Before the coronavirus pandemic, an overcrowding issue existed in Wisconsin prisons. However, the pandemic exacerbated this issue.
According to the Department of Corrections, “one out of every two inmates in Wisconsin’s prisons have tested positive for the virus, a rate four times higher than the state’s general population”.
Additionally, with the backlog of court cases caused by the pandemic, those awaiting trial have stayed in county jails that were not equipped for long term stays.
Chief Deputy Chad Billeb states, “Pandemic or no pandemic, if we can’t get a handle on the massive backlog in the court system if something doesn’t move, we’re going to need a 1,000-bed jail”.