Wisconsin’s mental health system braces for major cuts under Walker

Donovan Richards remembers his mother, Paula Buege, crying on the phone when doctors told her that her son would be in a mental institution before he turned 10. Buege says it took a lot of persistence to get the help her son needed. "It was a real struggle to get services," she says. Donovan, now 17, plays in a band and wants to be a music teacher some day.

In interviews with mental health advocates and county and state officials, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism found that Wisconsin’s public mental health system — once viewed as a national model — has become fragmented and underfunded. And many experts fear that as Gov. Scott Walker moves to close the state’s budget deficit, the mental health system will be weakened even further. Continue Reading

Analysis: Emails favored Walker 2-1

Gov. Scott Walker said on Feb. 17 that a majority of the emails he'd received that week supported him, unlike the throngs that surrounded the Capitol for weeks (seen here March 12). The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism found that he was right — but that a third of the supportive emails came from out of state.

In the week after Gov. Scott Walker announced his plan to dramatically curtail public employees’ collective bargaining rights in the state budget repair bill, a wide majority of the emails to him expressed support, a Center analysis of those emails indicates. But that support was significantly boosted by emails from pro-Walker senders from outside Wisconsin. Continue Reading