Criminal Justice

An image of officers outside of a home shared on social media by residents. (Shared through Community Task Force on Facebook)

Militarized police raids seek Milwaukee drug traffickers

BY: - February 26, 2020

Authorities have revealed details regarding the various tactical police raids which occurred the morning of Feb. 25 in Milwaukee. Images of police units clad in camouflage, and commandeering armored vehicles, circulated on social media as residents wondered what their targets were. In a press conference this morning, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin […]

Video-conferencing in a Wisconsin courtroom. Defendants in court cases are increasingly having their day in court remotely. (Photo by Henry Redman)

Wisconsin courts embrace a practice banned in other states

BY: - February 25, 2020

The defense attorney — usually a court-appointed public defender — has to make a choice.  She can either sit in the courtroom, where she can speak privately with the judge or prosecutor. Or she  can sit in a conference room in a county jail beneath fluorescent lights and behind a steel door, where she can […]

The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with Obama on the stage

Law enforcement funds raining down on Milwaukee

BY: - February 24, 2020

As the July 13 – 16 Democratic National Convention (DNC) nears, Milwaukee has become a focal point for law enforcement funding and resources. As the city awaits a response from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) next month on whether it will be awarded a $50 million federal grant to help with policing and security […]

Police tape with red and blue lights blurred from behind it.

Police body cam bill going forward

BY: - February 21, 2020

A Senate bill to help standardize policies regulating the use of police-issued body cameras is working its way through the Capitol, with its finer details being hashed out by the Legislature. Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) explained that the bill doesn’t mandate the use of body cameras, it creates more uniform regulations, particularly when it comes […]

Eyeball with reflection of woman and fist approcahin

What is Wisconsin doing to address violence against women?

BY: - February 17, 2020

Nationally the Violence Against Women Act has expired, and in Wisconsin bills to help women have been politicized or ignored. One year ago, Feb. 15, 2019, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired in Congress following a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over the federal budget. Passed in 1994, the act supported resources and services […]

The Joint Commitee on Finance. (Photo by Isiah Holmes)

Closing Lincoln Hills detention facilities stalls

BY: - February 14, 2020

The battle for criminal justice reform in Wisconsin continued Wednesday at the Joint Finance Committee (JCF), with a looming planned closing date of July 1, 2021 for the state’s notorious juvenile detention facilities at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, near Irma. Six facilities had been planned to replace the […]

Police tape with red and blue lights blurred from behind it.

‘Tougher on crime’ bills pass despite calls for reform

BY: - February 12, 2020

The “tougher on crime” bill package reached an emotional peak in the Capitol during the Assembly floor session Tuesday, which resulted in the bills being passed. Democrats sparred with Republican proponents of the package for hours, some saying the bills both target specific communities — namely Milwaukee — and take Wisconsin’s criminal justice system back […]

Interior cell blocks at Waupun prison in 1893. (Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

‘Tougher on Crime’ is no way to go

BY: and - February 11, 2020

This week, the Legislature is considering an ill-conceived and wrong-headed package of bills that the authors are peddling as “tougher on crime.” But what the bills would do is only increase the costly problem of mass incarceration in Wisconsin, a problem that disproportionately falls on the shoulders of black and brown families. Here’s one example: […]

The Assembly Health Committee holds a public hearing on sexual assault evidence kits. (Photo by Melanie Conklin)

Will Wisconsin be the first state to kill sexual assault prevention with partisanship?

BY: - February 10, 2020

The large committee meeting room in 412 East of the Capitol features a semi-circular raised dais. The 15 members of the Assembly Health Committee are seated on it, looking out over a packed room of people waiting to testify. The issue on the Feb. 5 agenda that has attracted most of them — and a […]

The cost of separation

BY: - February 10, 2020

Tara van Wormer battled her dependence on opioid medications for years. As she worked toward her recovery, she had another struggle on her hands as well: keeping her children. Three years ago, van Wormer proved to the court that she had successfully beaten her drug addiction and could successfully parent her children.  But it was […]

The "tougher on crime collective" gathers to announce the new bills. (Photo by Isiah Holmes)

New bills added to “tougher on crime” package

BY: - February 7, 2020

Republican legislators continue developing their “tougher on crime” bill package, adding new bills focusing on reckless driving and car theft. Another bill, introduced by Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), seeks to establish a $5 million grant program that police departments can use to augment their operations. “I think it’s really important to give the police […]

Members of the Assembly’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee met in the Joint Finance Committee room. (Photo by Isiah Holmes)

Tougher on crime bills get a grilling

BY: - January 31, 2020

A “tougher on crime” bill package recently introduced by a group of Republican legislators got a thorough grilling Thursday morning during the Assembly’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing. Committee members analyzed the fine print of the bills and posed difficult questions to their authors. The most impassioned criticisms, however, came from Wisconsinites watching […]