Subtotal)

8.3

40.6

3.2

1.3

9.6

13.5

19.6

27.5

12.5

3.4

23.0

14.9

21. Opium/Cocaine Sales

14.9

23.4

4.7

1.1

16.0

6.9

28.5

29.4

15.4

4.5

33.0

13.7

22. Marijuana Sales

4.5

32.2

3.8

1.2

5.7

21.4

8.3

30.3

7.6

2.3

10.6

21.7

23. Oth Sales

6.7

96.7

1.9

1.8

8.5

21.5

2.6

18.8

6.1

1.1

3.7

30.6

25. Drug Poss. (Subtotal)

0.2

13.5

1.3

0.2

0.4

46.7

1.2

11.9

3.5

0.4

1.6

25.8

26. Opium/Cocaine Poss.

0.6

25.1

1.8

0.5

1.1

43.0

2.1

19.4

3.5

0.7

2.8

24.4

27. Marijuana Poss.

0.1

11.2

0.7

0.1

0.2

43.9

0.8

10.8

2.7

0.3

1.1

26.7

28. Other Poss.

0.6

18.9

2.9

0.5

1.1

47.7

1.4

5.6

7.3

0.4

1.8

22.6

51

Appendix
Table 6. Disparities in Table 5
Disparity
Offense
1. Murder/Mansl
3. Rape/Sex Off
4. Robbery
5. Assault
6. Burglary
7. Theft
8. Motor Vehicle Theft
10. Arson
11. Forg.-Fraud-Emb-Fencing
15. Vandalism
16. Weapons
17. Prostitution
31. Family Offenses
32. DUI
33. Public Order
36. Other (Exc. Traffic)
19. Total Drug Arrests
20. Drug Sales (Subtotal)
21. Opium/Cocaine Sales
22. Marijuana Sales
23. Oth Sales
25. Drug Poss. (Subtotal)
26. Opium/Cocaine Poss.
27. Marijuana Poss.
28. Other Poss.

% Pris

3.0

% Prob
0.2
0.7
0.7
0.7
1.1
0.7
1.1
0.8
2.0
0.6
0.8
1.8
0.6
0.7
1.0
0.8

% Rev
9.9
2.4
1.3
2.7
1.9
2.1
2.0
1.9
1.6
1.5
2.9
0.3
1.8
1.7
3.0
2.5

5.7
2.4
1.9
1.8
0.4
6.0
3.5
8.0
2.3

1.0
0.7
1.3
0.9
0.2
0.9
0.8
1.0
0.3

4.4
3.9
3.3
2.0
3.2
2.7
1.9
3.9
2.5

0.7
1.3
1.4
3.0
2.6
2.3
2.7
1.2
3.8
3.0
5.2
2.0
0.7
0.9

R->P %

Effect

Tot %Pris
1.6
1.8
0.9
2.0
2.1
1.5
2.3
1.5
3.1
0.9
2.3
0.5
1.1
1.2
2.9
2.0

0.8
1.3
1.3
2.7
2.4
2.0
2.5
1.2
3.5
1.8
4.6
1.5
0.9
0.9
6.3
2.7

4.4
2.6
4.1
1.9
0.6
2.4
1.5
3.7
0.7

5.4
2.4
2.1
1.9
0.4
4.3
2.6
6.1
1.6

(-)
(-)
(-)
(-)
(-)
(-)
(-)
(-)
+**
+**
(-)
(-)
+**

(-)
(-)
(-)
(-)

Legend: % Pris=Ratio of new prison spells to arrests; % Prob = Ratio of new probation spells to arrests;
% Rev = Percent of probations that are revoked with no new prison sentence; R->P % = product of % on
probation and % revoked to get % arrested who get probation and are then revoked; Tot % Pris = Sum
of % Pris and R->P %; Effect is +** if Tot%Pris is more than .1 greater than %Pris, i.e. if the disparity after
accounting for probation revocations is larger than the prison sentence disparity, Effect is (-) if the Tot%
Pris disparity is more than .1 less than % Pris, i.e. if the prison disparity is lower after probation revoca-

Methodology
This is an approximate enterprise comparing aggregate counts at each step, not individual cases.
People are not always prosecuted for the same
offense as they arrested for, and multiple arrests
can lead to at most one entry into prison or probation. For persons admitted to prison, there is a
“governing offense.” Probation records may in-

clude multiple offenses and do not have a
“governing offense” category, so a random selection algorithm was used to select an offense to use
in the computations. This introduces error into the
process, but should affect the different racial
groups equally and thus should not distort racial
comparisons.

52

Appendix
Revocations
We examined the question of whether there is
a disparity in revocation from community supervision. Using available data, there is no
way to tell why people were revoked. Revocation with a new sentence occurs when the
inmate was convicted of a new crime that
drew a new prison sentence. Inmates who
were revoked with no new sentence may
have been revoked solely for violating the
conditions of probation, or may have been
accused of a new crime that was not prosecuted because the person had been returned
to prison.

We examined all people on community supervision in the years 2001-2006. Because some
people are revoked multiple times and might
inflate the statistics, we only considered a
given person’s first term in community supervision.
Here is what we found for the state as a
whole:

Probation. People are sentenced to probation as an alternative to prison. Each person counted
only once, we only considered a given person’s first spell in community supervision.

Number on Probation
% Revoked with no new
prison sentence

White

Black

Hispanic

AmerInd

Asian

126626

38672

2506

2252

9747

3.8%

10.6%

5.2%

4.2%

6.7

2.8*

1.4*

1.1

1.8*

2.1%

1.1%

.5%

1.2%

2.9*

1.5*

.7

1.7*

83%

83%

86%

85%

Disparity in Revocation
(no new prison sentence)
% Revoked with a New
Prison Sentence
Disparity in revocation
with a new prison sentence
% of revocations having
no new prison sentence

.7%

84%

*Minority-White difference is statistically significant at the .05 level.
Blacks were nearly three times as likely as Whites to be revoked from probation with no new sentence. Asians were 80% more likely than Whites to be revoked, and Hispanics 40% more likely.
These differences were statistically significant.

53

Appendix
We asked whether patterns are different in Milwaukee from the rest of the state. The answer is
yes, in some ways. Milwaukee’s revocations rarely involve a new prison sentence, and Milwaukee’s Black/White disparity is lower than the rest of the state, while its minority/White disparity for
other groups is higher than the rest of the state.
Revocations from Probation, Milwaukee versus the rest of Wisconsin.
White

Black

Hispanic

AmInd

Asian

% revoked, no new prison sentence
Milwaukee

5.4%

11.0%

9.0%

7.4%

9.1%

ROS

3.5%

9.4%

4.9%

3.3%

5.5%

Milwaukee

2.03*

1.66*

1.36

1.67*

ROS

2.66*

1.38*

0.95

1.55*

Disparity in above

% revoke with new prison sentence
Milwaukee

0.6%

1.3%

0.7%

0.0%

0.8%

ROS

0.7%

2.8%

1.0%

0.6%

1.3%

Milwaukee

2.11*

1.11

0.00

1.28

ROS
% of all revocations that involved no
new prison sentence

4.02*

1.50*

0.81

1.86*

Disparity in above

Milwaukee

89.7%

89.4%

92.9%

100.0%

91.9%

ROS
% of those on probation receiving
some revocation

84.6%

85.0%

83.8%

90.4%

85.4%

Milwaukee

6.1%

12.3%

9.7%

7.4%

9.9%

ROS

4.4%

12.3%

6.2%

4.6%

7.7%

Milwaukee

2.03

1.60

1.22

1.63

ROS

2.78

1.40

1.05

1.75

Disparity in total revocations

Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin were equally likely to revoke Black probationers, while Milwaukee was much more likely to revoke all other racial groups than the rest of the state, and a
higher proportion of Milwaukee revocations involved no new prison sentence The disparity in
probation revocations is much higher for Blacks than for other groups.

54

Appendix
Parole. People on parole were sentenced to prison prior to 2000. Each person is counted only once.

Number on Parole
% Revoked with no new
prison sentence
Disparity in Revocation
(no new prison sentence)
% Revoked with a New
Prison Sentence
Disparity in revocation
with a new prison sentence
% of revocations having
no new prison sentence

White

Black

Hispanic

AmerInd

Asian

4435

4935

255

90

759

25.6%

33.7%

35.4%

23.6%

24.4%

1.3*

1.4*

.9

1.0

5.1%

5.4%

1.4%

4.5%

1.2*

1.3

.4

1.1

87%

87%

94%

84%

4.1%

86%

About a quarter of Whites, American Indians and Asians are revoked from parole versus about a
third of Blacks and Hispanics. Blacks and Hispanics have a 30-40% higher chance of being revoked with no new sentence. The disparity is lower for revocation with a new prison sentence,
and the vast majority of parole revocations do not involve a new sentence.

Mandatory Release occurs under older sentencing guidelines when an offender reaches the date
upon which he must be released from prison and put under community supervision.

Number on Extended Supervision
% Revoked with no new
prison sentence
Disparity in Revocation
(no new prison sentence)
% Revoked with a New
Prison Sentence
Disparity in revocation
with a new prison sentence

White

Black

Hispanic

AmerInd

Asian

4047

5507

397

34

622

34.2%

42.3%

46.0%

32.4%

30.5%

1.2*

1.3*

.9

.9*

7.1%

9.4%

0

3.4%

1.2

1.5*

0

.6*

6.1%

The rates of revocation from mandatory release are generally higher than for parole or extended
supervision. Blacks and Hispanics are 20-30% more likely to be revoked with no new sentence
from mandatory release.

55

Appendix

56

Appendix
C. Memo to Commission on proportion of persons in prison for drug offenses from Dr. Pam Oliver
and Jim Yocum, October 4, 2007.

57

Appendix

58

Appendix
D. Testimony of former Department of Corrections Secretary Matt Frank, July 13, 2007

59

Appendix

60

Appendix

61

Appendix

62

Appendix

63

Appendix

64

Appendix

65

Appendix

66

Appendix

67

Appendix

68

Appendix

69

Appendix

70

Appendix

71

Appendix

72

Appendix

73

Appendix

74

Appendix

75

Appendix

76

Appendix

77

Appendix

78

Appendix

79

Appendix

80

Appendix

81

Appendix

82

Appendix

83

Appendix
E. Testimony of Rep. Don Pridemore on August 13, 2007.

84

Appendix

85

Appendix

86

Appendix
F. Department of Corrections Standardized Pre-Release Program Rollout Schedule

Rollout Schedule
In order to maintain the intent of consistency and presenting the Prerelease Program as a unified curriculum,
the entire curriculum will be made available to sites at the Oct. 1 & 2 training.
All sites will be trained in all modules, each facility is required to rollout all modules as quickly as possible, but
must meet the following deadlines:

•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Transitional Prep
Employment and Housing
Family Support and Education
Financial Literacy
Personal Development
Health and Wellness
Transportation

November 30, 2007
December 31, 2007
January 31, 2008
February 29, 2008
March 31, 2008
April 30, 2008
May 31, 2008

Each site will:

•

Identify person(s) responsible for delivery and explanation of portfolios and program requirements to
offenders

Each site and A&E will rollout the portfolios and modules according to the following timeline:

•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Training/October 2007-build site team; Prerelease curriculum coordinators to train institution/region
staff on curriculum
November 2007- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release May
and later in 2008
December 2007- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in
2009
January 2008 Prerelease Program Coordinator Meeting
January 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2010
February 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2011
March 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2012
April 2008-Prerelease Program Coordinator Meeting
April 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2013
May 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2014
June 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2015
July 2008-Prerelease Program Coordinator Meeting
July 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2016
August 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in 2017
September 2008- Portfolio distributed to and checklist uploaded for inmates scheduled for release in
2018
October 2008-Prerelease Program Coordinator Meeting

87

Bibliography
A

mong the references viewed by the Commission during its deliberations were:

Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement, International Association of Chiefs of Police, September 2006
America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline, Children’s Defense Fund, 2007, available at
www.childrensdefense.org/cradletoprison
“Racial Impact Statements as a Means of Reducing Unwarranted Sentencing Disparities,” Marc
Mauer, available at http://www.sentencingproject.org/Admin/Documents/publications/
rd_racialimpactstatements.pdf
‘Unlocking America: Why and How to Reduce America’s Prison Population,” The JFA Institute, November, 2007, available at http://www.jfa-associates.com/publications/srs/UnlockingAmerica.pdf
Jailing Juveniles: The Dangers of Incarcerating Youth in Adult Jails in America, A Campaign for
Youth Justice Report: November 2007
“Treatment Instead of Prisons: A Roadmap for Sentencing and Correctional Policy Reform in Wisconsin” available at http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/
Wisconsin_Report_Treatment_Instead_of_Prisons_jan_06.pdf
“Racine County Citizen’s Criminal Justice Advisory Task Force – Report 6/27/03” available at
http://www.racineco.com/sheriff/pdfs/finalJailTaskForceReport.pdf

88

This is a publication of the
Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance
1 S. Pinckney Street, Suite 600
Madison, WI 53702
Phone: (608) 266-3323
Fax: (608) 266-6676
On the web at www.oja.wi.gov
February 2008

 

 

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