Former Wisconsin Governor Regrets Building Prisons
by Scott Grammer
Tommy G. Thompson, who served as governor of Wisconsin from 1987 to 2001, has recently said he regrets building so many prisons during his tenure.
In April 2018 he wrote an op-ed for the Journal Sentinel, stating he had “come to believe that our corrections system and incarceration practices are both financially unsustainable and provide questionable outcomes.”
“We lock up too many people for too long. It’s about time we change the dynamics. I apologize for that,” Thompson stated.
The former governor mentioned he would like to see Wisconsin prisons converted into vocational schools so prisoners can receive training and help with the state’s worker shortage.
“The way we warehouse prisoners right now is not the right way.... Some people have to be in prison, there is no question about it. But we have too many people locked up that should be rehabilitated, retrained and allowed to get out and take a job. We need the workers,” Thompson declared.
However, another former Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, said he saw no value in visiting state prisons and criticized Democrats for suggesting that the prison population should be reduced. Walker, who served in the state Assembly in the 1990s, was lead sponsor of the “truth-in-sentencing” law that ended parole in Wisconsin. During his first term as governor, he ended his predecessor’s early-release program.
Walker survived a recall election in 2012, the first governor in the history of the United States to do so. He was targeted for recall after signing the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, which was intended to limit the collective bargaining power of state employees. He lost his bid for a third term as governor to Tony Evers in 2018.
More from this issue:
- News In Brief
- President Trump Wants Focus on Hiring Ex-Prisoners, Hosts Them at White House, by Scott Grammer
- California: Court of Appeal Holds Possession of Marijuana in Prison Still a Felony Despite Proposition 64, by Chad Marks
- Illinois Court Rules Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders Due to Lack of Approved Housing Unconstitutional, by Scott Grammer
- Eighth Circuit Holds Guards Not Liable for Disregarding Prisoner’s Stroke Symptoms, by Matthew Clarke
- Over $980,000 in Damages, Fees Awarded in Deliberate Indifference Case Against Wexford, by Kevin W. Bliss
- $300,000 Settlement in Lawsuit over Minnesota Prisoner’s Suicide, by Matthew Clarke
- Federal Court Approves $3 Million Settlement for Death of Virginia Jail Prisoner Jamycheal Mitchell, by Scott Grammer
- Consumer Watchdog Group Releases Report on Bail and Corrections Industry, by Scott Grammer
- Colorado Prisoner Claims She was “Bait” in Prison Sexual Assault Sting, by Scott Grammer
- $115,000 Settlement after Nebraska Prison Nurses Ignore Prisoner Suffering Heart Attack, by Edward Lyon
- Jailed North Carolina Teenager Commits Suicide; $650,000 Wrongful Death Settlement, by Edward Lyon
- Federal Prison Guard Admits to Sexually Assaulting Prisoners, Sentenced to Two Years, by Edward Lyon
- Washington State Prisoner Properly Denied Visitation with Daughters, by David M. Reutter
- Texas Lawmakers Consider State Jails a “Complete Failure”, by Matthew Clarke
- Seventh Circuit Reinstates Lawsuit Over Illinois Jail’s Denial of Legal Publication Without Notice, by Matthew Clarke
- Third Circuit: Female Jail Guard Loses Discrimination, Wrongful Termination Case, by David M. Reutter
- California Jail Prisoners Claim Sleep Deprivation; Court Issues Injunction, by Kevin W. Bliss
- Study Shows Care for HIV-Positive Prisoners Poor after Release, Worse for Those Re-Incarcerated, by Scott Grammer
- HRDC Prevails in New Mexico Public Records Suit, by Edward Lyon
- Oregon Transitional Leave Violations Require Morrissey Due Process Protections, by Mark Wilson
- Pennsylvania Town Rejects Private Prison Firm, by Edward Lyon
- Prosecutorial Misconduct Records Protected by Colorado Supreme Court and SCOTUS, by Edward Lyon
- New Jersey Women’s Prison Again Under Investigation for Staff Sexual Abuse, by Kevin W. Bliss
- Denver, Colorado Pays $30,000 Settlement Over a $50 Bond Fee, by Edward Lyon
- Supreme Court Again Prevents Texas from Executing Intellectually Disabled Prisoner
- Second Circuit Reinstates Prisoner’s Lawsuit Dismissed for Failure to Comply with F.R.C.P., by Matthew Clarke
- Prisoners Seek Comprehensive Hepatitis C Testing and Treatment, by Kevin W. Bliss
- L.A. Sheriff Claims Jail Reforms Resulted in More Violence; Court Appointed Monitors Disagree, by Matthew Clarke
- $1.6 Million Awarded to California Family After Man Dies in County Jail, by Chad Marks
- Ohio Restaurateur Founds Hot Chicken Takeover, Hires Ex-Cons, by Scott Grammer
- Corizon Settles Lawsuit Over Colorado Jail Prisoner’s Death for $3.7 Million; County Pays Another $200,000, by Matthew Clarke
- Cook County to Pay Over $5 Million for Depriving Prisoners of Dental Care, by Douglas Ankney
- Class Action Challenges Theft of Millions of Digital Music Files from Florida Prisoners, by David M. Reutter
- Lawsuit Against New York Jail, CCS Survives Motion to Dismiss, by Derek Gilna
- Illinois: Settlement in Suit Against Private Prison Medical Contractor is a Disclosable Public Record
- Director of Nonprofit that Locked Up Thousands of Immigrant Children Resigns Amid Federal Investigation, by Douglas Ankney
- Louisiana State Prisoners Routinely Held Past Scheduled Release Dates, by Kevin W. Bliss
- Former Wisconsin Governor Regrets Building Prisons, by Scott Grammer
- Michigan Hit with Multiple Lawsuits Related to Women’s Prison, by Douglas Ankney
- Texas: Prosecutorial Misconduct May Stymie Death Sentence
- New Jersey County Pays $1,975,000 to Settle Suit Over Unlawful Strip Searches, by Douglas Ankney
- California Cops Impersonate Prisoners to Obtain Evidence, Confessions, by Edward Lyon
- $750,000 Settlement After Mentally Ill Prisoner Dies at Virginia Jail, by Edward Lyon
- Gladiator-Style Fight Club at San Francisco Jail Results in $60,000 Settlement, by Chad Marks, Edward Lyon
- Georgia Prisoner Left in Vegetative State; Lawsuit Settles for $1,500,000, by Edward Lyon
- Securus Hacked Again; Passwords, Personal Information, Location Data Compromised, by Matthew Clarke
- People with Traumatic Brain Injuries More Likely to Commit Crimes, by Edward Lyon
- Privately-Run British Prison in Shambles, Ministry of Justice Takes Control, by Scott Grammer
- Prisoner Enters Federal System Able to See, Leaves Nearly Blind; $2.6 Million Settlement, by Edward Lyon
- California: Placer County to Pay up to $1.44 Million to Settle Class Action Suit for Jail Beatings, by Douglas Ankney
- Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora” Left Out Torture and Abuse, by Katie Rose Quandt
- PLRA Attorney Fee Award Discussed after Oklahoma Jail Prisoner Awarded $35,001, by Derek Gilna
- Seventh Circuit Holds Heck May Not be Circumvented by Waiving Claims Related to Prison Disciplinary Punishment, by Matthew Clarke
- Florida City, County Decide to End Use of Prisoner Slave Labor, by Kevin W. Bliss
- HRDC Files Public Records Suits, Argues GEO Group is a De Facto Public Agency, by Steve Horn
- Ohio County Pays $115,000 to Settle Second Suit Over Restraint Chair Pepper-Spraying, by Matthew Clarke
- Republican-Appointed Federal Judges Sentence Blacks More Harshly, Women More Leniently, by Edward Lyon
- Los Angeles County to Pay Almost $4 Million for Sexual Abuse by Jail Deputy, by Douglas Ankney
- From the Editor, by Paul Wright
- Missouri Sheriff Hires Girlfriend to Run Jail; Both are Arrested, by Scott Grammer
- The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison, by Jeremy Woody
- PLN Interviews Randy Berg, Director of the Florida Justice Institute, by Paul Wright
More from Scott Grammer:
- Genesco CEO Denied Term on CoreCivic’s Board of Directors, but Board Refuses His Resignation, Jan. 8, 2020
- HRDC Obtains Settlement, $16,000 in Fees and Costs, Against BOP in FOIA Case, Jan. 8, 2020
- South Carolina Prison Industries Employee Fired for Writing Tell-All Book, Jan. 8, 2020
- BJS Report Finds Sex Offenders Among Former Prisoners Least Likely to Re-Offend, Dec. 10, 2019
- Life Sentence for Joyriding Overturned in California, Dec. 10, 2019
- Fourth Circuit Agrees Virginia’s Death Row Conditions Violated Eighth Amendment, Dec. 10, 2019
- Colorado Prisoner Receives $200,000 Settlement in Excessive Force Case, Dec. 9, 2019
- Four Ohio Prisoners Shackled to Table Stabbed by Fellow Prisoner, Dec. 9, 2019
- Organization Connected to Missouri Prison Director Gets No-Bid Contract, Nov. 6, 2019
- Court Orders Changes to Alabama Prison System After 15 Suicides; Feds Threaten Suit, Nov. 6, 2019
More from these topics:
- The Other Family Separation: Prisoners Fight to Keep Their Children, Jan. 7, 2020. Prison Reform, Children of Prisoners.
- How High-Priced Drugs Cripple Prison Health Care – and Reform, Nov. 4, 2019. Prison Reform, Medical, Medication, Money/Property.
- Why Our Movement Can’t Afford to Ignore Private Prison Corporations, Oct. 4, 2019. Private Prisons, Organizing, Prison Reform, Criminal justice system reform.
- First Step Act Update: Over 1,600 Sentences Reduced, 3,000 Prisoners Released, Sept. 9, 2019. Prison Reform, Criminal justice system reform, Release and Reentry, Post-release, ex-offender, re-entry.
- New Bill Restricts Use of Solitary Confinement in New Mexico, July 2, 2019. Prison Reform, Criminal justice system reform, Control Units.
- San Francisco Joins National Push to Abolish Youth Prisons, June 13, 2019. Sexual Assault, Misconduct/Corruption, Prison Reform, Criminal justice system reform, Mental Health, Juveniles, Juvenile Prisons.
- L.A. Sheriff Claims Jail Reforms Resulted in More Violence; Court Appointed Monitors Disagree, June 5, 2019. Prison Reform, Criminal justice system reform, Statistics/Trends.
- New Book Explores the Overlooked History of Feminist Anti-Prison Activism, May 12, 2019. Sexual Assault, Gender Discrimination -- Women, Racial Discrimination, Advocacy, Prison Reform, Violence Against Women Act.
- Illinois Agrees to Sweeping Prison Health Care Reforms, May 3, 2019. Prison Reform, Medical, Health care.
- The Uphill Road to Prisoners’ Rights, May 2, 2019. Prison Reform.