Wisconsin’s “justice system” is unjust! It has become more of a “vengeance system” than a justice system in recent decades. Wisconsin puts almost twice as many of our fellow citizens behind bars than neighboring Minnesota, with a similar population. That means that Wisconsin taxpayers pay more for prisons. Either we have more bad people in Wisconsin or more bad laws. And, more prisons doesn’t seem to have helped, unless you are employed by one. This should be a campaign issue in Wisconsin. (Thank you Scott Walker for attacking those who have advocated for reforms.)
Wisconsin prisons are over crowded. Still over crowded! Public buildings have an occupancy limit and so do prisons. Wisconsin’s prison population has more than tripled since 1990. Our prisons were built to hold about 16,000 people but there are now over 23,000 prisoners. . What happens when a prison is over capacity? Why is it okay to exceed the capacity of a state building? Why is no one held accountable for overcrowding a prison?
Wisconsin laws have a mean, vindictive streak in them. Minor children can be judged as adults. There are heavy penalties for low-level drug offenses and other victimless crimes. Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate for African American men in the country. (We’re number one!) Concerned citizens would like some answers.
Furthermore, once a prisoner does their time, their criminal record remains, presenting barriers to such positive activities to get them back into society such as finding a job, housing, and higher education. Even such positive things such as voting and hunting may be banned.
Libertarian candidates say enough is enough. Phil Anderson with Patrick Baird for governor and lieutenant governor [www.teamguv.org] have made a promise to Wisconsinites:
- “We must end the racist War on Drugs in Wisconsin by first, legalizing recreational marijuana. Even most Republican-leaning people agree with legalization and their party does not represent them on this. We must also decriminalize other drugs and treat drug addiction as a medical problem and move users into treatment programs and out of jails. I will oppose wherever possible the Federal War on Drugs and any attempts to subvert state laws.”
- “We must roll back mandatory minimum sentencing laws so that judges are free to determine the just sentence for a particular situation.”
- “We must not block juries from being aware of jury nullification. Juries do have the right to return a verdict of not guilty, not based on evidence, but based on an unjust law. Current practice in Wisconsin forbids juries from being informed of their right to nullify and as Governor I will end this injustice so that juries can do the right thing in response to unjust laws.”
- “As Governor I will immediately convene a Pardon Advisory Board, comprised of legal advisors and community members, and begin pardoning those incarcerated for victimless crimes. I will also support and promote expungement of criminal records of those only guilty of victimless crimes. “
- “We must also honor and consider basic voting rights for all Wisconsinites. Convicted felons, once out of jail but still on paper, are prohibited from voting in Wisconsin. The punishment does not fit the crime. Everyone of legal age and residency should be free, and indeed encouraged, to vote, unless they are guilty of voter fraud. Your vote is your voice, and we must not silence people’s political voices unjustly.”
- “None of us are truly free until we are all free, and it is my intent as Governor to insist on a system that treats those most historically oppressed and incarcerated the same as everyone else—with justice and parity.”
With liberty and justice for all has a nice ring to it. May it be so in Wisconsin.
Jim Maas, Chair
Marathon County Libertarians