Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage. Portage Daily Register Archives
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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Wisconsin has received an F+ grade from the American Civil Liberties Union for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in prisons, the group said in a report released Thursday.

“The report analyzed all states’ responses to the pandemic in jails and prisons. Nine states received D grades. The rest, except for Illinois, which was not graded because of pending litigation, received F grades,” Emily Hamer reports for the Wisconsin State Journal.

The report comes despite criminal justice reform advocates’ calls for Gov. Tony Evers to cut populations at overcrowded prisons to protect vulnerable inmates. But as Wisconsin Watch reported in May, Evers refuses to wield his power to release inmates despite campaigning on a promise to cut prison populations by 50%. Inmates say overcrowding leaves them regularly too close to their peers and staff at a time when experts call distance a top tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Top Stories

Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage. Portage Daily Register Archives

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“It’s here, it’s spreading, it’s affecting more young people, and the risk of getting it is no less today than it was in March when the state started Safer at Home … If we don’t wear masks, if we gather in groups, if we go out in public excessively, we are at risk of amplifying this dangerous virus.”

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, referencing the county’s recent spike in cases, as reported by the Cap Times

Data to note

Here is the latest visualization of Wisconsin’s recent increase on COVID-19 cases from our partners at WisContext. 

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Gundersen Steppin’ Out in Pink fundraiser going virtual due to COVID-19La Crosse Tribune 

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