By Gretchen Schuldt
The number of people who were incarcerated in local jails for parole or probation violations dropped about 65% between Feb. 28 and Friday, April 3, according to the latest Department of Corrections statistics.
Those released had been held under the short-term sanctions program for violations. There were 534 such jail inmates on Feb. 28; on Friday, there were 189, a decline of 345 or 64.6%.
Although prisons and jails are excellent breeding grounds for the coronavirus, DOC is slow to move incarcerated people out of state prisons. The male prison population dropped 1.2% during the same time period, while the number of women held in all state correctional facilities dropped 3.4%. The number of prison inmates held under contract in county jails and the Milwaukee County House of Correction fell by 3.7%.
The population of DOC's Division of Adult Institutions, which includes prisons, is about 23% over design capacity, according to DOC numbers.
It is not clear how much of the decline in prison population is Gov. Tony Evers' March 22 announcement that the DOC would not accept inmate transfers from counties, and how much is due to additional releases.
Advocates, including WJI, have urged Evers to release low-risk offenders to decrease the danger of coronavirus transmissions among prison staff and incarcerated people.
The latest numbers are below. The source for all three charts is the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
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