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Brown County Jail
Brown County, Wisconsin
Aramark

June 14, 2007 Green Bay Press Gazette
The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision that Brown County Sheriff Dennis Kocken doesn’t have the constitutional power to privatize food service at the jail could cost the county more than $1 million a year. But Bruce Ehlke, the Madison attorney representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, said the court’s decision preserves the state legislature’s authority over county offices such as sheriff, district attorney and coroner. “A decision in favor of the sheriff would have substantially impaired the state legislature from having anything to say about county government,” Ehlke said Thursday. “It’s one thing to blow off a few disgruntled employees, but there were very significant constitutional issues here.” The court voted 4-3 that the union could challenge Kocken’s decision to lay off its workers and enter an agreement with Illinois-based Aramark Correctional Services to provide the jail’s food service. Kocken said the privatized service saves the county about $1.1 million a year and allows him to put more officers on the road and at the jail. Kocken was not available for comment Thursday. A spokesman in Kocken’s office said questions should be forwarded to attorney Tom Godar in Madison, who represents Kocken in the case. Godar did not return calls to his office Thursday. Dean Meyer, executive director of the Badger State Sheriff’s Association, which backed Kocken with a friend-of-the-court brief, called the ruling disappointing. Many sheriffs who have privatized meal service at their jails will have to review it to gauge its impact, he said. “We feel that the sheriff needs to have the flexibility to run their facility in a cost efficient manner,” Meyer told The Associated Press. “That’s what the voters put the sheriff in there for.”

Dane County Jail
Dane, Wisconsin
Prison Health Services

December 6, 2007 Wisconsin State Journal
Dane County 's new contract for jail health services will cost the county about $600,000 more a year than its current agreement, but county officials say mental health services should improve. The proposed $4.4 million-a-year contract with Nashville-based Correct Care Solutions must win approval from the Dane County Board tonight before it is sent to Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk for her signature. Falk 's office said the expiring contract with Prison Health Services cost about $3.8 million a year. Dane County Sup. Paul Rusk of Madison, who chairs the County Public Protection and Judiciary Committee, said the new contract includes staff for mental health services to inmates around the clock. "That was among my highest priorities -- to have more mental health care available in the jail, " Rusk said. If approved, CCS will take over Jan. 1 from Prison Health Services, which has had the contract for the last five years. According to documents provided by Falk 's office, PHS was paying about 30 full-time equivalent employees to work in the jail. The new contract calls for almost 39 staff workers, including a full-time mental health director, a part-time psychiatrist and the equivalent of almost seven social workers. Contract documents show an average hourly rate of $90 for a medical director, $92 an hour for a psychiatrist, $69 an hour for a dentist and $40 an hour for a health services administrator. Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney on Tuesday said CCS did not have the cheapest proposal. "But the company will deliver a level of service that is better than the current contract provider, " said Mahoney.

December 7, 2006 The Capital Times
Some Dane County Board supervisors are up in arms over a huge, unexpected cost increase in the health services contract for inmates at the Dane County Jail. At the same time, county officials are also grappling with costs that have risen by more than $2 million over the last five years to house inmates in other counties. Both issues are up for votes tonight. Prison Health Services Inc., the company contracted to provide health care, is requesting more than $500,000 above what the county has approved for next year's budget. It's a replay of what's happened in each of the four previous years during which Prison Health Services has had the jail contract, said County Board Supervisor Paul Rusk, chair of the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee. The problem is, the company doesn't come up with its estimated costs for the next year until most of the current year is over, he said. The contract has averaged between $3.2 million and $3.3 million a year since the company was awarded the contract in fall 2002. For 2007, however, PHS said it needs $3,886,155 to serve the more than 1,000 inmates housed in the three county jail facilities. That's the price the board will vote on tonight in authorizing the 2007 contract with PHS, even though Rusk's committee has not approved the contract. "I am very upset by this contract," said Supervisor Bob Salov. "We should put this contract on hold, extend the status quo for a couple of months and investigate it." Supervisor Mike Hanson said the board can argue for hours about minor line items in the budget but will be okaying this half-million dollar expense not budgeted for. "It's amazing how the board can quibble over $500 for Rhythm and Booms, and then we're expected to just rubber-stamp a $500,000 item that's clearly needed, but so late in the game," Hanson said. Sheriff Gary Hamblin said PHS's contractual cycle always comes after the county budget is approved. "Their increase is tied to the consumer price index, so they wait until the last quarter before they make their estimate on how much money they need for the next year," Hamblin said. "This year is no exception." Regardless of the overage, both Hamblin and Rusk say they are happy with the work done by PHS. "It's ten times better than what we had before," Rusk said.

August 9, 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager's campaign took her opponent, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, to task for taking donations from those pursuing Dane County business. Lautenschlager's aides said that was inconsistent with Falk's statements that as attorney general she would not take money from people subject to enforcement actions by the state Department of Justice. Lautenschlager's campaign blasted Falk for accepting a $10,000 donation June 27 from the political action committee of Unite Here, a laundry workers union. The donation came six days after Dane County started an audit of non-union laundry contractor Superior Health Linens - a company that Unite Here has long criticized for its labor practices. Lautenschlager's campaign also criticized Falk for: • Accepting $1,500 from America Service Group Inc.'s political action committee in 2004 because its subsidiary Prison Health Services has a contract with the county. • Taking $2,500 from Government Payment Service CEO Dale Conrad last year because his firm has a county contract allowing people to pay bail with credit cards. • Receiving money from developers and others who sat on a committee that Falk convened to advise her on a land-use plan.

February 4, 2005 Capital Times
Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin and jailer Mike Plumer won't give a detailed report on Meng-Ju "Mark" Wu's suicide to the County Board's Public Protection and Judiciary Committee because a notice of intent to file a claim in the last jail suicide hasn't been settled. Following the suicide by inmate Tierra Hill, who hanged herself May 20 in high-security Cell F of Cell Block 727 in the City-County Building jail, Hamblin and Plumer gave a detailed report to the committee, trying to give a clearer picture of the situation before and following Hill's death.  On Sept. 20, the last day of the 120-day window for claims following an incident, a "notice of circumstances of a claim" with no specific damages attached was filed with the county by attorney Todd Winstrom of the Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy on behalf of Hill's estate, administered by Minnie Marie Hill, Tierra's mother. According to the notice, Hill was not given the proper mental health and psychiatric care by jail staff; the Mental Health Center of Dane County; and Prison Health Services, medical services contractor for the jail.

April 14, 2004
There are no guarantees that Terrance Griffith, who died in the Dane County Jail Nov. 17, 2002, would have lived if he had gotten better treatment from jailers and the private firm that provides medical service in the jail. But there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that, had Griffith received better care, he might have lived. And there is a good deal more evidence to suggest that Griffith was neglected by the people who had a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that he received basic care.  Unable to sleep, vomiting relentlessly, the 27-year-old man complained of numbness in his legs and blurred vision. A paraplegic who was suffering from drug withdrawal, he was in deep distress.  Finally, with the last bit of strength he could muster, Griffith pounded on the steel door of his cell in the segregation unit, begging for medical care.  He was told to shut up.  He shook uncontrollably. He vomited so much that at least one guard admitted the stench from Griffith's cell was alarming.  But after a cursory check, he was left alone in a cell that stunk of vomit and decay.  Then he died. One of the most respected physicians in Dane County, Dr. Linda Farley, said after reviewing the records of Griffth's last hours, "He really was neglected."   According to Farley, health care workers at the jail ignored obvious signs that Griffith was suffering a medical emergency. "The big point is that his physical condition should have placed him in a hospital situation," said the doctor.  Yet Sheriff Gary Hamblin says "it's simply not true" that Griffith was neglected. The sheriff claims that an undiagnosed heart condition could have killed Griffith whether he was in the jail or in a hospital. On that final point, the sheriff may be right. Then again, he may be wrong. What is beyond debate, however, is that the failure to move Griffith from the jail to the hospital has left open the question of whether better treatment would have saved his life.  For Sheriff Hamblin to try to dismiss the evidence that points to failures on the part of his own staff and the out-of-state health care firm that provides care in the jail is deeply disappointing. We still think that the sheriff, who has had the endorsement of this newspaper in every election campaign that he has run, is a decent and honorable man. But he has fallen into a bad pattern here.  Sheriff Hamblin needs to rethink the unyielding stance he has taken. Instead of defending actions that seem to be indefensible, the sheriff should take steps to address the legitimate concerns that have arisen as a result of Griffith's death. These include:  Inviting independent specialists on health care in jails to review the record and propose reforms.  Examining the contract with Tennessee-based Prison Health Services with an eye to determining whether private health care services are appropriate in a public jail.  Ensuring that the upcoming county budget process focuses on the need to develop an infirmary inside, or closely associated with, the jail, which was built 10 years ago without such a facility.  The bottom line should be clear to all: Sheriff Hamblin can, and must, respond more thoughtfully and appropriately to the revelations regarding the death of Terrance Griffith.  (Madison.com)

Genesis Behavioral Services
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Correctional Medical Services

November 18, 2009 Sheboygan Press
A therapist accused of sexually assaulting two clients was sentenced Tuesday to two years probation and no jail time after a prosecutor amended eight felonies to two misdemeanors, citing "proof problems." The amended charges against John Monacelli mention only one of the alleged victims, a woman identified in court records as an approximately 40-year-old Milwaukee County resident. Monacelli admitted having a relationship with the woman while counseling her, saying he should have ended the relationship and referred her to another counselor. At the time of the offense — October 2007 — the woman was a resident at Genesis Behavioral Services in Sheboygan, an in-patient substance abuse rehabilitation facility where Monacelli was a counselor and interim director. The allegations are a far cry from the criminal complaint filed in December, which alleged Monacelli forced the woman and a 29-year-old Sheboygan County man to perform an array of sex acts and threatened them to keep them quiet. He had been scheduled for a jury trial next month on eight felony counts of sexual exploitation by a therapist. "(The amended charges) relate to proof problems and my ethical obligations as an officer of the court to bring counts I believe I can prove," said prosecutor Thomas Storm of the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office. "I believe this is an accurate reflection of the improprieties, the crimes that occurred in this situation." Storm said the investigation revealed conflicting statements from a number of material witness and the alleged victims. Monacelli, 46, of Menomonee Falls, was convicted of two counts of abuse and neglect of patients and residents, misdemeanors carrying a maximum combined penalty of six months in jail. Judge James Bolgert, following a joint recommendation by Storm and Monacelli's attorney, imposed probation and the maximum $2,000 fine. "I think it's an appropriate response to the charges of which you have been convicted," Bolgert said. Storm said the alleged victims were told Monday of the planned amendment, but he said he couldn't say if they supported it. The original complaint had alleged Monacelli had the two people recount childhood sexual abuse in great detail and said re-enacting the sexual acts would help them overcome drug addictions. A civil suit filed by the victims in September 2008 said both were victims of childhood incest and had histories of drug addiction and mental illness. The civil suit was settled out of court in March, and the victims' attorney and Knight declined to comment on the terms of the settlement. The lawsuit — which named Monacelli, Genesis and its parent company, Correctional Medical Services — had alleged Genesis was negligent in screening and supervising Monacelli and slow to respond to the allegations of sexual abuse.

January 5, 2009 Sheboygan Press
A man accused of sexually assaulting several clients while working as therapist in Sheboygan will make an initial court appearance this afternoon, online court records show. John R. Monacelli, 45, of Menomonee Falls, is accused of having sexual contact with a 29-year-old Sheboygan County man and sexual intercourse with a 39-year-old Milwaukee County woman while working at Genesis Behavioral Services in October and November 2007. He was charged last week with eight counts of felony sexual exploitation by a therapist. He is also named in a civil lawsuit filed by the two alleged victims that claims he made them recount childhood sexual abuse in great detail and told them the only way to overcome their drug addictions was to reenact the sex acts with him. The suit, filed in September, says both victims were residents at Genesis, 503 Wisconsin Ave., while Monacelli served as interim director of the residential program. Monacelli — who was arrested following an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice — could face up to 60 years in prison, if convicted on all counts. He is scheduled to appear at 3:30 p.m. before Judge James Bolgert. According to the criminal complaint: Monacelli exposed himself to the man during a session in October 2007 about a week after beginning individual counseling sessions with him at Genesis. The man, who had been assigned to Monacelli, had oral sex with the therapist at Monacelli’s request. Monacelli repeated the sex acts during counseling sessions on two other occasions later in October, including one time when an oral sex act was interrupted by a knock on the door by another Genesis employee. He told the man to keep the sexual contact a secret. The 39-year-old woman said Monacelli kissed her and fondled her breasts during an individual session at Genesis in early October 2007, and the next day he asked her to perform a sex act before they were interrupted by a knock at the door by another counselor. The two had sex during a session in mid-October 2007. A few days later, Monacelli offered to drive her to an appointment in Washington County, and had her perform another sex act on him on the way back to Sheboygan. Genesis began an internal investigation of Monacelli’s behavior in November 2007, the complaint said. The civil suit, which is still pending, was filed in September in Sheboygan County Circuit Court against Monacelli, Genesis and Madison-based Correctional Medical Services.

La Crosse, Wisconsin
Prison Transportation Services of America

June 12, 2006 La Crosse Tribune
Four days after he escaped from a prisoner transport van, 19-year-old Phillip Dunn of West Salem, Wis., was arrested late Saturday night in the basement of a home on Farnam Street, La Crosse police said Sunday. Dunn was hiding behind a washing machine when Lt. Jim Ballas and another officer arrested him at about 10 p.m., Ballas said in an interview. “He gave us no resistance,” Ballas said. “We’d been getting leads every day” since the escape, Ballas said. “He had a tent and was moving around the South Side,” apparently camping out in different locations. Police spotted the tent in a yard Saturday, and later learned Dunn was inside the nearby home of a man who didn’t know who Dunn was. Ballas thanked the public for the tips police received, and the news media for keeping the search for Dunn in the news. “Our officers did a good job,” Ballas said, including those who quickly apprehended the first two escapees. Dunn jumped from a prisoner transport van about 5 p.m. Tuesday at a stoplight at Rose and Clinton streets, along with two other prisoners who were recaptured less than two blocks away. The van, operated by Prisoner Transportation Services of America, LLC, an independent company based in Nashville, Tenn., was carrying six prisoners when the escape occurred.

La Crosse County Jail
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Health Professionals Limited
July 12, 2004
Seventeen-year-old Rosana Hernandez lay on her La Crosse County Jail cot, dizzy and nauseated as her body went through withdrawal.  It wasn't an illegal drug Hernandez's body craved during her five-day sentence for disorderly conduct. It was the anti-depressant drugs and iron supplements her doctor had prescribed for her. Hernandez, who lives in a La Crosse group home, is among a growing number of jail inmates with mental health and other medical problems who say they've suffered needlessly because of the jail's new medical staff. The problems have cropped up in the six months since La Crosse County hired Health Professionals Limited, a Peoria, Ill.-based provider of medical services to jails and prisons. Prior to Jan. 1, 2004, county Health Department nurses and a local doctor ran the jail infirmary.  (La Crosse Tribune)

Milwaukee County
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Wackenhut (Group 4)

March 30, 2012 Journal-Sentinel
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.'s plan to privatize courtroom bailiffs won't fly - at least not for now. Judge Dominic D'Amato ruled that Clarke could not place private security guards in courtrooms, a move the sheriff had already started by issuing a $1.4 million contract with G4S Secure Solutions. The firm, formerly known as Wackenhut, is an international company that provides personnel and technology services. D'Amato issued a temporary injunction halting the deployment of 25 part-time G4S guards, siding with the county Deputy Sheriffs' Association. Clarke argued that he had the power to hire the G4S guards as an emergency stopgap and wanted that to avoid paying full-time bailiffs overtime. Clarke issued the G4S contract on an emergency basis after his 2012 budget was cut and eliminated 48 deputy jobs. The budget also called for creating a new category of part-time hourly bailiffs, who would be county employees but not deputies. Until now, the county has used only full-time deputies for courtroom security. The deputies' union has resisted opening the door to part-time bailiffs or private security for the courtroom. Under current staffing, felony courts have two bailiffs each, while misdemeanor and civil courts have one. Roy Felber, president of the Deputy Sheriffs' Association, said Friday the ruling was "a big win for us. I'm very disgusted that we are trying to privatize law enforcement." Private security guards would be loyal to their company, not to the county, Felber said.

March 1, 2012 Journal-Sentinel
Milwaukee County supervisors Thursday angrily threatened to withhold funding for private security guards that Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. wants to hire as courtroom bailiffs, saying the four dozen deputies laid off last month should be rehired. Clarke is proposing an emergency contract worth up to $1.4 million with G4S Wackenhut, an international private security firm, to handle a small portion of courtroom security work. The one-year deal would mean hiring the equivalent of 12.5 full-time guards to help with the county's 78 courts, with regular full-time deputies handling the bulk of the work. The sheriff is invoking his authority to unilaterally take that action "since safety in the courts cannot be compromised," according to a memo to county supervisors. Supervisors on a County Board panel hearing about the plan questioned Clarke's motives in privatizing courtroom security. While acknowledging Clarke has the legal authority to make the move, some supervisors said they could thwart the plan by blocking funding. "This isn't a done deal," Supervisor John Weishan Jr. said. He warned that the board would deny any effort by Clarke to get a needed budget fund transfer to pay for the Wackenhut bailiffs. And if Clarke simply ran a budget deficit in order to pay the private bailiffs, "we will be happy to hang that around the sheriff's neck when he wants to run for office," Weishan said. Supervisor Gerry Broderick accused Clarke of political gamesmanship in the bailiff privatization and warned top aides to the sheriff of a bare-knuckled fight if the sheriff persisted. "If he wants to play hardball, guys, get the bats," Broderick said. Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers said in a statement that he worried the emergency move would eventually lead to privatization of all bailiffs.

December 19, 2011 TMJ4
Six teens brutally attacked a young mother on a bus last Thursday on a county bus- the latest in a string of attacks. The incident at 35th and and Fond Du Lac last Thursday is the latest in a string of attacks. It has everyone from county supervisors to city aldermen speaking out. "I think we're seeing a breach in public safety on our buses which is unacceptable," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Eyon Biddle. "I think the sheriff and police chief should get together and talk about these issues," added Alderman Bob Donovan. Milwaukee Police officers are now boarding buses and monitoring bus stops. This comes after the Sheriff David Clarke said he didn't have the resources due to budget cuts to curb the violence. Taxpayers are reminded the county pays G4S, formerly known as Wackenhut, $940,000 a year to provide bus security. "We really need to look at what's going on. What is Wackenhut's response to these incidents? We gave them contract we need to hold them accountable," added Supervisor Biddle. TODAY'S TMJ4 went to the security company's downtown office to get answers. But TODAY'S TMJ4 were told the general manager and operations directors were both out of the office today. But some are wondering why taxpayers should be paying twice, especially if MPD officers are now patrolling the buses. "Should that money that's going to Wackenhut, is it being used wisely? Should it maybe come to MPD? Are we the better agency to patrol on a consistent basis?" added Alderman Donovan. G4S did release the following statement to TODAY'S TMJ4: "G4S Secure Solutions helps provide security on county buses through a contract with the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS). We work closely with MCTS and all local law enforcement organizations in the county to prevent incidents on buses and to address those that do occur. We will continue to work with them to address the issues that have arisen in the last couple of weeks to help ensure the safety of the citizens of Milwaukee County."

January 10, 2011 Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee County must offer to reinstate 26 courthouse security guards who were laid off nearly a year ago when then-County Executive Scott Walker replaced them with private guards as an emergency budget measure, according to an arbitrator's decision issued Monday. Walker was sworn in as governor last week. The county did not have a true budget crisis at the time and county officials failed to give the union representing the security guards an opportunity to make some alternative cost-saving proposals before laying them off, according to the decision from arbitrator Amedeo Greco. Greco's ruling also said the $125,000 annual savings from privatizing the courthouse security estimated by county officials was overstated by nearly $53,000. "It's another example here of penny-wise, pound-foolish," said Patricia Yunk, policy director for District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. She said Walker's emergency outsourcing move of courthouse security was an example of how his strategy of punishing unions that failed to agree to concessions went awry. The ruling calls for immediately hiring back the laid-off county workers with back pay, with any unemployment compensation or wages from a new job subtracted. It also called for a guarantee of at least 180 days of work - the amount of time that Greco said should have been given to the security guards' union to react to Walker's privatization plan. No estimate was immediately available of the cost of the back pay or the number of former county security guards laid off last year who might want their old jobs back. The private firm G4S Wackenhut was hired by Walker to replace the union workers. The Wackenhut guards are being paid up to $10.50 an hour, about $5 an hour less than the union guards made. The County Board rejected the security outsourcing idea in November 2009, when Walker tried to get the move included as part of the 2010 budget. But Walker unilaterally ordered it last March, saying the county faced a potential 2010 year-end deficit of about $7 million. Wackenhut is being paid $1.1 million a year under its contract with the county for security at the courthouse complex, as well as for City Campus, 2711 W. Wells St., and the Vel Phillips Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa.

July 8, 2010 WTMJ
The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department says a problem during fire alarm testing resulted in the fire alarm going off in the Milwaukee County Courthouse Thursday afternoon. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department says during the time it took to reset the alarm, courthouse security workers began to evacuate the building. But it appears not everyone got that message. We caught security workers continuing to allow people into the building while the alarms were going off. Eventually a supervisor got to the checkpoint and guards stopped allowing people inside. The company that runs security at the courthouse, Wackenhut, says in a statement that staff had been notified of fire alarm testing that could result in false alarms. "Shortly after 1PM today that testing resulted in a false alarm that was not accompanied by an evacuation notice," the statement said. The company says staff continued to let people into the building. The company goes on to say that when supervisors were, "unable to immediately secure an all clear notice from courthouse staff, they proceeded with an evacuation." The county says there's no such thing as an "evacuation notice." It says when the alarm goes off, people must evacuate, no matter what.

May 28, 2010 TMJ4
The I-Team exposed questionable hiring by the company in charge of Milwaukee County Courthouse security. That same company got another big-time county contract. Over the next three years, Milwaukee County will pay Wackenhut Security Services nearly $6 million to transport prisoners for the Sheriff's Office. That might not sit too well with taxpayers considering what the I-Team dug up back in April. "I think we have reasons to be worried," said 4th District Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic. Dimitrijevic was one of the eight supervisors who voted against the contract with Wackenhut, she says, for good reason. "We lose accountability and transparency," Dimitrijevic warned. "We no longer know what kind of background checks have happened or any kind of those details." The I-Team already exposed former Manawa, Wisconsin police chief Chad Wegener, who served time in jail for misconduct in office, in charge of security for Wackenhut at the county courthouse. After our investigation, Wackenhut reassigned Wegener and several other of its security officers with questionable backgrounds. When it comes to moving tens of thousands of prisoners a year, Dimitrijevic said, "I think I'd feel much more safe with our own people." The Sheriff's Office figures the move might save the county a million dollars without costing any county jobs, which was good enough for a green light from nine supervisors including the board chairman Lee Holloway. "If you don't have a solution for the million dollars and what you're going to do with the million dollars, then I can't go along with not saving a million dollars," explained Holloway. Holloway said Sheriff David Clarke will be responsible for making sure Wackenhut's people are up to par, and if things don't work out, the board can pull the plug at any time." We reached out to Sheriff's Office and Wackenhut officials for comment. So far, no response.

April 15, 2010 TMJ4
An exclusive I-Team investigation uncovers shocking details about the man hired to run security at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. When security supervisor Chad Wegener showed up for work at the Courthouse Wednesday, he had no idea it would be his last day there. "If we don't know who's protecting us, or who's supposed to be protecting us at the front door, I think it may lead to other issues that may happen in the courthouse," warned District 18 Supervisor Johnny Thomas. Wegener works for Wackenhut Security Services, a big international firm, which took over security at the Courthouse last month. However, back in 2004, Wegener resigned as chief of police in Manawa, Wisconsin amid scandal -- accused of making repeated unwanted sexual advances towards on-duty male officers after pressuring them to drink beer and watch pornography at his home. Wegener plead no contest to five misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct, and spent three months in jail. And Wegener wasn't just coordinating security at the Courthouse. He also oversaw things at the Criminal Justice Facility, the Safety Building, and two other county buildings. We confronted Wegener at a Courthouse checkpoint. Reporter: "I wanted to ask you about something. We're hearing from some folks who aren't real happy with your supervisor position here after the way things went down in Manawa." Wegener: "I can refer you to our office." Reporter: "Does the office know about all that?" Wegener: "I can refer you to our office." Reporter "What are they going to tell me?" Wegener: "I'm just going to refer you to our office here." County Executive Scott Walker had no idea about any of this until we told him. "Simply put, we told Wackenhut today that we want them to get rid of this individual from Milwaukee County," said Walker. "What they do elsewhere is up to them and their attorneys, but in terms of working in Milwaukee County, we want them to bring in somebody else." But Wegener only got the job after Walker ordered building security outsourced -- an emergency move to save money. At least one county supervisor has no problem pointing fingers. "He can't deflect his responsibility," said Supervisor Thomas. "He's responsible for making sure that Wackenhut does a good job, and obviously he just looked at the savings instead of the safety."

March 4, 2009 Journal Sentinel
A firm that is paid more than $1 million annually to provide security for the Milwaukee County Transit System has its guards spend less than 3% of their time riding buses, a fraction of the 85% rate called for in its contract. Instead, most of the bus security officers spent much of their workdays riding in pairs in vans, patrolling throughout the county, according to a county audit released Wednesday. "Very little time is spent actually riding buses," the audit said. Most of those rides were only a few blocks in length. The audit underscores criticism leveled by Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. against Wackenhut Corp., which has provided bus security for Milwaukee County Transit System buses since 1993. Clarke's complaints that Wackenhut spent too little time on buses prompted county officials to order the audit a year ago. The audit found that a separate firm that manages the transit system for the county didn't expect Wackenhut officers to spend the vast majority of their time riding buses, despite the contract provision. By consent of Milwaukee County Transit System officials, the security officers have emphasized patrolling and responding to calls for help from bus drivers, the audit said. Auditors recommended that officers should spend more time riding buses and suggested abandoning the practice of having officers work in pairs. In its formal response to the audit, transit system officials said it had already begun increasing the number of hours security officers spent on buses. They now spend about 30% of their workday riding buses, officials said. Clarke said the figure should be far higher. "It's a travesty," Clarke said. "The taxpayers aren't getting what they are paying for." He'll urge transit system officials to have Wackenhut put a greater emphasis on having officers on buses, particularly from noon to 8 p.m., when most fights and assaults happen, the sheriff said. Other security steps are important, too, such as sending security officers to areas where "large numbers of students transfer or problems are more likely to occur," said Anita Gulotta-Connelly, the bus system's managing director. She said the officers also can stay in touch with many bus drivers by monitoring key intersections. The vehicle patrols by security officers are important because they permit rapid response to fights or other incidents on buses, she said in her response to the audit. Transit system spokeswoman Jackie Janz said consideration would be given to having the officers work solo. "Our security plan is always evolving," Janz said. System officials strive to find the right balance in how security resources are deployed, she said. Cameras logging incidents -- The installation of video cameras on buses has been an important security improvement, she said. Vivid footage from those cameras showing assaults on drivers and passengers and aired on local television also led to the audit request. The audit found 3,216 calls for service by drivers - anything from fights to snowballs thrown at buses to rousting sleeping passengers - in 2008. With 1.35 million bus trips and an average busload of 38, that translates to a 99.76% chance that passengers won't face any problems riding the bus, the audit said. Other data included in the audit: 100 assaults on buses last year, the most over the past nine years. It also listed 1,229 disorderly conduct episodes; 24 robberies; 55 thefts; and two sexual assaults for 2008. The bus drivers union would welcome an increased security presence on the buses, said Rick Bassler, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998. Union wants armed guards -- Union leaders have repeatedly told Wackenhut executives and transit managers that they want more security officers on the buses, as well as armed sheriff's deputies and police officers, both uniformed and undercover, to provide a deterrent, Bassler said. Even Guardian Angels volunteers in red berets helped in the last year, but drivers prefer sworn law enforcement officers because "when you've got someone on there with a gun (who) can arrest people, that's huge," he said. The Sheriff's Department sends the union reports that show deputies are riding buses every day, often issuing tickets, following up with schools about problems with student riders and focusing their efforts on the most troublesome routes, Bassler said. It's not clear from those reports exactly how much time the Wackenhut officers are spending on buses, he said. On another security issue, Bassler said bulletproof shields will soon be installed around drivers' seats on about 25 buses, something the union has long pressed for. Union representatives will work with transit managers to determine the routes where the shields can best be used, he said. Wackenhut was paid $1.13 million last year for a staff of 30. That includes 20 security officers and 10 managers. The audit found no problems with the way security officers dealt with minorities or issues of cultural diversity. County supervisors asked for that review based on some reported problems. Wackenhut officials didn't return a phone call late Wednesday.

June 4, 2008 WTMJ 620
Four teenagers have been arrested in the beating of a 15 year-old classmate on a Milwaukee County Transit bus. The Sheriff's Department is still looking for a fifth suspect. A St. Charles Youth and Family Services student who tried to start a fight with the victim on May 29th joined four classmates in repeatedly hitting and kicking him in his head. The victim escaped serious injury by covering his face. "We obtained surveillance camera video that depicted a violent mob beating," said Sheriff David Clarke. "It's the kind of incident that led to the death of Charlie Young, and the incident in which Samuel McClane was pulled from his car and savagely beaten on West Hampton Avenue, or the businessman pulled from his car and beaten following Juneteenth Day." "These gang-style beatings are serious." The four suspects are all 15 or 16 years old and all have extensive juvenile records for a variety of offenses including second degree sexual assault, aggravated battery, burglary, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, possession of a dangerous weapon in a school zone, and disorderly conduct. In a press conference Wednesday, Clarke vented his frustrations with the private security firm contracted to patrol county buses, St. Charles' students, and Milwaukee's juvenile justice system. "These students have been a constant problem since the school year started, with over 30 documented instances of causing some sort of disturbance or criminal acts on county buses," Clarke said. "They are a menace." "I think St. Charles is responsible for the behavior of their students, including to and from school," he added. "They might not see it that way, but I do." "And part of the problem is that [these suspects'] ages force us to refer them to juvenile authorities, where they are viewed and treated simply as delinquents and are given probation and allowed to rejoin civilized society...only to commit further acts even more appalling than the last." "Juvenile justice in Milwaukee is a broken system." Clarke called for an immediate revocation of reduced bus fares for St. Charles students, saying "the County cannot afford the liability of injuries or death that may occur on these public transportation routes by students from this facility. If we can't keep them off public transportation, at least they should have to pay the same fare that law-abiding passengers pay." The Sheriff also called for a review of Wackenhut Security, which has had a contract with Milwaukee County for bus patrols since 1992 but does not have officers on the buses themselves.

February 1, 2008 Trading Markets.com
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. on Thursday blasted the private security firm hired to guard local buses, questioning whether the $1.1 million annual cost was worth it. Wackenhut Corp., an international company headquartered in Florida, has provided security for Milwaukee County Transit System buses since 1993. Clarke said in a letter to the County Board that the company had "top-heavy administration that leads to fewer people actually performing a security function." He called for a county audit of the firm's contract with the bus system, a move readily agreed to Thursday on a 6-0 vote by the board's Finance and Audit Committee. Although Clarke is generally a proponent of privatization to help lower costs of government services, he faulted the company for a lack of public accountability. Clarke said Wackenhut had refused to provide detailed information about its bus security operations to his department. He also said Wackenhut guards spent too little time riding buses. "If you are going to deal with disorder on the buses, you've got to ride the buses," he said. Mark Schaefer, general manager of Wackenhut's Milwaukee operation, declined to comment on Clarke's criticisms. Of Wackenhut's 32 employees working locally on bus security, four are managers, transit system spokeswoman Jackie Janz said. The firm won the bus security contract in 1993 over other firms that bid, Janz said. The contract was re-bid in 1998 and 2003, she said. Anita Gulotta-Connelly, managing director of the bus system, praised Wackenhut, saying the firm last year responded to more than 3,200 security complaints. "We are very pleased with the level of security they have been able to provide," she said. Complaints from riders -- Clarke said he's received many complaints from riders and bus drivers about rowdiness, harassment of riders and occasional assaults on buses or at bus stops. Clarke assigned deputies from his tactical unit to help with bus security starting in 2006. He credited the move with improvements, but said he couldn't back off the deputy coverage without worrying about a surge in problems. He said Wackenhut security guards often simply release troublemakers rather than turn them over to local law enforcement. Clarke said he did not seek the audit because he wanted the Sheriff's Department to assume Wackenhut's duties and contract revenue. However, Clarke said: "I wouldn't mind doing it with the proper resources." He said $1 million would only pay for about 15 deputies, far too few for the job.

December 19, 2007 Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. has called for an audit of Wackenhut Corp., claiming the company is doing a poor job despite its nearly $1 million-a-year contract to provide security on county bus routes. Buy a link hereIn a letter to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and County Board Chairman Lee Holloway, Clarke asked for a "qualitative and quantitative audit" to be performed amid questions about Wackenhut's deployment levels. "There has been little oversight of this program, and self-reporting has allowed Wackenhut to operate without accountability and in relative anonymity," Clarke wrote in his letter, dated Tuesday. A copy of the letter was faxed by the Journal Sentinel to Wackenhut Corp.'s office in Milwaukee, but officials there didn't immediately comment. Harold Mester, public information manager for the County Board, said Holloway didn't get a copy of the letter until Wednesday afternoon and wanted to read further before commenting. Walker could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Clarke said the county has been contracting with Wackenhut since 1993 to provide security on bus routes. In January 2006, he said, his office assigned deputies to Milwaukee County Transit System security due to rider complaints about disorder and criminal conduct on county buses. Clarke said his office used its own personnel to restore order with the idea of handing the services back to Wackenhut. "After nearly two years, we have not been able to turn this over to Wackenhut," Clarke said in the letter, "not because we haven't established an acceptable amount of order, but because we fear that we will have to come back due to Wackenhut's mismanagement." Clarke said his office attempted to get deployment data from Wackenhut and, after initial resistance, Wackenhut officials said they didn't retain the data the sheriff's office was looking for. "They have flat-out stonewalled our effort to obtain data necessary for us to make deployment decisions with our limited resources," Clarke said in the letter. A spokesman for Walker said it would be up to county supervisors to decide whether to order an audit of Wackenhut.

Milwaukee County Jail
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TransCor

October 15, 2007 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
A Milwaukee County Board committee on Tuesday rejected a plan by Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. to privatize inmate transport services with a company in Nashville, Tenn. Clarke said the job could be done more efficiently, free 15 deputies to work on more intensive law enforcement and save the county $325,000 a year. Supervisors said the move hadn't been well thought out and should not have been included in County Executive Scott Walker's budget proposal. The finance committee voted 6-0 to reject the $1.5 million privatization plan, after the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association presented information critical of TransCor America. The material included news accounts of escapes of prisoners being transported by TransCor, which bills itself as the largest inmate transport company in the United States. The association filed a lawsuit last week to stop the change, arguing that Clarke lacked legal authority to hire an outside company for prisoner transport. Supervisors questioned whether public safety would be compromised by using a private company for moving inmates. But sheriff's Inspector Kevin Carr said, "I don't think the citizens in our county are going to notice the difference of who picks up the inmates at Waupun (state prison) and brings them down here to court."

New Lisbon
New Lisbon, Wisconsin
CCA

June 22, 2002
A judge has rejected a claim by a Wisconsin inmate held in an out-of-state prison that his sentence should be reduced. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Callaway ruled that Wisconsin laws on earning good time credit apply to prisoners housed in other states rather than the laws of the host state. Under Wisconsin sentencing laws in place at the time, Sept. 15, 2013 would be his latest discharge date. But Griffin was transferred to the North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Okla., Jan. 6, 1999. According to his calculations, if he earned good time credit as an Oklahoma prisoner would, it would have reduced his sentence by 1,086 days as of the time he filed his suit. Griffin said a Wisconsin law says inmates housed in "an institution in an other state are subject to all provisions of law and regulation concerning the confinement of persons committed for violations of the laws of that state." The Wisconsin Department of Corrections argued Griffin was misapplying the law and other sections of state statutes governed parole and reduction of sentences. The department also argued, and Callaway agreed, that North Fork is not a "state correctional facility" because it is a private prison owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America. (The Associated Press State and Local Wire)

June 21, 2002
Wisconsin courts can review the punishment given inmates housed at out-of-state prisons who are disciplined for infractions at those prisons, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. The 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that in punishing seven Wisconsin inmates in 1999, the state Department of Corrections relied improperly upon findings from a hearing at the Whiteville Correctional Facility, a private Tennessee prison owned by Corrections Corp. of America. The court said DOC and the Whiteville prison each violated its own procedures by appointing as hearing examiner a Whiteville employee who had witnessed the riot that occurred Nov. 30, 1999. The hearing examiner found seven of them guilty of participating in the riot, during which about 15 people were taken hostage. DOC recommended that the seven be transferred to the Supermax Correctional Institution in Boscobel. Their appeals to Whiteville's warden were denied. They also challenged their punishment through DOC, which said it couldn't hear their complaints. The Tennessee courts, on the other hand, said the inmates were residents of Wisconsin and should file their appeals in Wisconsin. (Wisconsin State Journal)

June 20, 2002
A disciplinary hearing used to punish seven inmates who were allegedly involved in a disturbance at a private out-of-state prison in Tennessee was invalid because the hearing examiner witnessed the November 1999 riot, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. The 4th District Court of Appeals ruled the state Department of Corrections must hold new administrative hearings to prove the inmates' involvement in the riot, but state officials cannot consider the results of the Tennessee hearing. Corrections spokesman Bill Clausius said. Clausius said the department conducted its own investigation into the disturbance at the privately run prison in Whiteville when it discovered the involvement of the hearing examiner, a Tennessee prison official, and found evidence that a separate group of 19 inmates was involved. During the disturbance, guards used tear gas to get the inmates to release about 15 people taken hostage. Three prison employees were injured. Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America owns and operates the medium security prison in Whiteville, which houses about 770 inmates from Wisconsin. (The Associated Press State and Local wire)

January 2, 2002
A key Republican lawmaker wants to help plug the state's giant budget deficit by delaying the opening of a 750-bed prison in New Lisbon and smaller correctional facilities in Oshkosh and Sturtevant.  Rep. Scott Walker, R-Wauwatosa, chairman of the Assembly Corrections Committee, said his proposal to delay prison opening as well as the hiring of related prison guards and some probation and parole agents should save $14.5 million.  If fewer prison beds open in Wisconsin, more state inmates will have to stay in private and federal prisons in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Minnesota.  Wisconsin pays $44 a day to keep each of 3,443 inmates at out-of-state private prisons run by Correction Corp. of America.  That's a cost of about $55.3 million a year.  But housing inmates at Wisconsin prisons costs more. (Wisconsin State Journal)

Outagamie County Jail
Appleton, Wisconsin
Advanced Correctional Healthcare

April 26, 2008 Post-Crescent
The director of the medical group that employs the Outagamie County Jail's doctor will lead an investigation into an inmate's death, the county's attorney says. Investigators have asked the county to review the medical evaluation and treatment of Curtis Heino, a 27-year-old inmate who died of pneumonia Jan. 13. Advanced Correctional Healthcare, which employs the jail doctor, will lead the investigation, Joe Guidote, the county's lead attorney, said Friday. Guidote said he approved a request Wednesday from the Sheriff's Department to have the medical group's director, Dr. Norman Johnson, conduct the investigation. "We're as interested as anybody else in making sure that the folks in the jail are safe from a medical perspective," he said. "We're confident they'll do a comprehensive evaluation of what happened from a medical standpoint, and we'll take the results when we get them and give them a close look." Advanced Correctional Healthcare employs jail doctors, including Dr. George Shotick, who has worked for the jail since November and signed off on tests of Heino's blood taken by jail medical staff the week he died. Johnson did not return four messages left at his office Friday. His home phone number is not listed. Gehring said earlier this week Shotick would conduct the medical review. Shotick said he discussed only the autopsy results with the sheriff. They discussed the review during a conference call late last week, after Gehring faxed the doctor autopsy results and asked him for his initial impressions of the case, Gehring said Friday. A Winnebago County investigation cleared the Outagamie jail staff of negligence but requested an "independent medical professional" review of how the jail medical staff treated Heino.

Sheboygan County Detention Center
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Aramark
June 6, 2009 Sheboygan Press
A two-time convicted sex offender is going back to prison after resuming a sexual relationship with a former Sheboygan County jail worker who was fired for having sex with him in 2007. The relationship is detailed in the case file of Wydell J. Vaughn, a 28-year-old Sheboygan man sentenced Thursday to a year in prison. Vaughn was out of prison for all of three days before authorities discovered the relationship and put him back behind bars. Court records say Vaughn met Tammy Green, 37, while incarcerated at the Sheboygan County Detention Center in 2007. Green, who was married, was a kitchen worker employed by Aramark, which contracts to provide jail foodservice. Vaughn denied having sexual contact at the jail, but the two began having sex shortly after his release in August 2007, and Green was later fired for having the relationship, court records show. The two were found out when Vaughn called Green’s supervisor to complain their relationship couldn’t move forward since she wouldn’t leave her husband. That relationship — along with other probation violations such as unapproved contact with minors and frequenting parks — led to Vaughn being sent to prison for two years in November 2007. He was released Feb. 24 to a halfway house. Before his release, Vaughn was repeatedly told he could not have contact with Green, and all sex offenders must have relationships approved by a probation agent, but he reestablished contact the day he was released, court records show. Green visited him at a halfway house that day and the next, then had sex with him on the 26th when Vaughn was let out to buy clothes for a court appearance on the 27th. A GPS monitoring bracelet showed the pair drove throughout Sheboygan and also left the city. Green then went with Vaughn to the court hearing, and the two were seen kissing in the courthouse hallway, court record show. Vaughn later called his probation agent from Green’s phone, and Green called the probation agent and identified herself as his girlfriend after he was arrested for having contact with her. That arrest came on Feb. 27, three days after he had been released from prison. He was kept in jail on a probation hold until being sentenced Thursday by Judge Timothy Van Akkeren. Sheriff Mike Helmke said Green was not a county employee, though jail administrators have a say in who can work there. “We conduct a pre-hire background investigation, but other than that the supervision and employment standards and everything are pretty much regulated by her employer,” Helmke said, adding that Aramark made the decision to fire Green. Vaughn was convicted twice in 2002 of felony second-degree sexual assault for having sex with 14- and 15-year-old girls in 2001, when he was 20. He has served a total of more than five years in prison in the cases, all but two years of it resulting from probation violations.

Stanley Correctional Facility
Chippewa, Wisconsin
Dominion

May 17, 2006 Journal-Sentinel
The Stanley prison that a private company built - and which the state ended up buying for $87.1 million - violates electrical, plumbing and safety codes that will cost taxpayers an additional $5 million to repair. The State Building Commission on Wednesday voted to spend that money to fix a long list of major problems at the Stanley prison. The vote came after commissioners complained that buying the prison built by Dominion Asset Services of Edmond, Okla., was a major mistake. The commission also told the state Department of Corrections to investigate whether the Oklahoma company can be sued over the code violations. The prison played a role in the corruption conviction of former state Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison). Dominion executives gave $125,000 to Independent Citizens for Democracy, a campaign group Chvala illegally controlled in the summer of 2001, records in Chvala's criminal case show. Chvala changed his position on the prison and agreed to the state purchase of the facility after the donations. Chvala was convicted last year of two felonies and is serving a nine-month sentence on home detention. State officials said they had no choice but to correct dozens of code violations at the prison, which held 1,511 male inmates last week. "This is the Legislature's fault," said Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Berlin). "Now, we have to fix it up." Olsen said legislators should have demanded a discount on the purchase price of the Stanley prison, since state officials had a strong bargaining position and could have decided whether or when it opened. "This was a serious mistake, and a boondoggle of the nth degree," said Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison). "They sold it to us, and it didn't meet code." Risser said the Dominion firm "made a nice profit" when the Legislature and then-Gov. Scott McCallum agreed in 2001 to buy the prison. Dominion employees also donated $4,000 to McCallum's re-election campaign. Proper procedures ignored. "We're wasting $5 million on this," said Sen. Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh). "This company totally did not follow (code) requirements." Gov. Jim Doyle, chairman of the Building Commission, said proper procedures were not followed when the state purchased the prison. As attorney general in 2001, Doyle had advised legislators that no inmates could be placed in the prison until it was either leased or bought by the state. The process normally used in state building projects was circumvented for the Stanley prison, the governor said, noting that the Legislature and governor must jointly agree on what is needed, and then the Building Commission must formally approve the plan. The Stanley fiasco led to new laws prohibiting the speculative construction of prisons. State government bought the prison in 2002, with the code violations "not readily observable upon inspection," state officials said. Code problems that must be corrected include those in heating and cooling systems. Also, the state must install smoke controls in housing units and electrical grounding wires, rebuild electric conductors, and move metal stairs. Construction is expected to start next April and be finished by June 2008. Assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney David Feiss, who prosecuted Chvala, said he mentioned at sentencing the $125,000 that Dominion officials gave to the campaign group the Democratic senator controlled. Told of the code violations, Feiss said, "The entire transaction is sordid, so it is not surprising that there are details that were not known then." Calls to Dominion were not returned Wednesday. In 2001, Dominion Asset Services hired several lobbyists to push state purchase of the Stanley prison through the Legislature. Also lobbying for the purchase were western Wisconsin legislators and Stanley elected officials. In 2001, according to state Ethics Board records, those lobbyists included former Senate Majority Leader Joe Strohl (D-Racine) and former Rep. Rosemary Potter (D-Milwaukee); John Matthews, former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Tommy G. Thompson; and Ray Carey, a friend of then-Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield). Jensen pushed for state purchase of the prison during the 2001 legislative session. Jensen was sentenced to 15 months in prison Tuesday after being convicted of three felony and one misdemeanor counts of having Assembly workers campaign on state time.

February 13, 2006 AP
Employees of at least seven companies donated to Gov. Jim Doyle's re-election campaign around the same time the state picked their firms for no-bid contracts totaling more than $36.1 million, according to an Associated Press review. Campaign finance reports show McCallum received $4,001 in 2001 from executives of an Oklahoma company that built a private prison in Wisconsin hoping the state would buy it. The money came in one week before the state Building Commission, chaired by McCallum, approved buying the prison for $75 million.

December 31, 2005 Journal Sentinel
Lobbyist Bill Broydrick testified in 2002 about how Chuck Chvala, the former Senate majority leader, solicited lobbyists and their clients for contributions. With Chvala scheduled to begin a nine-month jail sentence on Feb. 13 after pleading guilty to two felony corruption charges, Broydrick was recently shown a summary of his then-secret 2002 testimony about how the former Senate majority leader solicited lobbyists and their clients for contributions. Prosecutors say another group that got what it wanted was Dominion Asset Services, which built a prison in Stanley that it was trying to sell to the state. Dominion officials wrote one check for $50,000 on June 1, 2001, and another for $75,000 on July 1, 2001, to Independent Citizens for Democracy-Issues Inc., court records show. ICD-Issues was the group Chvala set up to get "soft money" donations from corporations - companies barred by state law from giving directly to state candidates and their campaign committees. On July 25, 2001, Chvala and Republicans brokered a final budget that included $79.9 million to buy the Stanley prison. Assembly Republicans long supported the purchase of the Stanley prison, but they were unable to get the deal through the Legislature because of Chvala's opposition to the deal. "And then, suddenly and surprisingly, he allowed it to go through," said Rep. Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield), who was speaker of the Assembly at the time. Dominion built the prison even though state law bars private companies from operating prisons. The state could have used the law to negotiate a lower price because only the state and federal governments could buy the facility, critics said at the time. Jensen defended the purchase decision, saying it helped move prisoners held out of state closer to their families while creating jobs in Stanley, near Eau Claire. Around that time, Dominion employees gave $500 to Jensen and $500 to Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah), who offered the budget amendment to purchase the prison. Employees also gave $4,000 to then-Gov. Scott McCallum, a Republican, and $9,600 to Senate Democrats. After the state bought the prison, it delayed its opening for almost a year, after the state determined it would cost more to run the state facility than to keep inmates in out-of-state facilities.

July 17, 2002
Outraged Stanley Correctional Facility staff and local politicians packed the dining room of the Renegade restaurant to overflowing Tuesday afternoon.  "It's not just our jobs," said Sgt. Zahn Erdman of Chippewa Falls.  "This is our careers."  Erdman has one of the nearly 200 prison jobs in limbo until the proposed January opening of the facility.  It had been scheduled to open in September with training scheduled to begin this week.  Gov. Scott McCallum accepted a proposal last week by Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, to save the jobs of 77 correctional officers who had been scheduled to be immediately laid off because of the delay.  If the budget hadn't been approved, the prison might not have opened until 2004, if ever, McCallum told SuderSuder showed McCallum and his staff figures indicating it will cost the state $1.3 million to delay the prison opening until January.  Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, said most prisons in Wisconsin are at 130 percent of capacity.  If the Stanley prison were to open, 60 prisoners per week could be taken from the overcrowded prisons and brought into the Stanley facility.  (The News-Herald)

July 9, 2002
The controversial Stanley prison was at the heart of a deal that finally capped six months of debate over how the state should rid itself of a $1.1 billion budget deficit. Gov. Scott McCallum and Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) struck the deal, which preserves prison jobs in Suder's area. "The governor and I had a long conversation about the Stanley prison, and we wound up saving 77 jobs that were scheduled to be laid off because of the impending delay," Suder said. "They will be retained at various institutions, including Stanley." As part of the deal, the hiring of another 108 workers will be accelerated, Suder said. "Scott proposed a plan that places the Stanley workers in correctional facilities in the area until the prison opens," McCallum said. "I believe his approach is reasonable, and we will make it work." The budget includes a Democratic Senate proposal that pushed back the opening of the 1,500-bed facility near Chippewa Falls from Sept. 1 until Jan. 1. Other costs associated with the prison mount as it awaits inmates. State taxpayers are spending more than $350,000 a month for salaries, utilities and payment on the prison. (The Journal Sentinel)

July 5, 2002
State Rep. Scott Suder is hoping to kill a budget provision that would delay the opening of the Stanley prison in Chippewa County by four months. Suder, R-Abbotsford, and state Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, are pushing Gov. Scott McCallum to eliminate a state budget provision that would delay the prison's opening from Sept. 1 until January 2003. Senate Republicans sharply criticized the delay. Zien said the delayed opening unfairly toyed with the lives of people already working at the prison and those of people who have been preparing to start their new jobs. He also said opening the prison would allow the state to bring back some of the prisoners now housed in out-of-state facilities because of overcrowding at Wisconsin facilities (The gannet Wisconsin ).

Tomas Cantreras
November 1, 2007 Laredo Morning Times
When Wendolyne Morales received a letter from the Corrections Corporation of America on Saunders Street, and then spoke with the detainee's wife in Wisconsin, she knew she was onto something. The KLDO-Univision investigative reporter spent six months working on a series of 10 stories related to Tomas Contreras, a resident alien detained at the border for a drug charge and fine he paid nearly 20 years ago. With the help of photographers Elsa De Leon, Guillermo Rodriguez, Ruben Carranza and Sammy de la Garza, Morales did stories on the detainee's plight with the government's mandatory detention law. In particular, the last one she filed in June, after Contreras was released, propelled her into the big leagues. This weekend, at a sumptuous gala event in Dallas, her name was announced after the presenter said, "And the Emmy goes to … " Morales had just become Laredo's first television reporter to win an Emmy Award. "I feel very happy and I'm so proud to belong to the team that I do," she said. "More than anything, it feels good to know that our competitors were the big sharks." Her entry beat out six other English- and Spanish-language reporters from the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio television markets in the Lone Star Emmy category for Specialty Assignment Report-Single News Story. Since the Emmys opened a chapter in Texas five years ago, this is the first time a KLDO entry made it into the finals, and the first time that a Laredo television news network brought home a trophy. A native of Guanajuato, Mexico, Morales came to Laredo in the seventh-grade and graduated from Cigarroa High School and the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts, where she focused on television, film and communications. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in communications and previously worked for Univision in Corpus Christi. Dressed in a long, red evening gown that Saturday night, Morales was accompanied by Maria Montoya, Maria de la Luz de Alba and Alma Blanco. These are her best friends, "my sisters," she said, describing them as her mentors and role models when they worked together at another local television station several years ago. "We grabbed hands and when the announcer said my name, we screamed," Morales said. "I was so excited and emocionada (emotional) and when I get like that I stumble my words. I didn't even know what I was saying." What attracted Morales to her award-winning story was how the mandatory detention laws, enacted immediately after 9/11, are dividing families and creating undue hardship and suffering, she said. Meant to catch terrorists at points of entry, the mandatory detention laws are now detaining people, regardless of their immigration status, for crimes committed decades ago. "They need to modify the laws because they are punishing people who went through the whole process to come into the country legally," Morales said. "They are detaining people for long periods of time, for six months or longer," Morales said. "It's dividing families and making people lose their jobs, because what job is going to wait six months for you to come back?" In her stories, Morales focused on Contreras, a resident alien and successful businessman in Wisconsin. He was detained for an 18-year-old drug charge by Laredo officials at the bridge upon returning from a family vacation in Mexico. In 1989, Contreras was fined for drug possession when police found cocaine residue in a car he was borrowing from a friend. Contreras has since built up a successful career. As part of her series, Morales filmed part of Contreras' family protesting outside CCA on a cold early Saturday morning, even though she and the photographer, Guillermo Rodriguez, are off weekends. She also interviewed Contreras after he was released six months later and learned about the mistreatment and poor conditions facing detainees behind bars. After she spoke with his wife in January, Morales said she knew she had to "at least investigate." She began calling CCA officials and U.S. Customs officials in San Antonio, and stayed on top of the story. "When we won on Saturday, we were able to show that Hispanic reporters can also put out an excellent product and can compete with the big North American chains," she said.

September 24, 2007 Laredo Morning Times
For the first time in history, a television reporter working in Laredo has been nominated for an Emmy Award. Univision reporter Wendolyne Morales was recently named a possible recipient of a Lone Star Emmy Award in the Specialty Assignment Report-Single News Story category. "I was very surprised, but more than anything I was grateful for the support from God and (Univision General Manager) Terry Elena Ordaz and (anchor) Osvaldo Corral," Morales said. Morales said she received tremendous support and encouragement from the Univision team when she was working on the story of a resident alien, Tomas Contreras. Contreras was living in Wisconsin but was detained by officials in Laredo when he crossed the border while returning from a vacation with his family. "He had a previous drug charge, and was detained under the mandatory detention law," Morales said. "He is a successful businessman and a good person. (The authorities) just wanted to detain him." Morales said Contreras had long since paid his debt to society, but was detained at the Corrections Corporation of America detention facility on Saunders Street in east Laredo, nonetheless. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Contreras owns five businesses and was only required to pay a fine after police found cocaine residue in a car Contreras was driving in 1989. The car belonged to another individual. After Morales' report, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. became involved in the matter, and local news media in Milwaukee also took notice of the issue. Contreras was freed shortly thereafter. "I am proud of Wendolyne and the entire news team," Ordaz said. "This proves that the level of reporting at Univision really reaches high standards. Maybe now, as a consequence, they may change the laws." Ordaz said the report came as a result of Morales being well respected and having confidence in her sources, as do all the reporters at Univision, she said. "Just to know that we were actually picked, it's wonderful," Ordaz said. Morales has been at Univision in Laredo for about two years, Ordaz said. The Emmy awards ceremony takes place Oct. 27 in Dallas.

July 19, 2007 The Capital Times
Tomas Contreras, a Madison businessman held for 81 days earlier this year when he tried to re-enter the United States, is working to expose the cruelties, including a two-week stay in an isolation chamber, that he said he was subjected to at privately run detention centers in Texas. "One night after midnight, I was sleeping and a whole bunch of people showed up. They tied me up and beat me," Contreras, his voice catching, told a forum on immigration issues in Whitewater last week. Contreras appeared with a "Reality Tour" of the state organized by Voces de la Frontera -- a rally at the State Capitol in Madison, a forum in Whitewater, a stop in Milwaukee -- to tell of what he calls abuses in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. "Every time I get into what was going on back there, what happened to these people, it breaks me," Contreras said in a recent interview at his family's east side carpet cleaning business. The experience took 90 pounds off his 260-pound frame, he said, weight that he's putting back on since he was released following an order by a federal judge on March 30. Contreras was taken into custody in early January after a computer check at the border as he and his family were returning from Mexico. The check turned up a 1989 arrest in Illinois, where a trace of cocaine was found in the car in which Contreras was riding. He said he paid a $250 fine and was told he would have no record. Although he has lived legally in the United States since 1964, Contreras is not a U.S. citizen, so his drug conviction was a deportable offense under a 1996 law. He has crossed the border without incident many times since then, but ICE recently upgraded its computers at the border, which may be why he was detained this time. Tough Texas treatment: Contreras was held at three ICE facilities in Texas run by private companies under contract with the federal government. At the Laredo Processing Center in Laredo, run by Tennessee-based Corrections Corp. of America, a national prison services giant, Contreras said he was placed in a large dormitory with 80 or more men from around the world. He saw fights among detainees and unprovoked force used by guards on detainees. His objections to rough treatment by guards of other detainees brought threats of retaliation, he said. Contreras launched a hunger strike and encouraged others to join him in protest of treatment there, as his wife, Carmen, gave reports on the protest to Spanish-language media. Contreras said in an interview that he and six other men who challenged guards' treatment of detainees were shackled and beaten as they were transferred to another facility. He said after he was awakened in the middle of the night and yanked from his bunk, his wrists and ankles were shackled to his waist, and he was prodded repeatedly -- hard -- by a guard wielding a police baton. Because their shackled feet could not step up high enough to get into a transport van, Contreras said, he and others we picked up and thrown in. "They tossed us all in there like animals." Contreras said the incident left bruises on his legs and arms, and his arms were cut when guards used tools to snap off the plastic restraints. He was transferred to Corrections Corp.'s Webb County Detention Center, also in Laredo, where he continued his hunger strike. After a letter from U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin to ICE officials, solicited by Contreras' family, he said he was transferred to the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall, run by the international GEO Group Inc. After a dispute with a guard about an assignment to a lower bunk, which Contreras said was made by GEO's medical unit, he said he was put in a 5-foot-by-6-foot isolation cell. He stayed in the metal cell, with bunk, toilet and sink, for two weeks, he said. The prescribed periods of release, for showering, exercise and visits, sometimes were not given because there weren't enough guards on duty, he added. Steve Owen, Corrections Corp.'s director of marketing, referred requests for comment to ICE, saying that was ICE's policy. Nina Pruneda in ICE's public affairs office in San Antonio said she could find no record in Contreras' file "of the things he said he witnessed and endured. We are looking into the matter." GEO spokesman Pablo Paez said as a matter of policy, the company does not comment on "third party allegations" like those made by Contreras, but said that all of GEO's facilities are run in accordance with the American Correctional Association's standards for humane treatment. A spokesperson in Baldwin's office said they had received no further requests from Contreras since his release, but said Baldwin would ask the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to "investigate issues raised by the Contreras case in its review of possible civil liberties violations and its review of the consequences of privatizing basic government services." The committee, under Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is reviewing Bush administration practices and policies. Waxman's office said that on Baldwin's request, the committee would look into it. "If she thinks this is an important issue, the committee will treat it very seriously," Waxman said in a prepared statement. Contreras said he and six others held in the detention centers are preparing a federal suit. The San Antonio attorney he said was representing them did not return calls seeking comment. Contreras said the suit will seek to force the government to improve conditions at the prison. "I'm not doing it for the money. I'm doing it so they treat people right," Contreras said. "Somebody has got to say enough is enough.' "

April 14, 2007 Wisconsin State Journal
I wonder when the U.S. immigration officials realized they made a terrible mistake by detaining Madison businessman Tom Contreras. Was it when he turned down special privileges in the for-profit jail run by Corrections Corporation of America near Laredo, Texas, asking, "What about these other people?" Was it when he organized a six-day hunger strike against conditions that included overcrowding and no medical care? Or when the TV crew from Univision, the Spanish language station, arrived on the scene? Or when the letters started arriving from U.S. Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold and from U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and from regular Madison people who know Tom Contreras as a businessman, employer and supporter of local charities? Certainly, when Contreras, a legal U.S. resident since 1964, finally got his day in court on March 30, it took immigration Judge Bertha Zuniga just a few minutes of reading his file to realize that a mistake had been made. "She told me she was proud to release me," Contreras said. "She told me, 'Go back to your life and keep helping others.'" Contreras and his wife, Carmen, made it home to Madison on Friday after stopping by Fort Polk, in Louisiana, to see their son, Tomas, 21. He completed basic training in the U.S. Army while his father was being detained and is scheduled to be shipped out to the Middle East. While the family members were traveling, an official government letter arrived at their home in Madison inviting Tom Contreras to be fingerprinted as his application to be a U.S. citizen took another step forward. While his wife and three children are citizens, Tom Contreras had delayed because of a now-changed Mexican law that forbade non-Mexican citizens from owning property there. On Saturday, Contreras family members and their friends gathered in the April sunshine in the side lot of T.C. Carpet Cleaning on Fair Oaks Avenue. There was the sound of music, the smell of grilling meat, and the heartwarming sight of Contreras' youngest granddaughter, Sophia, toddling over and giving Grandpa's leg a big hug. "We want to thank everyone who supported us," said Contreras' wife, Carmen. She said the family was overwhelmed with calls and letters of support. "The mayor even sent people (to the family businesses) to offer help." The family's nightmare began on Jan. 9, when the Contrerases, along with their older granddaughter, were returning to Madison from visiting family in Mexico. While Contreras estimates he has crossed the border "a hundred times," a new computer at the border came up with a minor drug possession ticket from 1989. A federal law passed in 1996, which applies retroactively, allows the government to deport noncitizens for crimes that include any drug-related offense. Stories like his were common at the deportation center. "There was a Cuban who was caught with a joint (of marijuana) in 1982," Contreras said. "They can't deport Cubans because Cuba won't accept them. He's been there six months, and he's still there." Others were being deported to countries they don't remember. "There were people who have been here all their lives and they're being deported to countries where they don't even speak the language," he said. Contreras said that conditions were awful: more than 100 people crowded into a space for 30, only six toilets, awful food, and non- existent medical care that left "people crying in pain." "You don't have any rights because supposedly they're going to deport you, they're never going to see you again, so they know you can't come back and complain," he said. "And, they make money on you." But, here's the interesting thing. Tomas Contreras took notes every single day of the 81 days he was in detention of the abuse he witnessed. He hopes to sit down with the staffs of the senators who helped him and expose what is going on in the name of homeland security. As his wife, Carmen, said, they support keeping the borders safe, yet oppose a system that would distinguish between people who are threats and those who aren't. Contreras said he can't forget those he left behind in detention: "I am going back to help the people who are still there."

Waukesha County Facility
Waukesha, Wisconsin
North Atlantic Extradition Service (formerly run by TransCor/CCA)

January 21, 2010 TMJ4
Waukesha County's DA has told Today's TMJ-4 the county is ending its relationship with North Atlantic Extradition. The county's contract expires within days and it will not be renewed. Guards for North Atlantic were transporting accused hitman Justin Welch from California to Wisconsin when Welch escaped earlier this month. Welch has been charged with killing a woman from Oconomowoc in her home last year. He was caught a day after his escape and has since been returned to Wisconsin. He is behind bars awaiting trial. North Atlantic staffers apologized and told Waukesha County the escape was a mistake and it happened because company policies were not followed. The county's law enforcement officials say they're planning to review what happened in depth once a complete investigation is done but for now they do not intend to renew the prisoner transportation contract with North Atlantic.

January 14, 2010 Press Argus-Courier
A Wisconsin homicide suspect who escaped Wednesday from a transport van in Dora was recaptured shortly after noon Thursday in Sallisaw. Justin Welch hitched a ride with a trucker Thursday, and the way he was acting made the driver "suspicious," Van Buren Lt. Brent Grill said Thursday afternoon. He said the trucker either called or texted a family member to express concerns, and the family member alerted Sallisaw police, leading to Welch's capture. Grill said Welch was currently being held at the Sallisaw Police Department, and he was not sure if he would be booked into the Sequoyah County Jail or taken elsewhere. Grill said he was still gathering details, including where Welch spent Wednesday night after reportedly being seen headed east in a private prison transport van Wednesday. Grill said the van has not been located yet. Welch was one of five prisoners being transported by North Atlantic Extraditon Service, a private transport company from Mississippi. The van stopped at the I-40 rest stop in Dora so Welch and the other four prisoners could use the restroom. Grill said Welch stabbed and beat one of the guards, taking his gun and fleeing to the van, where he struggled with the other, unarmed guard, firing a shot at him but missing.

January 13, 2010 Press Argus-Courier
A manhunt is on for a California man accused of murder who escaped Wednesday morning from a private prison transport van at a rest stop in Dora on Interstate 40. According to the Van Buren Police Department, Justin Welch was being transported along with four other prisoners when the driver stopped at the I-40 rest area in Dora around 2:45 a.m. The five prisoners were in the bathroom when Welch is believed to have stabbed the guard in the hand and started beating him in the head area. Van Buren Lt. Brent Grill said Welch then took the handgun from the guard and fled from the bathroom to the van, where he confronted the second, unarmed guard, firing a shot at him in the struggle. Welch then left the area in the transport van, possibly heading east on the interstate. The van is a white 2007 Dodge, marked on both sides with the letters NAES, as well as the words "North Atlantic Extradition Service" Since the transport company is out of Columbus, Miss., the van has Mississippi license plates LTC537. The guard who was stabbed was taken to Summit Medical Center, where he was treated and released. The other guard was not injured.

July 27, 2001
A prisoner transportation company that has been accused of losing and mistreating inmates allowed the escape of a Wisconsin teen who later made his way to Texas, where he is charged with attempting to kill a police officer.  Officials at TransCor America Inc. acknowledge their employee botched the case of the teenage runaway, who wasn't handcuffed when he fled Mitchell International Airport June 19.  The Darien teen stayed on the lam for six days after escaping from the TransCor guard, stealing two cars in Missouri as he headed for Mexico, authorities said.  He was stopped for not paying for gasoline at a service station in Texas and, after a high- speed chase, stabbed an officer in the neck during a struggle, according to police and a criminal complaint.  David R. Puckett, 17, remains jailed on a charge of attempted capital murder in Hallettsville, Texas.  Fault acknowledged "Our employee did not follow proper procedures in restraining him immediately after deplaning. He was terminated," said Chuck Goggin, vice president of TransCor America, which bills itself as the "largest and most experienced" company in the prisoner transportation industry.  (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Wisconsin Department of Corrections
CCA
August 4, 2004
The state now has fewer than 500 inmates in out-of-state prisons, but Wisconsin prisons remain thousands of prisoners over capacity.  Thanks for participating. Please check back for results.Important to bring out-of-state prisoners back? Do you think it's important for state officials to focus on bringing out-of-state prisoners back? Yes No State Corrections officials have been working to bring all prisoners back to Wisconsin by next year. Wisconsin has 432 prisoners in Minnesota and two in Oklahoma. That's about 1,200 fewer in out-of-state prisons than four months ago.  The state prison system has 22,000 inmates -- about 5,300 over capacity.  Corrections officials are exploring ways to alleviate overcrowding through alternative treatment options and additional community corrections programs.  Gov. Jim Doyle takes credit for cutting the number of out-of-state prisoners in half since he took office. Doyle says that Wisconsin does a better job of managing its prison population and offers many new in-prison treatment programs, such as drug and alcohol treatment and boot camp-like programs that focus on rehabilitation.  (The Milwaukee Channel)

December 8, 2003
Wisconsin will be able to bring home more than 200 inmates from out-of-state private prisons in 2004 under agreements with 11 county jails to rent space for prisoners, state officials said Thursday.  Inmates already in Wisconsin prisons will be moved to the county jails under the agreement to make room for the 276 out-of-state prisoners who will return to the state.  Wisconsin currently houses 1,986 inmates at prisons in Minnesota and Oklahoma operated by Corrections Corporation of America. The state Department of Corrections has relied on the out-of-state prisons for several years to alleviate overcrowding in Wisconsin prisons.  In Minnesota, CCA operates the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.  The corrections department already has contracts with five of the 11 counties to house about 215 inmates, paying between $51 and $53 per inmate per day.  All of the counties agreed to accept $49.96 per inmate per day under the new one-year deal, the same the state pays to house inmates at out-of-state private prisons, corrections spokesman Bill Clausius said.  "The funds that cover the costs of housing these offenders will stay in Wisconsin," Gov. Jim Doyle said. "Most importantly, the agreement will improve rehabilitation efforts and ultimately make communities safer."  (AP)

January 31, 2003
Wisconsin could bring back all but 500 prisoners of nearly 3,500 now being housed in other states by the end of next year, if the state Department of Corrections was allowed use all its available prison space, Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher said Tuesday.  Litscher made the comments after the Legislature's budget writing committee approved a new $56 million-a-year, three-year contract with a private company to keep up to 5,500 prisoners outside the Wisconsin prison system.  Despite concerns voiced by some lawmakers, approving the contract with Corrections Corporation of America won't further delay openings of the prisons, Litscher said. An increase in prison population, prompted in part by Truth-in-Sentencing legislation, means the state still will need "contract beds," even when all five prisons are operating at capacity, Litscher said.  As of Dec. 6, CCA had custody of 4,017 Wisconsin prisoners, of whom 3,482 were housed in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Tennessee under the company's current contract with the state. Another 535 state prisoners were being housed by CCA in federal prisons or county jails.  "The people we're employing in Tennessee don't pay taxes here, and they don't spend their money here," said Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center. Housing prisoners out of state appears to be cheaper, based on the $48.50 a day rate the state will pay CCA next year. But that doesn't consider economic boost from payroll and other businesses and development associated with operation of the prison, Schultz said.  (La Crosse Tribune)

December 10, 2002 
State corrections officials want a new 3-year contract to house inmates in private prisons in other states - a controversial idea that would let Gov.-elect Jim Doyle and legislators keep up to 5,500 prisoners at a time outside Wisconsin through 2005.  In a letter to the Legislature's budget committee, Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher say the current contract with the CCA ends Dec. 21. He recommends a 3-year deal at rising costs - including an immediate 10% jump in the daily cost.  In the campaign for governor, Doyle repeatedly said he wanted the number of out-of-state inmates reduced, but offered no plan to do that.  The request for a new contract for out-of-state prison beds must receive approval from the full Legislature, which does not convene until January, of the Joint Finance Committee, which is tentatively scheduled to meet next week.  Wisconsin began exporting more inmates than any other state in 1996, when soaring prison populations exceeded the capacity of crowded state prisons..  (JS Online)

Wisconsin Legislature
CCA, Dominion
May 17, 2006 Journal-Sentinel
The Stanley prison that a private company built - and which the state ended up buying for $87.1 million - violates electrical, plumbing and safety codes that will cost taxpayers an additional $5 million to repair. The State Building Commission on Wednesday voted to spend that money to fix a long list of major problems at the Stanley prison. The vote came after commissioners complained that buying the prison built by Dominion Asset Services of Edmond, Okla., was a major mistake. The commission also told the state Department of Corrections to investigate whether the Oklahoma company can be sued over the code violations. The prison played a role in the corruption conviction of former state Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison). Dominion executives gave $125,000 to Independent Citizens for Democracy, a campaign group Chvala illegally controlled in the summer of 2001, records in Chvala's criminal case show. Chvala changed his position on the prison and agreed to the state purchase of the facility after the donations. Chvala was convicted last year of two felonies and is serving a nine-month sentence on home detention. State officials said they had no choice but to correct dozens of code violations at the prison, which held 1,511 male inmates last week. "This is the Legislature's fault," said Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Berlin). "Now, we have to fix it up." Olsen said legislators should have demanded a discount on the purchase price of the Stanley prison, since state officials had a strong bargaining position and could have decided whether or when it opened. "This was a serious mistake, and a boondoggle of the nth degree," said Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison). "They sold it to us, and it didn't meet code." Risser said the Dominion firm "made a nice profit" when the Legislature and then-Gov. Scott McCallum agreed in 2001 to buy the prison. Dominion employees also donated $4,000 to McCallum's re-election campaign. Proper procedures ignored. "We're wasting $5 million on this," said Sen. Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh). "This company totally did not follow (code) requirements." Gov. Jim Doyle, chairman of the Building Commission, said proper procedures were not followed when the state purchased the prison. As attorney general in 2001, Doyle had advised legislators that no inmates could be placed in the prison until it was either leased or bought by the state. The process normally used in state building projects was circumvented for the Stanley prison, the governor said, noting that the Legislature and governor must jointly agree on what is needed, and then the Building Commission must formally approve the plan. The Stanley fiasco led to new laws prohibiting the speculative construction of prisons. State government bought the prison in 2002, with the code violations "not readily observable upon inspection," state officials said. Code problems that must be corrected include those in heating and cooling systems. Also, the state must install smoke controls in housing units and electrical grounding wires, rebuild electric conductors, and move metal stairs. Construction is expected to start next April and be finished by June 2008. Assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney David Feiss, who prosecuted Chvala, said he mentioned at sentencing the $125,000 that Dominion officials gave to the campaign group the Democratic senator controlled. Told of the code violations, Feiss said, "The entire transaction is sordid, so it is not surprising that there are details that were not known then." Calls to Dominion were not returned Wednesday. In 2001, Dominion Asset Services hired several lobbyists to push state purchase of the Stanley prison through the Legislature. Also lobbying for the purchase were western Wisconsin legislators and Stanley elected officials. In 2001, according to state Ethics Board records, those lobbyists included former Senate Majority Leader Joe Strohl (D-Racine) and former Rep. Rosemary Potter (D-Milwaukee); John Matthews, former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Tommy G. Thompson; and Ray Carey, a friend of then-Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield). Jensen pushed for state purchase of the prison during the 2001 legislative session. Jensen was sentenced to 15 months in prison Tuesday after being convicted of three felony and one misdemeanor counts of having Assembly workers campaign on state time.

February 13, 2006 AP
Employees of at least seven companies donated to Gov. Jim Doyle's re-election campaign around the same time the state picked their firms for no-bid contracts totaling more than $36.1 million, according to an Associated Press review. Campaign finance reports show McCallum received $4,001 in 2001 from executives of an Oklahoma company that built a private prison in Wisconsin hoping the state would buy it. The money came in one week before the state Building Commission, chaired by McCallum, approved buying the prison for $75 million.

February 2, 2006 Journal-Sentinel
Two former legislative leaders - one of whom is now a state Supreme Court justice - are prepared to testify that campaigning on state time was widespread and stretched back until at least the late 1970s, according to summaries of their testimony filed Thursday in state Rep. Scott Jensen's corruption case. If a Dane County judge allows the testimony, Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and lobbyist Joseph Strohl will testify about their time leading the Legislature. That testimony is intended to benefit Jensen, a Town of Brookfield Republican who is to go to trial Feb. 21 on felony charges of directing aides to campaign on state time. "What Jensen is accused of has gone on for many years," Strohl said Thursday. "I'm sort of glad that they didn't come after me when I was there. I didn't realize what we were doing was so improper." Strohl is a Racine Democrat who served as Senate majority leader from 1986 to 1990. He said that he would tell jurors that lawmakers routinely solicited campaign cash in their Capitol offices. He said lawmakers did not accept checks in their offices and did not discuss donations in connection with bills pending before the Legislature, which would have been a clear violation of the state's pay-to-play statute. Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard called Strohl's proposed testimony "misleading . . . confusing and a waste of time" in a brief filed Thursday that argued against allowing testimony from Strohl and Prosser. Blanchard's brief echoed a motion he filed last week that says such testimony would not exonerate Jensen because using state resources to campaign clearly is a crime. "A claim that 'other guys were doing it' is a confession, not a defense," Blanchard wrote. Two of Jensen's colleagues, former Majority Leader Steve Foti (R-Oconomowoc) and Rep. Bonnie Ladwig (R-Racine), recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanors to avoid trial on directing aides to campaign on state time. Former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison) and former Sen. Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee) pleaded guilty last year to felonies for directing aides to campaign on state time. Burke is now serving a six-month sentence under home confinement. Chvala will begin a nine-month jail sentence Feb. 13. Jensen's latest filing came two days after he submitted more than 50 pages of Department of Justice memos in which Democratic Assembly workers acknowledged widespread campaigning on state time in the 1998 and 2000 elections. Strohl, the former Senate majority leader, said in an interview it was "common practice" for legislators to make fund-raising calls from their Capitol offices. Sometime between 1988 and 1990, Strohl installed a personal phone line in his office after Senate Chief Clerk Donald Schneider advised him he shouldn't make fund-raising calls on a state phone, Strohl said. Strohl is now a lobbyist for the Menominee Indian tribe, the Corrections Corporation of America, Wellpoint Inc. and others.

December 31, 2005 Journal Sentinel
Lobbyist Bill Broydrick testified in 2002 about how Chuck Chvala, the former Senate majority leader, solicited lobbyists and their clients for contributions. With Chvala scheduled to begin a nine-month jail sentence on Feb. 13 after pleading guilty to two felony corruption charges, Broydrick was recently shown a summary of his then-secret 2002 testimony about how the former Senate majority leader solicited lobbyists and their clients for contributions. Prosecutors say another group that got what it wanted was Dominion Asset Services, which built a prison in Stanley that it was trying to sell to the state. Dominion officials wrote one check for $50,000 on June 1, 2001, and another for $75,000 on July 1, 2001, to Independent Citizens for Democracy-Issues Inc., court records show. ICD-Issues was the group Chvala set up to get "soft money" donations from corporations - companies barred by state law from giving directly to state candidates and their campaign committees. On July 25, 2001, Chvala and Republicans brokered a final budget that included $79.9 million to buy the Stanley prison. Assembly Republicans long supported the purchase of the Stanley prison, but they were unable to get the deal through the Legislature because of Chvala's opposition to the deal. "And then, suddenly and surprisingly, he allowed it to go through," said Rep. Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield), who was speaker of the Assembly at the time. Dominion built the prison even though state law bars private companies from operating prisons. The state could have used the law to negotiate a lower price because only the state and federal governments could buy the facility, critics said at the time. Jensen defended the purchase decision, saying it helped move prisoners held out of state closer to their families while creating jobs in Stanley, near Eau Claire. Around that time, Dominion employees gave $500 to Jensen and $500 to Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah), who offered the budget amendment to purchase the prison. Employees also gave $4,000 to then-Gov. Scott McCallum, a Republican, and $9,600 to Senate Democrats. After the state bought the prison, it delayed its opening for almost a year, after the state determined it would cost more to run the state facility than to keep inmates in out-of-state facilities.

October 17, 2005 WisPolitics.Com
Representative Spencer Black announced today that he is drafting legislation to ban contributions to state candidates from outside Wisconsin. Black's bill comes on the heels of press accounts that Governor Jim Doyle raised more than $200,000 in contributions during the first 6 months of this year from people who don't live in Wisconsin. Previous reports indicate that out of state contributions to candidates running for state office topped $1.2 million in the last gubernatorial election year. In addition to statewide candidates, legislators received hundreds of thousands of dollars from contributors who don't live in Wisconsin. Major out of state interest givers in recent years have included top officials in Wal-Mart, the Corrections Corporation of America, petroleum companies, pay day lenders, and SBC. "When these out of state interests pour money into Wisconsin elections, they don't care about our state's well-being. They are out to obtain benefits for themselves. It's time that Wisconsin elections were cleaned up and stopping out of state contributions is one way to start doing that," Black concluded.

May 10, 2005 CBS2
Wisconsin's decade-long practice of paying out-of-state prisons to house its inmates ended last week with the return of 53 inmates from a Minnesota correctional facility, Gov. Jim Doyle said Tuesday. Doyle said their return marked a turnaround for a state that once led the nation in the number of inmates housed outside its borders, peaking at more than 5,000 in the year 2000. The inmates were held in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Mississippi and Tennessee. "Our practice of exporting prisoners out has been totally eliminated," Doyle said at a news conference. "It doesn't make sense to spend taxpayer dollars sending prisoners to other states when there is a better chance of rehabilitation here in Wisconsin."

May 20, 2003
Nearly half of Wisconsin prisoners being held in other states could return to the state as early as next year under plans to be presented todayby Republicans revising the 2003-05 state budget.  Vacant prisons would open sooner and existing prisons would boost capacity under proposals to be considered by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, said Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who serves on the committee.  Fitzgerald said he also will introduce a budget amendment to require the state Department of Corrections to contract with county jails in the state before exporting prisoners.  "The emphasis will be on returning prisoners to the state, which Gov. Doyle has slammed the door on. We're trying to figure a way to bring as many back as possible at the same rate," said Fitzgerald, who is ushering Corrections items through the budget process on behalf of Senate Republicans.  The state is expected to pay about $69 million during the fiscal year that ends June 30 to keep prisoners in Oklahoma and Minnesota under contract with Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), said Jere Bauer, analyst with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.  Doyle supports bringing inmates back to Wisconsin and has proposed $3.4 million in contract bed savings during the fiscal year that starts July 1, said Doyle spokesman Dan Leistikow. Savings would come through converting juvenile prison space to adult use at the Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution and Racine Youthful Offender Correctional Facility, Leistikow said.  But Doyle's plan also calls for not opening prisons built in New Lisbon and Chippewa Falls until after mid-2005 as a way to help offset a potential $3.2 billion state budget deficit.  The state pays CCA $48.50 per inmate per day, while the average daily cost of housing an inmate in a Wisconsin prison was $75.73 in 2001, Bauer said. Some legislators say the governor's plan, however, fails to consider the overall economic impact of prisons, including income taxes and spending. That money should not be sent out of state when prison space is available in Wisconsin, Fitzgerald said.  Republicans will push hard to open the prisons in New Lisbon and Chippewa Falls and to expand the number of inmates held at Redgranite Correctional Institution from 750 to as many as 990, Fitzgerald said. Those changes alone could add 1,400 beds to the state's prison system.  The opening of 1,500-bed Stanley Correctional Institution earlier this year has helped open prison space in Wisconsin, and budget estimates predict fewer contract beds will be needed, Bauer said.  This year, the state had estimated it would have to contract to hold an average of 3,739 prisoners per day through June 30. Doyle's plan would drop that number to 2,415 by mid 2005. Opening prisons sooner or adding capacity would lower it even further, Bauer said.  (Wisconsin State Journal)

March 4, 2003
About 400 non-violent offenders would be diverted from prison each year under a program proposed in Gov. Jim Doyle's 2003-05 state budget.  The program is just one of the sweeping changes envisioned in Doyle's two-year $49.4-billion budget plan, which still must be approved by the Legislature.  About 3,000 prisoners would remain in other states as a cost-saving measure.  On the other hand, some Democrats say the state's prison-building boom has been spurred more by rural economic development needs than sound criminal justice policy. As of Feb. 14, the state had 3,237 inmates housed in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Tennessee under a contract with the Corrections Corporation of America, state records show. The contracts will cost the state about $51 million a year during the next two-year budget cycle, said Jim Johnson, a budget analyst with the state Department of Administration.  The opening dates of at least five prisons have been pushed and pulled in a political tug of war between Republicans and Democrats since the 1,500-bed Stanley prison was built without state permission by a private company in 1998. In 2001, the state paid about $80 million for the prison, which began accepting inmates in January. Stanley now houses about 800 prisoners and Doyle has included funding for its operation in his budget proposal.  

July 17, 2002
Just when you think the flow of financial news out of Madison can’t get more embarrassing, we learn that waiting until September to open the Stanley prison, one of the proposed fixes in the budget repair bill, will actually cost us $3.5 million more than if the place opened in July, as planned. That doesn’t include the 78 jobs Gov. Scott McCallum promised he’d save at the prison so Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbottsford, who represents the district, would cast the deciding vote for the budget repair bill. Moving up the opening costs less because we could bring prisoners home from Tennessee, Minnesota and Oklahoma. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau did the math in a blunt Feb. 28 memo. “The net result … is that the delay in opening the Stanley Correctional Institution (until September) will increase costs $3,475,500.” The bill their leaders negotiated and the Legislature signed to repair our $1.1 billion budget deficit would cost us $4.775 million more than opening the prison right now. We’ve criticized lawmakers for making us dizzy with the spin they’ve spun over this budget, but maybe we were mistaken. Maybe they just don’t know any better. (The Post Crescent)

January 31, 2002
The governor may accelerate moving inmates into an empty prison to help make up for the economic impact a delay in opening the facility could have, his spokesman said Tuesday. Officials had mentioned a target date of July to open the prison at Stanley in Chippewa County. Gov. Scott McCallum's budget-cutting plan would postpone the opening until September as part of a 6 percent budget reduction for the state Department of Corrections. The governor still wants to delay the prison's opening but is considering filling the 1,500-bed prison at a quicker pace once it opens. That would mean providing prison jobs earlier than expected. (AP)

January 26, 2002
Wisconsin taxpayers are spending about $352,000 a month on a new prison that stands empty even as state officials ask local governments to tighten their belts to close a yawning $1 billion budget deficit. The 1,500-bed facility near Chippewa Falls employs a warden and six other workers - to the tune of $24,500 per month - but they will have no prisoners to watch until at least July, or possibly September. Meanwhile, Wisconsin continues to spend $4.3 million per month to house prisoners out of state. The prison, which lawmakers believed would be a boon to the local economy in Stanley and would allow the state to bring inmates home, was built by private developers from Oklahoma who speculated that the state would lease or buy it upon completion. Before that, only the state had chosen sites and built prisons in Wisconsin. But as long as the developer, the Dominion Venture Group, met zoning and building codes, it could legally build the prison. By law, Dominion just could not operate it when finished. Lawmakers chafed at the developer's chutzpah. Later they objected to proposed lease-purchase agreements that provided Dominion substantial rent payments. Finally, it didn't hurt that Dominion lobbied heavily in Madison, giving some lawmakers and the governor $15,000 in campaign contributions and spending more than $130,000 on lobbying. Opposition ceased, including the argument that the state should bide its time, let Dominion's investment sour, then exercise its power of eminent domain and claim the prison at a bargain price. McCallum's budget proposal unveiled last week has left Stanley Mayor Dave Jankoski reeling. Besides delaying the opening of the prison and its economic impact, McCallum's plan would take away $1 million in shared revenue payments to his community of 2,100 residents. To eliminate the deficit, McCallum wants to end aid to cities, towns and villages. "Any delay with this prison is another frustration," said Jankoski, irritated by paying out-of-state private prisons money to house Wisconsin inmates. "At times one wonders if reason doesn't go out the window. Why continue to send this money out of state when it could be supporting our own Wisconsin workers, who then in turn would pay taxes in Wisconsin to help them with their tax problem?" Jim Hunter, Dominion executive vice president, and others at Dominion made $15,000 in campaign contributions to state officials since 1999, according to state Elections Board records. McCallum received $4,000, while $9,600 went to Democrats who control the Senate and for a long time blocked the prison's lease or purchase. Among eight Senate Democrats receiving Dominion money were Bob Wirch of Kenosha, $5,000; Kevin Shibilski of Stevens Point, $3,000, and Burke, $500. Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield) and Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah), a finance committee member, also received $500 each. "It was for the purpose of contributing to the political process of our government," Hunter said with some hesitation when asked about the donations. "That's the way the system works. Campaigns request contributions, and we respond." Why money went to certain lawmakers and not others, Hunter couldn't say. The state is spending about $352,000 per month on the vacant prison in Stanley. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

January 22, 2002
Faced with a $1.1 billion deficit, the governor Tuesday proposed cutting the corrections budget $40 million by delaying the opening of seven prison projects, charging inmates more for their keep and ending the busing of families to prisons for inmate visits. McCallum's budget adjustment bill would open a 1,500-bed, privately built prison in Stanley in September, two months late (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)