Dane County Board of Supervisors voted against the Dane County Board’s Black Caucus plan Thursday night that would have reduced the size of the over-budget jail project and called for reforms throughout the criminal justice system that would lessen racial disparities that exist in Dane County. The final vote was 21-16.
“I am very disappointed that my colleagues claim they support the reforms in our plan but at the same time say building too small of a jail is not sustainable,” Dane County Supervisor April Kigeya, who represents the 15th District, tells Madison365. “What is it that they are trying to sustain? Racial disparities?
“The vote (against our plan) last night was a vote for increased incarceration of Black folks and more of the status quo,” she adds. “I am frankly disgusted that it’s easy for folks to make arguments and vote for giving more money to Mead & Hunt to draw up a plan for a larger jail, than to focus, address, and break down the systemic racism that is ingrained in our current system.”
The Black Caucus plan, 2022 RES-136, would have built a five-story, 725-bed jail — 100 fewer beds than the current proposal — which would reduce the size of the Jail Consolidation Project to bring it under budget. The plan also supports reforms such as a weekend court pilot program, reduction in parole holds, finding alternatives for youthful offenders, and more.
Along with Kigeya, the Black Caucus is made up of Supervisor Anthony Gray, 14th District; Supervisor Dana Pellebon, 33rd District; and Supervisor Jacob Wright, 17th District.
Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett recently told Channel 3000 that he felt the new Jail Consolidation Plan proposed by the Black Caucus of the Dane County Board was not sustainable.
“Looking at this from a critical lens with regard to their proposal, it’s just not something that is sustainable, not only now, but for the future of Dane County,” Barrett said.
In another vote Thursday night, Dane County Supervisors failed to garner the three-fourths majority needed to greenlight the approximately $10 million in borrowing on top of the $165.9 million already budgeted for the six-story jail. The final vote tally was 25-21.