Madison – Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) and Representative Evan Goyke (D‑Milwaukee) call on the Department of Corrections (DOC) to take further action to contain the transmission of COVID-19.

Rep. Schraa, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Corrections and Rep. Goyke, who serves on the committee, have been closely monitoring the spread of the disease in DOC facilities. With so many people living in close proximity, there is grave danger of an outbreak in each of the 37 adult facilities and 3 youth facilities.

We are hearing from staff and their families, as well as inmate families, and everyone is concerned. Secretary Carr and the DOC should be commended for the proactive steps that have been taken. Limiting access to the facilities, increased sanitation, social distancing, staff health screenings, and other measures have certainly delayed infections.

In addition to the precautions being taken, the Representatives encourage Secretary Carr and his wardens to utilize appropriate facilities and provide work opportunities to produce protective wear to ensure staff and inmates have access to protective equipment and contribute to the State’s supply.

Additionally, there may come a time to consider more stringent measures. Wardens have had wide discretion in how to address the pandemic in each institution, yet in light of recent events, clear leadership is required.

We are calling on the DOC Central Office to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to implement a partial or full lockdown within DOC institutions. Appropriate planning and communication will mitigate the challenges for staff and inmates that this step may require.  We need to be ready today for an uncertain tomorrow.

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