Inmates are languishing in Wisconsin prisons long past their eligible parole dates, families and advocates told lawmakers complained yesterday, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Many prisoners, they contended, are subjected to solitary confinement in small windowless cells for months, even years, a practice one chaplain characterized as torture. “You may want to believe that torture doesn’t go on here, but let me assure you that it does,” said the Rev. Kate Edwards, a Buddhist chaplain. .
Several legislators vowed to investigate whether the state is holding prisoners unnecessarily past their eligible parole dates, and how extensively and under what circumstances it is using solitary confinement. “I’m in total support of any type of policies and legislation, anything we can do to address this issue of parole being denied and … of people being placed in solitary confinement,” said state Rep. Leon Young. The session was sponsored by the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope and WISDOM. They are lobbying to cut in half the prison rolls in Wisconsin, which leads the nation in the incarceration of African-American men.