Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Disparity in WI

One of the most surprising and disappointing things about what was otherwise a very enjoyed and now missed time living in WI was the enormous racial disparity in too many areas of state life. Some corporations stopped doing job fairs at UW because the university, one of the best in the world, had so few minorities on its campus. And of course, racial disparity in sentencing and the rest of crim just there was so concerning that both the second (now late) state sentencing commission and a special commission later were specifically tasked with (sorry for using "task" that way) examining the reasons for the substantial disparity, more than you find in less white states. Thanks to Anne Reed at Deliberations, I can link you to this which points out that, in the recent Justice Policy Institute report on disparate incarceration by US counties which I cited a few posts down, Dane County (home of UW and my home county for almost 3 years) was #3 in most disparity by a county. (And coincidentally (?) some of the greatest opposition to sentencing guidelines and possible control of judicial "discretion" came from that county's judges. Should discretion that well used be retained???) Waukesha to the east came in 46th and Milwaukee was actually a surprisingly low 92nd. There are so many good people in WI, and so many trying to do something about this, including Anne, that it actually hurts to report these things. But it also just delays the day when those good people finally win to ignore it. The state can do better. It has to start soon.

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