Last week, the Circuit Court in Milwaukee County rejected the effort of Sheriff David A. Clarke to maintain control over the County Correctional Facility South. (Judge Van Grunsven’s ruling is available here.) Although the CCF-S (formerly known as the House of Corrections) was run for decades by a superintendent who was independent of the Sheriff, the County transferred control over the CCF-S to the Sheriff in 2009 as a result of security concerns at the facility. However, the new management proved less than satisfactory to some important stakeholders.
Conflict over Clarke’s administration of the CCF-S seems connected to a wider ideological conflict between Clarke and other County leaders over the incarceration of relatively low-risk criminal offenders, with Clarke taking a very critical position regarding various criminal-justice initiatives that might be grouped under the heading “evidence-based decision making.” (Background on the conflict is here; my critique of some of Clarke’s views is here.) Clarke has been unsupportive of treatment programs and alternatives to incarceration, and his administration of the CCF-S has apparently reflected this perspective. Finally, through its 2013 budget, the County Board decided to transfer control of the CCF-S back to a superintendent. Clarke’s control over the downtown jail, which has been his all along, remains unaffected.
Clarke sued the County in order to block the transfer. (more…)