A few quick updates for you. We continue to have a LOT of very good activity happening all around WISDOM. Here are just a few of them:
1. If you can, please listen to Wisconsin Public Radio on Monday, November 16 at 3:30 pm. Rev. Willie Brisco will be on the "Central Time" show to talk about ROC Wisconsin. Here is the WPR website, in case you need to find them on your radio dial: http://www.wpr.org/.
2. JOSHUA and RUTH had their banquet on Thursday, November 12. It was terrific, with more than 150 people and a stirring, challenging keynote address by Rev. Everett Mitchell from Madison. The banquet was a chance to celebrate an amazing success for JOSHUA. Because of their efforts, the Brown County budget will include funding for 24-hour mental health staffing at the county jail. This is something that jail staff had requested for years, but could only get when they had a powerful citizen group behind them. While they were at it, JOSHUA also successfully pushed for an expansion of the Veteran's Court, and about $1 million per year in additional mental health services in the County. At the banquet, the Brown County Executive and a representative from the Sheriff's office both credited the persistent efforts of JOSHUA for making the difference in those increases.
The Sheriff of Brown County had been talking about the need for an expansion of the County jail. After these budget developments, he has said he no longer believes the expansion is needed, at least for now.
Congratulations are in order. JOSHUA, especially through their Mental Health Task Force, has made a very significant difference in Brown Count
3. Last Wednesday, the Racine Interfaith Coalition also held a very impressive event. More than 150 people came out to eat pizza and to learn about Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD). Ray Luick, who directs the TAD program at the Department of Justice gave an overview of how the program works around the state, with emphasis on its insistence that all TAD programs be "evidence-based." He explained that no matter how good the idea is, they need to see that it works in practice. We also heard from the people who run the fast-expanding Racine County Drug Treatment Court. RIC also did a great video about the court, and we heard the moving testimony of a graduate. Finally, there was a rousing call to action, calling on all people of good will to support increases in TAD programs, as well as other reforms to reverse the tide of mass incarceration and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
4. Ruth Kolpack, president of our JOB affiliate in Beloit, wrote a strong opinion piece for the Beloit Daily News related to JOB’s events when the Solitary Confinement Cell was in their community. You can read it here.
These are just a few of the important things our very committed leaders are accomplishing around the state. Our thanks to all of you. If you’re not involved yet, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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