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Ex-Prisoners Organize for Prison Reform in Wisconsin

Kaitlyn Madison
EXPO leaders William Harrel (left), Mark Rice (middle), and Jerome Dillard (right) speaking at a press conference in the State Capitol to launch the ROC Wisconsin campaign.

The prison population in Wisconsin has more than tripled since 1990. Drug enforcement and mandatory minimum sentence laws are just a few reasons to blame, and their effects have been disproportionately consequential to African American men.

A 2013 study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee revealed that Wisconsin has the highest rate of incarceration for black men in the country.

Here to make a change in Wisconsin is EXPO, or ex-prisoners organizing. The group of formerly incarcerated people aims to fight mass incarceration, "an unjust prison system" and to restore peace to the communities and families affected. 

"We want everyone to view people with conviction and arrest histories as human beings, members of families, and assets to communities," says EXPO associate leader Mark Rice.

"[The formerly incarcerated] are the solutions to the problem," organizational leader Jerome Dillard says. "We need to come together across this country, and when you look at the numbers, there are over 70 million people who have arrest and conviction records. That's a pretty powerful base."

The group will hold a free public forum on Tuesday, June 28th at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society.

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