Project Milwaukee: Black Men in Prison

WUWM & MPTV Special Series
Why are so many Wisconsinites behind bars?
And, what are the costs?

In the 2010 Census, Wisconsin had the highest percentage of incarcerated black men in the nation. One out of every eight black men of working age is behind bars. In Milwaukee County, more than half of African American men in their thirties have served time in prison.

Over the course of six months, WUWM and MPTV explored Wisconsin's high rate of black male incarceration, through expert analysis and personal stories.

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It’s been one year since WUWM began an in-depth series on the state's high rate of African American male incarceration.

A report last year by the American Civil Liberties Union tried to shed light on how the nation’s marijuana laws were being enforced differently, depending on demographic group.

That report came amid a changing climate in many parts of the country regarding the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service examined disparities in marijuana law enforcement in the state’s major population centers.


In their own ways, Milwaukee mothers Afriqah Imani and Barbara Robinson have both lost sons – Imani’s were killed by gunfire, and Robinson’s are serving hundred-year sentences in Wisconsin prisons.

Cynthia Hoffman

Tens of thousands of black men living in Milwaukee have criminal records. In many people’s eyes, the men’s records define them. We asked how they define themselves. 

Justin Kern

Wisconsin’s prison population has swelled over the past four decades from 3,000 to well over 20,000.


A state Republican and a Democrat agree that Wisconsin's 'truth in sentencing' policy has produced unintended consequences and should be amended.

Former inmate says plenty of young black men in Milwaukee need treatment for mental illnesses and trauma they've experienced in life.


Dozens of people shared suggestions this week, for how to reduce the state's high rate of African American incarceration.

S. Bence

Over the last quarter century, one block at 1st and Center in Milwaukee has become an oasis. It took years of caring and prayers pouring out of Clara Atwater.

In preparation for Tuesday night's town hall forum, WUWM reviews the causes and impact of Wisconsin's high rate of black male incarceration.