Sean Wilson, Smart Justice Statewide Organizer, ACLU of Wisconsin

It's time for Wisconsin to get smart on justice  

Imprisonment is a brutal and costly response to crime, which traumatizes incarcerated people and hurts families and communities. It should be the last option, not the first. Yet Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate in the United States. Decades of bad policies have torn families apart and cost our state billions.

The ACLU of Wisconsin's Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multi-year effort to reduce Wisconsin's jail and prison populations by 50 percent and to eliminate racial disparities in the criminal justice system. With the support of community partners and organizations from across the political spectrum, we are pushing for smart policy solutions, advancing the leadership of people directly impacted by Wisconsin’s criminal justice system, and making sure politicians understand the urgency of smart justice reform.

World prison capital

Why We Must End Mass Incarceration

We're at a tipping point in Wisconsin regarding our prison population. Wisconsin currently has no place to put any more prisoners. We have more people incarcerated than ever before - our system was built to house about 17,000. We're currently over 23,000, and the Department of Corrections says they have maxed out all available space that can be converted to house new inmates and they have almost filled the spaces that they are renting in jails across the state. The DOC has 65,000 people on community supervision.  We have 12,500 people in our county jails, many of them there awaiting trial (and thus they haven’t been proven guilty of anything).  This is an untenable situation.

Get involved

The ACLU of Wisconsin's Campaign for Smart Justice is working with the coalition “Close MSDF” to close Milwaukee’s Secure Detention Facility, a state-run prison located in the city of Milwaukee.  Find more information about this campaign here:

You can also connect directly with our organizer, Sean Wilson to volunteer or share your story by calling 414.272.4032 x 219.

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