The details are fuzzy, but Tommy Thompson’s idea to “turn a prison into a university” is starting to take shape.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. late last year awarded the University of Wisconsin System and the Department of Corrections a $5.7 million grant to expand college pathways for inmates. The grant provides a much-needed boost for the project, which Republicans declined to fund in the state budget passed last summer.
Thompson, the former four-term Republican governor, oversaw the largest expansion of the prison system in the state’s history. But he said he’s had a change of heart in his approach to criminal justice. A lot of people who end up behind bars don’t need to be there, he said.