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The history of the corrections department for prisons in Wisconsin helped shape what and

how it got to be where it is today.

The Wisconsin.Gov website gives a clear detailed timeline of the department of

corrections. This detailed timeline shows significant dates that correlate with how many inmates

were held during a certain time, for what, and how much each of it cost. According to this

website, in the year of 1852, Wisconsin’s Henry brown helds 27 inmates, being the first

commissioner. It held 25 males and two females. In the year 1854, Wisconsin’s South Cell Hall

went up in inmates. There was 66 males and five females. Each cell cost $325. In the year 1867,

The North Cell Hall had to build another 240 cells because the inmate population grew at such a

rapid pace. Each cell cost $189 dollars. This hall held 180 male inmates. In Wisconsin Waupun,

in the year 1957, maximum security had to build 50 beds. This was intended to keep malcontents

away from the general public. In the year 1981 overcrowding became an all time high problem in

Green Bay, Wisconsin. Inmates had to transfer to another prison. The daily population was now

at 3,821. In the year 1990, Kenosha, Wisconsin opened up 60 beds for men in maximum

security. In 1995, 500 beds opened in the DCI. This included 50 beds used for segregation

against those who needed to be apart from other inmates. It also had 64 beds for infirmity, and 50

beds for females. In the year 1999, 47.5 million dollars was spent on 500 beds for a supermax

prisons. This was for isolated cells for the most dangerous inmates. From the year 1852 to 1999

it gives a clear overview and insight of the staggering numbers of inmates that Wisconsin has


U.S.News article titled Wisconsin Prison Population Edging Toward New Record, there

was also key information about the history of overcrowding in Wisconsin Prisons. In this article
is states that the department of correction experts estimate that in 2019, Prisons will be seeing a

new all time high. They believe this number will reach up to 23,322 inmates. They also seen a

decline in population in 2008, but then population start to rise in 2013. With this all time high

supposedly coming, they also estimate that it will cost 1.1 billion dollars in the next two years.

In another source I used called Urban Milwaukee titled State Prison Population Rising

Again it also gave insight on some history of the Wisconsin Prison system. This article in

particular focused on facts about what inmates were in there for and age groups. Between the

years of 1997 to 2007, spending rose from 110% on trying to house all inmates. In the year

2006, prisons consisted of 39% inmates under the age of 29. Also in the year 2006, inmates

serving 5 or more years was 28%. In 2016, inmates serving 5 or more years is now 36%. In the

year 2006, inmates serving time due to violence was 59%. In 2016, inmates serving time due to

violence is now at 67%. According to this article, in the years 2013 to 2016, the inmate

population grew a staggering 3.4%. The state budget is estimating that in the year 2017 to the

year 2019, it looks like it will rise another 1.8%. They are hoping for a 0.4% fall anywhere

between the two years. In 2016, inmates from the ages of 30 to 39 rose from 29% to 31%.

Inmates over 50 years of age have doubled since the last count. Public Offenders such as drunk

drivers went from 8% to 9%. In the year 2015, 31% of inmates has returned to prison because

they failed to follow rule of extended supervision.

Throughout the years of the department correction system in Wisconsin, it has been a

staggering number of inmates and the prices to house inmates. On thing throughout the history

that I have noticed that instead of trying to get inmates out of the system and creating something

besides a cell, the department of correction system of Wisconsin is automatically making more

rooms to house inmates.