Say no to ICE detention facility


New Richmond is my home and today I live in Portage, Wisconsin and I would like to caution that if the city of New Richmond welcomes construction of an ICE detention facility, it invites a curse upon the city for generations to come. If you think I am exaggerating, ask residents of Portage, home of Columbia Correctional Institution.

There are still some residents who, with great shame and regret, recall helping to promote opening the prison in the '80s providing hundreds of new jobs. They were promised at the time only one person per cell, now it is two if not three. We struggle to find a source of notoriety in the state greater than "the final home of Jeffrey Dahmer."

But despite the many problems, such as the mentally destructive and spiritually corrosive environment of the prison that the staff will readily tell you about, it can still be called a necessary public service.

By opening a privately run detention facility, history will remember that the city New Richmond saw the torrent of human suffering brought by separated families, mothers torn from infants, and American citizens arrested for having the wrong complexion or a particular name, and the people of that city said, "yes, we want that here."

There is no escaping that success in this endeavor is defined by the captivity of as many people as possible, for as long as possible, while spending the least possible on their care. This is not what I want for my home.

Jonathan Stefonek, NRHS 2000