The world’s No. 1 producer, Wisconsin harvested a record 6 million barrels of cranberries in 2013 — a 25 percent jump from 2012

Cranberry growers frustrated after feds reject production cuts

Despite a huge oversupply of cranberries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected a recommendation to curb cranberry production, citing concerns over possible illegal coordination between the Cranberry Marketing Committee and Canadian growers. Continue Reading

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Experts: Drug choice, not race, fuels disparities in Wisconsin drug courts

Racine County Judge Gerald Ptacek applauds after a defendant relates a story of success or progress in Racine County's Alcohol and Drug Treatment Court during this April 2012 session. Drug courts such as this one in Racine are seen as an effective way to cut incarceration costs and recidivism. But minority defendants in Wisconsin tend to be underrepresented in these diversion programs.

According to a recent study by Washington University in St. Louis, 90 percent of heroin users are white, and most are young and live in the suburbs. By contrast, hospital studies show that African-Americans are much more likely than whites to abuse cocaine. And one University of Wisconsin-Madison expert said heroin addicts tend to commit less violent crimes than those on cocaine; many drug courts exclude violent offenders from participating. The result: Some drug courts, such as the one in Dane County, are now full of white heroin users. Continue Reading

How the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism investigated prison-abuse allegations

The state Department of Corrections released hundreds of pages of records but denied access to other materials, including videos and internal complaints.

The DOC, citing security reasons, denied the Center’s requests to interview inmates and take photographs in the segregation unit at Waupun, or videotape an inmate at another facility. It redacted from the released records references to inmate injuries and the physical or mental health treatment they received. It categorically denied access to formal complaints filed by inmates against guards, although some released records do convey the inmates’ perspective. And it denied access to video recordings to various incidents, saying this would compromise security. Continue Reading