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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.

Racial Disparties Persist in Milwaukee County Between the Number of Incarcerated Juveniles

Racine County
A cell at Racine County's Juvenile Detention Center.

Wisconsin’s John Doe probe into allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct at the state prison for boys and girls has ended. The reason – Governor Walker signed a bill into law last year that limits John Does. They must end within six months, unless state prosecutors successfully request an extension; they did not. So only the federal investigation will continue at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for girls.

In the meantime, Milwaukee County is pushing forward with a plan to remove its juveniles from the two facilities. Yet challenges exist, the system already appears overcrowded and understaffed.

And racial disparities persist - the relatively high rate of black kids in detention compared with their white counterparts.

But WUWM’s LaToya Dennis learned the system is working to eliminate the problem. She spoke with Tom Wanta, newly-retired administrator of Delinquency and Court Services.

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