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Milwaukee County Jail

949 North 9th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233-1422
(414) 226-7000

Interview with Carrie, Michael, Roy, Tiff, Lela and Manuel

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Carrie: Sentancing was for 90 days, 3 months.
Michael: 72 days
Roy: I was in jail to "sober up" even though I was not under the influence. My blood test for alcohol was 0.0% but they believed that I was on drugs because it was New Years Day at 2am. I think I was there for 12 hours.
Tiff: I was placed on probation and sentenced to the house of corrections for 100 days if I messed up . already having 32 days served
Lela: I have not been sentenced yet, but like I said I have this open case still. I ended up not taking all of this seriously and getting locked up again over the 4th of July. My bail was set at $1000 cash this time (since I had signed the 2 500$ signature bonds and those were overturned since I wasn't complying to the terms because I was still using). My (new) boyfriend bailed me out and I was out in 3 days. I would have been out the 2nd day but it was the 4th and Justice Point was closed, so I had to wait til the 5th for them to get me. I was so sick with bronchitis and withdrawing so bad they put me in the infirmary that time. Which was very nice because you get a 'real' bed with a thick(er) mattress and your own bigger room. It's much more chill with only like 10 rooms. If you are just withdrawing it would be highly unlikely you would go there. They do very little for people in that circumstance. I got very lucky or maybe they knew I genuinely could not breath and had a horrible cough - but I think they just had room in there so that's why they first put me in the regular woman's dorm and then moved me right away over there. So when I got out I had court again 10 days later on July 15th and had been using that whole time I was out on bail so when the judge asked me if I was clean I straight up told her no so she said she had no choice but to put me back in jail. She set my bail at $10,000! (5000 each count) So she made it so that I basically couldn't get out (because she knew I couldn't post that bail) until I could get into a residential rehab place. So that time I was at county for 3 days and got transferred over to the house of correction for the remainder of the two and a half months I ended up sitting. These rehab places are in very high demand and it took a long time for me to get up that list. I was only court ordered to do as long as the county would fund me , which ended up only being 30 days, but I was doing this for me and not for the court finally so I ended up completing 100 days there because the actual rehab started to fund me. I am currently still working on this case and have had my 3 month DPA review and it went great because now I'm doing the right thing. (they didn't let me sign the DPA until they knew I was just about to get out of jail) So I still have a 6 month review hearing and my final 9 month hearing as long as everything continues to go this way.
Manuel: Three years probation,and drug program with random drug test thrue out my period of probation.

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Carrie: no
Michael: no i was transfered there withing 4 hours of arrest
Roy: I was in a cell by myself. It was very cold and dirty.
Tiff: yes . I was placed in a holding cell wit like 8 to 10 women and then waited for someone to escort me back to the pod. The room was very small with no ventilation.
Lela: After I got taking into custody right from court, yes they put me in a holding cell in the back of the court. They will usually keep you there until its lunch or court is over. So in my case I was always back there for like 3 hours all alone in a little cell with only a toilet. I got so bored I would play with the toilet paper, braid my hair, and read everything written all over the walls. By the third time I already knew what everything said tho. So then they take you down to booking which is the longest process ever. Usually takes anywhere from 8 to 12 hours from my experience. You can't lay down on the benches but you can ask for a separate holding cell to go lay down in - although its only on a concrete bench (use the toilet paper as a pillow!) and its always freezing in booking. There are TVs out in the open area but they're very low volume and usually wrestling or Married With Children or something. There are phones but you don't even get to the point that you can use them for probably a few hours because you need to get thru the first part of booking and then you wait to get your mugshot and fingerprints done and all your info in the computer and then you get your wristband with your booking number. Then you can finally make a call and hopefully you know someone's phone number.
Manuel: They did not put me in a holding cell after sentencing I went to provide a dna test and then had to go back to the court room fom there then I had to go to an office so that they could give me a date to meet up with my probation officer.

Life On the Inside
The Milwaukee County Jail is not an environment that can be considered a democracy except in one area and that would be with the watching of TV. There is a TV area with sofas and depending who is there to "vote" will depend on which shows the inmates can watch.

Beyond that all other routines and schedules are dictated by the corrections staff. In the moments when inmates have time to themselves they can check out books and magazines from the library, play cards or write letters. There is access to an indoor gym that allows inmates to walk, job, run or play basketball.

The canteen is open once a week for inmates to order items such as snacks, toothpaste, shampoos and other personal items. Inmates submit a written order and those items are delivered several days later. The only way to make a purchase is if an inmate has money on their jail canteen account.

Inmates are also encouraged to participate in classes offer to complete their high school education and/or manage substance abuse issues. Of course, they can also just do their time staying on their bunks but that wouldn't be very productive.

Good Behavior Policy
Good behavior reductions are reviewed on a case by case basis. While some inmates are required to do straight time, others are granted some time off on the average of 2 weeks off for every 90 days served. The best way to be considered for good time is to stay out of trouble, don't talk back to the guards and follow orders.

Visit and Telephone Policy
Inmates at the Milwaukee County Jail are granted a weekly 2 hour visiting session. During that time, at least 2 visitors can be part of the same appointment.

Each visitor goes through a detailed check in process that includes presenting a valid picture ID, search of the belongings and even a warrant check. Because of that, visitors should plan on showing up at the jail with plenty of time to spare beyond the scheduled visit.

Phones are made available during the day for inmates to make collect calls. A typical call can cost as much as $5. Former inmates made note that these phones aren't always in working order.

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