Friday, December 09, 2011

Is Walker History Repeating Itself at Dodge?

The Fond du Lac Reporter is drawing attention to the alarming increase in prisoner attacks on guards at the Dodge Correctional Institute in Waupun. Union officials are saying that it is at least partially due to a combination of low morale, unfilled vacancies and an exodus of experienced staff. Marty Beil, executive director for AFSCME Council 24 offered the following observation:

Working in a prison is not an easy setting even at the best of times, and now with the morale and vacancy levels being where they're at, it becomes a much more difficult place to be. You’ve got long-term correctional officers moving out and less seasoned officers moving in. The inmates understand what’s going on and see the changes. This is already a manipulative environment, and this just enhances that

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections comments that "there is no staff shortage" and that "all posts are being covered with regular staff or staff on overtime." (keep track of the word "overtime" below)

This phenomena shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone that watched Scott Walker's train wreck of an administration in Milwaukee County. This current story in fact seems to be perfectly consistent with it. Consider some of the following from his failed administration of the Milwaukee County House of Correction:

But wait! That isn't the only situation that parallels the Dodge Correctional issue. There was a similar Walker pattern at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.

So when I now hear about increased attacks on workers at Dodge, low morale coupled with high overtime and 37 unfilled positions at the facility, I can't help seeing a very long pattern being continued. I also can't help but remember Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's words in at least one of his debates with Scott Walker. In it he said (paraphrased), "If you can't run your own House of Correction, how are you going to run the state's Department of Corrections?" It was a great point then and it turns out to be a very relevant question now. I think that we are unfortunately starting to see the clear and most unfortunate answer.

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