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County jail misses programming opportunities

You will not find some basic programming required by Wisconsin State Statute at the Kewaunee County. The lack of space is to blame for the aging facility not being able to offer the programming that falls under Wisconsin Department of Corrections regulatory code 350. This covers programming such as religious services and classes towards earning a General Education Diploma.  It could also include programming designed to improve an inmate’s mental and physical health. As the smallest and oldest county jail in the state, the only space the current facility has available for programming is its visitor room, which is currently used for attorney visits. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says these services could hold the key to rehabilitate a person rather than just incarcerating them.



Joski says the lack of the ability to host such programming at the jail has been a concern of not just him, but other area sheriffs and the state jail inspector. You can read more about this topic below.



I hope everyone had a pleasant and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday. It is definitely good to see people re-engaging in the various outdoor activities we all look forward to throughout those winter months. As a bonus, it has also been a relatively safe summer thus far, so let’s all do our best to keep it that way.


During our continued discussions regarding the planning of a new Jail Facility, the value of jail programming and education was brought into question. This is a component of the project which has great importance not only from my perspective, but also that of my fellow Sheriff’s and our state Jail Inspector. It also important to note that the ability to provide programming and educational opportunities for those incarcerated in county jails is of such significance that it is in fact part of the Department of Corrections regulatory code 350 which governs the operations of all local jails throughout Wisconsin. Specifically DOC 350.31”Programs and Services” and DOC 350.32 “Religious Programming”


The belief is that for programming to be effective, there needs to be long term incarceration such as what is common in our state or federal prison systems. While it is true that the length of sentences for those incarcerated in our jail facility is much less than that of a prison facility, it is none the less important as we have the ability connect those who struggle with resources that may in fact change not only their behavior, but more importantly the contributing factors behind that behavior. The ability to connect our inmates to services is not hampered by short term stays as we then utilize our community partners in these areas for follow up so as to increase the potential for successful outcomes.


A good example of this type of programming could be an educational component such as pursuing a GED. Even if the inmate were to be released before the completion of the program, having it initiated within the jail provides the structure and support that can then carry through once outside the facility. The same can said for mental and physical health programming, or even job training.


The reality is that for those who find themselves in our jail facility, the availability of resources such as those mentioned may be the first time in their lives they were provided a path towards accomplishing a goal that would have significant positive impact for them as well as their families. Or for those who find themselves within our jail struggling with mental health or addiction, the ability to access the needed resources are literally life changing and in some cases possibly life saving.


Although our ability to provide such services has been minimal due our existing facility limitations, we are very excited to incorporate them in our new facility with much greater effectiveness. We will continue to work with our community partners as we have in the past, to provide life changing skills and services, and provide them in a safe and effective environment.


Just as in the past, my offer of jail tours is extended to anyone who has an interest in seeing our current facility conditions as well as to have a discussion regarding our planning process towards a new facility. Please feel free to contact m on my cell phone at: (920)255-1100

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