In July, Madison Area DSA voted to endorse the “Doyle Resolution” to call a halt to the Dane County Jail consolidation project. But we know that it will take more than an endorsement to make the resolution a reality and derail the jail once and for all. On August 18th, Members of Madison Area DSA will be turning out to support the “Doyle Resolution” to stop the jail expansion project at two important county committee meetings. Before the resolution can even go to the full Dane County Board of Supervisors, we need Supervisors to take it up in their committees. These committee meetings are an important way in which resolutions are debated and amended prior to being heard by the full county board. Offering comments to committee members can have a big impact in swaying county supervisors to support the resolution and to prevent it from being diluted in the amendment process. The time for them to take action to correct a gross injustice and withdraw support for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a new jail is now.
The next committee to hear the Doyle Resolution will be the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee on August 18th as well as the Public Works Committee, also on August 18th. You can help by:
- Contacting members of the committee in advance by email.
- Attending the virtual meeting and registering in support of the Doyle Resolution or testifying in support of it.
The next few steps will help you to write up something to share with the committee members, whether it be an email in advance or comments you deliver in the virtual meeting. Writing up thoughts in your own words has a powerful impact on legislators, which is why we are asking you to take a few minutes to go through these steps, rather than offering a template.
Step 1: Find contact info for supervisors or register to offer comments
If you are writing email comments in advance, check out the following lists of committee members so you know to whom you can send comments. You can email all of the committee members in one email. If you want to contact your district’s supervisor, follow this link to search for that person.
If you are planning on attending the meeting, scroll down to find helpful tips for preparing your comments. You can register to comment at the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee through this link. You can register to comment at the Public Works and Transportation Committee through this link.
Public Protection and Judiciary Committee members
Public Works and Transportation Commitee members
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Step 2: Write a concise letter (or statement) in your own words
Madison DSA has endorsed the “Doyle Resolution” to stop the county jail expansion project. When you write your County Supervisor, it is important to clearly state that you are asking for them to support this resolution. Stating your request early on in your statement can help your supervisor understand your request.
Templates can be valuable time savers, but once your representative starts to see the same letter over and over again, the impact drops off. Take a few extra minutes to write your own message, it doesn’t have to be very long to have a big impact. Make sure to (1) state who you are, including if you are a constituent, (2) be as specific as possible when asking for what you want, (3) focus on your strongest arguments and illustrate them with data specific to the situation, and (4) emphasize the impact you see in your life and your community.
For inspiration, you can refer to Madison Area DSA’s position on the Doyle Resolution on our website: https://madison.dsausa.org/2020/07/21/madison-area-dsa-endorses-the-doyle-resolution/
Step 3: Bring in resources
You can make a bigger impact by using solid data and resources as you write your letter, particularly data that speaks to your community.
- In previous conversations about the necessity of a new jail, Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney has said that it is not possible for the jail population to be much lower than the 750-800 people who were incarcerated in the Dane County Jail in the time prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But during the pandemic, the population was reduced to 400-450, which shows that if members of the criminal justice system decide it is urgent to reduce the population, they can make it happen.
- Only 28% of people with a mental illness and 17% of people who abuse substances receive care in Dane County. Contrast this with info about behavioral health spending
More data and resources are further down on this page.
Step 4: Stay involved
Support Black-led activists in Madison, such as Freedom, Inc., Urban Triage, and Impact Demand. Connect with Madison DSA through our website, madison.dsausa.org.
Here are more resources you can use to find data and information to support your comments
Finding your officials
Wisconsin Elections Commission – My Voter Info
Dane County Board of Supervisors
MMSD Board of Education
Madison Common Council
Letter writing suggestions
ACLU guide to “Writing your Elected Representatives“
City of Madison Budget: https://www.cityofmadison.com/budget
Data on Police in Madison Schools
Freedom Inc. – Police Free Schools campaign info
Families for Justice – ERO/SRO info sheet
Data on Racial Disparities in Dane County
UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty
Cap Times analysis of Madison Police Use of Force.
Madison Police Department quarterly data reports
JFA Report on incarceration in Dane County
Dane County Public Health and Mental Health Reports
Dane County 2019 Maternal and Child Health Data Book
Dane County Behavioral Health Needs Assessment