Statement from Sharyl MacFarland, JLUSA Milwaukee Campaign Coordinator, on the Reentry Council Subcommittee of the Milwaukee Community Justice Council Supporting Closure of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility

February 28, 2019

“As members of the #CLOSEmsdf campaign, we commend the overwhelming majority of Milwaukee Reentry Council subcommittee members (of the Milwaukee Community Justice Council) for their leadership this week in voting to endorse closure of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) and supporting recommendations to fix the crisis of people on correctional supervision. MSDF was built to warehouse people alleged to have violated rules of probation or parole – infractions like missing an appointment or being late for curfew. Individuals confined in MSDF are subjected to: human rights violations; unsafe and unsanitary living conditions; overcrowding; abuse; and lack of access to medical care. Seventeen people have died there – it is an irredeemable torture chamber. We now call upon the Milwaukee Community Justice Council to fully accept the Reentry Council’s endorsement to #CLOSEmsdf and to adopt recommendations regarding community supervision as outlined by the #CLOSEmsdf campaign.

I have lived in Milwaukee all my life and many of the men in my extended family including my son have been incarcerated in Wisconsin including in MSDF. Our #CLOSEmsdf campaign is led by people who have been impacted and harmed by MSDF. We are committed to ending crimeless revocations, closing MSDF, and reinvesting the money saved to build safer, stronger and healthier communities. We reassert our demands to Governor Evers, Secretary Carr and the Legislature to address our campaign demands:

DEMAND 1: Stop incarcerating people for violations of supervision,

transfer “Alternative to Revocation” beds into the community,

and end probation and parole holds. Governor Evers must appoint agency directors who are committed to ending supervision-driven incarceration.

DEMAND 2: Depopulate and close the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility,

and demolish it so that it can never again be used to cage a human being. The Legislature must introduce legislation to defund and close MSDF and must support efforts to demolish the facility.

Demand 3: Repeal Truth in Sentencing, reduce probation and parole terms, cap the maximum length of those terms, drastically reduce the number of conditions of probation and parole supervision, and eliminate all supervision fees. In addition to repealing damaging laws, the Legislature must also pass laws that cap the maximum length of supervision, limit conditions to the least restrictive conditions necessary to help someone successfully complete their supervision, and eliminate all supervision fees.

Demand 4: Reinvest the money wasted on MSDF back into communities.

Wisconsin must reinvest the excessive corrections spending into workforce development training for formerly incarcerated people, into expanded mental health services that are easily accessible, and into community-based organizations like Project RETURN that connect formerly incarcerated people with jobs, housing, peer support, treatment programs and other needed services.”


Your donation to JLUSA empowers directly impacted people.

Thank you so much for supporting our mission here at JLUSA! Your donation helps to support our network of leaders working to dismantle oppressive systems and uplift people and families impacted by mass incarceration across the country.

All charitable donations made to JLUSA are fully tax deductible, as allowable by the IRS.