Right on the heels of Wisconsin's recent "Presidential" election, where droves of "Black, White, Hispanics, and Asian American citizens came out following Barack Obama's audacity of hope and call for change campaign. Many of the state's top political figures came out endorsing Obama, a "black man" seeking the bid and nomination for the democratic party candidacy.
Wisconsin had its general election April Fools Day Tuesday April 1st and many of them same old practices seem to surface and rear its ugly head when the State's only Black Supreme Court Justice was the victim of racist smear tactics. And all across the state blacks and other minorities lost their potential bid for whatever seat they were running for against their conservative opponents.
Change is good, and Wisconsin has a historic opportunity to atone for a great deal of its past racist practices and policies and truly commit to "change" by fixing the racist policies that have held the state in the cultural, political and economic quagmires of past leaders.
Of the many issues plaguing the state, Criminal Justice Reform is one of the most pressing. Wisconsin over the last fifteen years has out ranked a number of states with the highest
rate of incarceration, which proves that incarceration and "Truth -In-Sentencing" laws do not deter crime.
Theoretically, punishment of Prisoners should try to achieve at least one of the following objectives:
Rehabilitation: re-socialization of the offender toward more socially acceptable behavior.
Incapacitation: removal of the offender from the community to reduce the threat of crime.
Retribution: repayment of damages.
Deterrence: discouraging the public from criminal behavior through effective punishment of offenders.
Wisconsin's criminal justice system and penal laws are born of attitudes and beliefs that have roots deep in the soil of slavery or Jim Crow policies and conservative political compromises. The laws still read a lot like the 18th century Black codes, only the current codes have substituted names and titles.
The attitudes, mentality and prejudices of the framers of these laws are still working to the disadvantage of Black people, lower income Whites and Hispanics as well other minorities.
Although many of the men who pushed for these laws and legislation are no longer in office, like the Tommy Thompson, yet, one of the main advocates for stiffer sentencing and penalties are our once District Attorney, Attorney General and now Govenor, "yes," James Doyle who has allowed the root of institutionalized racism.
During one era not that very long ago a black man could be lynched for a violation as small as whistling at a white woman. Blacks has been throughout history incarcerated in South as sugar cane slaves, cotton slaves, and in the North slaves for the Prison Industrial Service.
The lone black "Supreme Court Justice" lost his bid, not to the better candidate, but to racist, negative practices which vilified a man as being more concerned with defendants than victims. But doesn't justice mean searching for the truth? it was once said it is better to set free a hundred guilty than to convict one innocent.
However, that is no longer the call of justice, even though the 1997 Clinton administration's "Truth-In-Sentencing Act, monies has dried up and Wisconsin struggles with an 2 billion dollar budget, the attitude of our Governor and Legislative body is keep eligible men locked up and the tax payers will continue to foot the necessary $30,000 plus needed to keep them incarcerated.