The Dane County Board of Supervisors will consider a jail funding resolution Thursday night. At a Wednesday press conference, Sheriff Kalvin Barrett at a Tuesday press conference and three of his predecessors as sheriff urged the 37 member county board to put a $13.5 million jail consolidation funding question to the voters.
“I am embarrassed to see the conditions of our Dane County Jail,” Barrett said. Barrett invited opponents of a new jail to walk through the existing facility in the City-County Building, which dates from the 1950s. Former Sheriff Dave Mahoney said bad conditions inside that facility means some inmates are being sent elsewhere, including as far away as the Oneida County Jail in Rhinelander.
Opponents of a new jail have called for the county to first address racial disparities in its incarcerated population. Barrett said it’s important for Dane County voters to have a say.
“I too agree with the words of a member of our actual own Dane County Black Caucus, who said less than 10 months ago that it’s difficult to make a decision with 37 different individuals.”