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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, September 20, 2021

Peter Coutu and Miller Jozwiak


State statute prioritizes profitability over prisoner rehabilitation

Wisconsin state statutes mandate UW-Madison and other tax-supported institutions purchase from a prison industry program that explicitly prioritizes profit over the rehabilitation of prisoners, while paying inmates a significantly lower wage than that paid in the private industry. UW-Madison purchased $1,596,515 worth of prison-produced goods—largely furniture and signage—from Wisconsin’s prison industry program, Badger State Industries, during the 2015 fiscal year. According to a Wisconsin state statute, a list of designated purchasing agencies, including UW-Madison and UW System schools, must “offer prison industries the opportunity to supply the materials, supplies, equipment or contractual services,” which the Department of Corrections lists periodically.

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