The Prison Reform Task Force meets on the 4th Thursday of every month at 6pm via Zoom.  To join the meeting click here.

In 2020 JOSHUA’s Prison Reform Task Force has continued to raise questions about the justice practiced in our criminal justice systems. We remain driven by Godly values of the human worth and dignity of all children, youth, women, and men caught up in the systems of mass incarceration. Wisconsin’s prison population has more than tripled since the 1990’s with the Department of Corrections spending about 1.3 billion per year. We incarcerate the highest percentages per capita of African American men and Native American men than any other state in the nation. (http://www.rocwisconsin.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ROC-Wisconsin-Fact-Sheet.pdf).

We consistently incarcerate people in jails who have not been convicted of crimes due to the lack of resources in the District Attorney’s office or in the office of Public Defenders. We inappropriately incarcerate people in jails and prisons due to health issues (addiction, mental illness) and lack resources for treatment. In Wisconsin there are also about 3000 people who are parole eligible and still are incarcerated while awaiting review. Women and men are re-incarcerated without committing a new crime, known as crimeless revocations. Locally in Brown County, where Green Bay is located, legislators are looking at both a potential new prison to be built and expansion of our county jail. Yet, crime rates continue to decline.

In 2019 our Prison Reform Task Force…

  • We met with elected leaders at the County level regarding plans to implement video visitation in lieu of in- person visitation at the County Jail.  Our concern is this would contribute to the distance already in place between those incarcerated and their children and family members. Virtual presence is not the same as actually being in a loved one’s presence. 
  • We hosted State Representative David Steffen and listened to his proposal to have the Green Bay Correctional Institute decommissioned and replaced with a new prison facility.  We shared our concerns regarding the expansion of an already problematic mass incarceration system, the cost of a new facility, and questioned whether a new prison is really needed.  Several reforms could eliminate the need for a new prison such as compassionate release, addressing crimeless revocations, greater funding of treatment alternatives, and review of people who are eligible for parole.
  • We explored the need for bail reform measures in Brown County and were pleased to see steps made in 2019 by County leaders to utilize a Bail tool to move more people to signature bonds verse cash bail.
  • Members of the Task Force continued to hear concerns from those incarcerated in our County Jail and their families regarding access to medications.  Our team continues to bring this issue to our elected leaders. 
  • Members of the Task Force continued to hear concerns from those incarcerated in our County Jail and their families regarding access to medications.  Our team continues to bring this issue to our elected leaders. 

The work is ongoing as is the need for your voice at the table.  We encourage you to come to an upcoming meeting.  We typically meet the fourth Thursday of the month at 6pm at West Side Moravian Church at 1707 South Oneida Street.