MILWAUKEE – County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson expressed her support today for legislative action at the state and national levels to repair the harmful, ineffective, and wasteful aspects of mass incarceration, and called for shifting public resources away from building prisons and towards investing in education.
“There is a growing consensus that past efforts supposedly aimed at reducing violent crime in this country were really about the continued repression and subjugation of black and brown bodies. The effects of policies like the 1994 Crime Bill are plain to see: billions of dollars wasted on building prisons, millions of lives ruined by unjust prison sentences, and countless families torn apart by mass incarceration. It’s long past time to shift our public dollars away from building prisons and locking people up, and towards education, school counseling, after-school programs, and restorative justice,” said Nicholson.
Supervisor Nicholson has introduced a County Board resolution in favor of repealing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, known as the “1994 Crime Bill,” and calling on the U.S. Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the Freedom to Thrive Public Safety Act of 2021, which Representative Ayanna Pressley is expected to introduce soon.
The Intergovernmental Relations Committee unanimously endorsed Nicholson’s resolution on September 5, and Supervisors Willie Johnson, Jr., Sequanna Taylor, and Steve Shea were added as co-sponsors. The item will come before the full County Board on September 19.
State Representatives David Bowen and Jonathan Brostoff are expected to announce today that they will introduce a related bill in the Wisconsin Legislature that would repeal Wisconsin’s current so-called “truth in sentencing” laws.