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Bill Introduced Would Require Independent Investigation for Deaths at Milwaukee County Jail

Wisconsin lawmakers want more transparency at the Milwaukee County Jail.

A bill introduced today would require an independent investigation should there be death at the jail. This comes after three inmates and a newborn baby died at the jail last year. Lawsuits have been filed in the death of the infant and in the death of Terril Thomas who died in his cell of profound dehydration. The bill would impact the Milwaukee County Jail and other jails across the state.

It's basically an extension of state law which requires an outside investigation when there's an officer-involved death. The issue with the state law, legistlators say, is it does not include correctional officers or jail officials. This bill is introduced by two Milwaukee Democratic legislators, including Senator Chris Larson, who is an outspoken critic of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. However, these legislators say the bill is not just targeting the recent deaths at Milwaukee County Jail.

"But, I think those are perfect examples, only one of those deaths had an external investigation," said State Rep. David Crowley.

"If he's not going to be doing that willingly, then yeah we have to look at the law, but it's not just a reaction to that, these are things that are happening across the entire state. I think it's a good fix," said State Sen. Chris Larson.

Right now, it's unclear if Republicans support this bill. Republicans did join Democrats in passing original Officer-Involved Death Bill back in 2014.

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