Local county jails in Wisconsin is where pretrial detainees are held along with petty criminals serving light jail sentences. There are dozens of local county jails in Wisconsin spread across the state’s 72 counties.
Each jail is owned and operated by the county or town where it resides. The local Sheriff’s Office is the law enforcement agency in charge of managing the facilities, supervising the inmates, and maintaining all Wisconsin county jail inmate records. Most local county Sheriff’s Offices have websites with inmate locators or a list of residents so the general public can conduct a private Wisconsin county jail inmate search any time they like.
The first jails in Wisconsin were built in 1812 after the war. These jails were constructed in U.S. Army forts at Green Bay, Portage, and Prairie du Chien. Some local communities also built local jails. The first prison (in Waupun) wasn’t built until 1851. Then long-term inmates were moved there. Up until 1933, this prison housed both men and women, then a women’s only prison was built. Back then, there were a lot fewer inmates. Modern jails have a specific number of beds, they have different units of custody (ranging from minimum security to maximum security), and they offer various programs to inmates.
The Milwaukee County Jail provides inmates with mail services, phone calls, visitation, education (high school and college-level courses), medical services, religious studies, recreation, counseling, and help with substance abuse or mental illness. Some of the programs they offer are:
Along with full-time employees, over 135 volunteers work at the jail, helping inmates with family outreach and other programs.
There are approximately 13,000 people in jail in Wisconsin. Of that total, 93% are male and the rest female. About 52% are White, 43% are Black, 9% are Hispanic, and the rest other races. Roughly 37% have a mental health condition. Alarmingly, more than 65% have committed a violent offense, which has landed them in jail. About one-quarter have committed sexual offenses. After that, property offenses and drug crimes are the other two reasons someone is arrested and put in jail in Wisconsin.