House of Correction Superintendent reflects on six months on the job

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- After much controversy, the shift of control at the House of Correction has reached its six-month milestone, and its new superintendent is reflecting on what has been accomplished.

"It's been an interesting process going through. We've had to do a lot of stuff in a short period of time," Michael Hafemann said.

Hafemann has been superintendent of Milwaukee County's House of Correction for six months, and he's making good on his mandate to work on the electronic monitoring program.

"One of the things I was mandated with was to reset up programming. We started that up on June 17th, and as of today we have 250 inmates on electronic monitoring," Hafemann said.

Hafemann's predecessor Sheriff David Clarke had a different philosophy about electronic monitoring -- reducing the program to almost non-existent.

"It takes a lot to get a person through the criminal justice system, meaning arrest, prosecution and sentencing and to turn them right back out on the street is not a detterent. It is not an effective crime prevention strategy," Clarke said.

Hafemann says he's had no problems with the program so far.

"Again, these are work release inmates, so you have to keep that in mind that even if we didn't have them on this program, they would be out there in the day at work, taking care of their family -- whatever the court allowed them to do. They'd be in the community anyway, and now on this program we have them on GPS so we know exactly where they are 24 hours a day," Hafemann said.

GED testing is also back at the House of Correction under Hafemann. Rick Karnowski is an instructor there.

"We were without a GED testing program for about two months, and without GED testing it gets tough to deliver the educational services -- as I was mentioning -- there are no ends to justify the means," Hafemann said.

Now that GED testing is back, about 150 inmates have passed.

Other programs to re-emerge include crews that do maintenance work in the parks, at Summerfest and on highways.

"You can't just warehouse these people and just hold them and then return them in the community and expect them not to reoffend," Hafemann said.