Wisconsin should spend more than $1.2 billion over the next decade to expand and update its prison system, says a consultant’s report quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The consultants said 8,920 new prison beds and 2,681 replacement beds for juveniles and adults will be needed to replace aging facilities and ease overcrowding. State Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch said Wisconsin cannot afford everything recommended by the Mead & Hunt firm.
“Given the massive (budget) deficit Wisconsin is facing, the plan provides a blueprint of where we don’t want to be in 10 years,” Raemisch said. One example of problems cited: assigning two inmates to cells with 54 square feet of space that were designed for individuals. That “is far below current accepted correctional standards and this practice should be discontinued,” the consultants said. On Jan. 2, Wisconsin prisons held 22,624 inmates, 27 percent more than they were designed to accommodate.