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WUWM & MPTV Special SeriesWhy are so many Wisconsinites behind bars?And, what are the costs?In the 2010 Census, Wisconsin had the highest percentage of incarcerated black men in the nation. One out of every eight black men of working age is behind bars. In Milwaukee County, more than half of African American men in their thirties have served time in prison.Over the course of six months, WUWM and MPTV explored Wisconsin's high rate of black male incarceration, through expert analysis and personal stories.Why is the rate so high?How does imprisonment affect the men and their futures, as well as their families, neighborhoods and the region's economy?What are possible solutions?Contribute Your IdeasDo you have questions you'd like to have answered? Stories you'd like to share? Please share your questions and comments with us.

MICAH to Launch Safe Surrender Program in Milwaukee

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The 53206 zip code

The project would primarily target the 53206 zip code area. People with outstanding arrest warrants could surrender to authorities at faith-based locations. Groups would help guide those individuals in paying their debts to society, enabling them to shed outstanding issues and move forward with their lives.

A steering committee would decide which offenses are eligible and what the penalties would be for those individuals, if they surrender. MICAH estimates 50,000 people might qualify. They are wanted for such offenses as burglary, certain drug crimes and unpaid traffic fines.

"People with outstanding arrest warrants often live off the grid, isolated from the broader community for fear of being caught," according to a statement MICAH.

"Safe Surrender is a safe harbor where those without knowledge of the workings of the system can be restored and recover their place in the community," adds Rev. Willie Brisco, MICAH president.

The 53206 zip code area has among the country's highest rates of black men in prison or with criminal records.

Planning for Safe Surrender will move into high gear in July, including with door-to-door visits and town hall meetings. Among those involved will be pastors and authorities from the criminal justice committee.

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