County officials respond to criticism over sentences for young offenders — particularly carjackers

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County officials are responding to criticism from police. Critics have suggested the juvenile justice system is too lenient on young offenders, particularly carjackers.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

For the second time in less than a week, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Monday, June 6th that MPD is catching young carjackers, but they're re-offending because there aren't real consequences.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and the man who oversees the county's juvenile justice system say it's not that simple.

Before the Milwaukee Common Council's Public Safety Committee Monday, Chief Flynn said hearts may be in the right place, but too many juvenile offenders are getting off too easy.

Juvenile Justice Center

Juvenile Justice Center

"The people at the Juvenile Justice Center are not trying to be reckless and dumb with the safety of the people of Milwaukee," Flynn said.

Flynn pointed to two recent carjacking incidents. In one, four Milwaukee juveniles arrested in Washington County were all on county supervision.

Tuckaway Lane in the Village of Richfield

Tuckaway Lane in the Village of Richfield

On Saturday, June 4th, four out of six people arrested in a south side double carjacking were all on county supervision. Two of them are just 12 years old.

"Finger-pointing is not the solution," Hector Colon said.

Hector Colon

Hector Colon

Colon runs Milwaukee County's Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees juvenile justice.

"It`s a time for us to really come together, look at the data, all of the partners, which are many, and to come forth with effective interventions that could address the problem," Colon said.

Juvenile arrests


Yet, Colon says police bear some responsibility for the problem. He says there have been instances where MPD has stopped a juvenile offender but never referred the youth for charges.

"They may see a kid, they may assess a fine on a kid," Colon said, "They may send a kid back home but they have interactions with a kid but they don’t refer them to the juvenile justice system."

At Monday's meeting, police provided data regarding young car thieves and carjackers. Since the start of 2015, more than 700 juveniles have been arrested for operating a car without the owner's consent. 130 have been arrested two or more times. 27 have been arrested four or more times. Two juveniles have been arrested six times.

Using year-to-date info through May 16, MPD says juvenile arrests went from 0 in 2013 to 6 in 2014, then 18 in 2015 before skyrocketing to 52 so far this year.

"We can catch them -- but if nothing happens to them in terms of either services or sanctions, they`re right back on the street doing the same thing again," Flynn said.

 John Chisholm

John Chisholm

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says while his office is aware of high-risk young offenders, discipline is ultimately up to the judges.

"What we find is the system works well for a large number of low-risk youths but we’re very concerned about what’s happening with the high-risk youth," Chisholm said.

Chisholm would not say whether prosecutors are bothered by any juvenile sentences.

"We don`t comment on judicial determinations," he said, "Once the court sentences, we respect the decision the courts make."

"The rest of the system`s gotta feel a sense of urgency too," Flynn said, "Because if we get it right now, we might not have to have this conversation in two years. We can talk about something else."

Milwaukee Police Department

Police have also expressed frustration, both publicly and privately, over the inability to access information about juvenile cases. That includes real-time GPS updates for those on county supervision.

Colon says the county is working to address that, but added that they are bound, in some cases, by federal laws that protect juvenile privacy.

"I’ve heard it before," Colon said, "We need to sit down with our partners, see what information we can release."

Flynn said, long-term, both local and state lawmakers will need to find funding for programs that house juvenile offenders while offering programs that prevent recidivism.

"The department alone produces...over 13,000 felony arrests a year," Flynn said, "Where do they all go? How much can the system accommodate that protects our citizens with meaningful consequences? Now those are funding decisions, not just ‘is the bureaucrat in charge an effective bureaucrat?’"


  • Rpkk22

    Hmm keep paying higher taxes to live in an area that the judicial system is too stupid to protect or move out to the safer suburbs and live safely?


    The Mayor got his butt handed to him a few years ago. He is still too stupid try to fight back on the crime. This city is lost. Just wait until Hilary injects millions of $$ in to the core.

  • Anyonebuthillary

    How can “OUR” Judicial system be so Fuc#k UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • A. Thinker

    I heard that crimes are generally committed in areas known to the suspects. I’d like to know if these child offenders or their friends attended south side schools ? In my humble opinion, NEIGHBORHOOD schools served a greater purpose than just a book education, It also taught kids consequences ! There is something about a person calling you out by name and saying “I’m calling your parents” that has a unsettling effect on most young people doing something inappropriate !!! So why not put some cash and kids into improved neighborhood school buildings and off of all those school buses ! Oh, and I also think it would be alot easier for parents to interact with their child’s school if it wasn’t somewhere across town ! Just An Idea !

  • harry

    Never have I seen a justice system so lenient as Wisconsin. In other states violent crimes are actually referred to adult court but not here in Wisconsin. You get a slap on the wrist and back on the streets you go. No wonder Milwaukee is #6 in most dangerous city in the US we allow criminals to be criminals. KEEP IT UP KILWAUKEE.

  • Felix

    Epic failure by all involved. All you hear from these guys are excuses. Blame the police who blame the juvenile system who blames the DA who blames the judges. You all are leaving the citizens of Milwaukee County down. ALL OF YOU!!!!!

  • Opinion8d

    I love Hector Colon’s quote “Finger-pointing is not the solution,” as he proceeds to point fingers. The same old excuses….look at the data, work with our partners, blah blah blah!!! Nobody wants to come out and say there is a problem with black culture or do anything to change it. And heaven forbid if you ‘disproportionately’ incarcerate them because that would racist to punish them for a crime! or suspend them from school, or expel them, or hold them back, or whatever… everyone makes excuses! Sad state of affairs.

  • Jim

    Make everyone of these politicians mentioned in this article to live on the North Side like Mayor McTrolley wants his police/firemen to live in the city. All crime would be cleaned up real quick

  • Chattipatti65

    Once a crime is committed the youth should lose their right to privacy. What about the people they are carjacking? The system in Milwaukee is a Joke, the kids who committee the crimes have more rights than the victim. I don’t care how old the child is once they committee a crime, they should lose all rights.

  • Reagan is still the best

    Try these little bastards as ADULTS and put them in jail with ADULTS!!! We can thank our Ovomit and Killary voting LIBERALS in justice,(judges and lawyers),who keep mommycoddling these sub human waste of existence for the fact that they are on the street. Throw the book at each and every criminal regardless of age. THEIR lives don’t matter,like victims lives do.

  • Klaatu

    Let ‘the system’ keep going with their liberal lenient ways. Sooner or later John Q. Public and every acquaintance he knows is going to reach the breaking point and decide for themselves what punishment these ‘kids’ need. The system is broken. The elected leaders don’t listen to their constituents. The criminals run free. The honest tax paying citizens bear the cost of the crimes. Victims aren’t compensated. Oh, there is much room for finger pointing. This is not the LEO’s problem. The Cops clean up the garbage and the judicial system dumps it right back in our laps when it belongs in a dumpster or better yet burned. Time to exterminate the vermin.


    Flynn: it’s juvi’s fault
    Chisolm: it’s the judges’ fault
    Colon: it takes a village!
    Judges: we don’t live in those hoods anyway
    Barrett: isn’t Milwaukee great!?

    Circular firing squad of stupidity and inaction.

  • Clemenza

    Get rid of busing to other schools. Make them wear a white shirt and black pants as uniform. Pledge of allegiance every morning. Put parents in jail or cut their snap benefits if kids don’t attend. Start community quality of life policing, Enforce spitting on sidewalk, swearing, jaywalking, disobeying teachers. Slap some sense into the rap culture gang thugs. The black community has to quit the BBQ get together and community activist social justice activities and concentrate on snitching and enforce school attendance. When they start acting like citizens the jobs and business will come back.
    If this does not happen, Chicago will look like a church festival.

    • Chrisco

      You can not force them to wear uniforms for public schools unless the district provides enough for the entire year. Multiple district have tried but can not afford uniforms for the whole year. Swearing as been deemed free speech by the supreme court.

  • bob

    Milwaukeeans should listen to sheriff Clarke, carry a gun, maybe if a few of these 12 year-old repeat offenders get shot in the face they will learn.

      • Area Woman

        Donovan should have won.for mayor! Sick of not even being able to walk the streets. As soon as my employer moves out of Milwaukee I am following suit. Racism against White people is what this city stands for. Calling out crime is racist now, what?? Liberals are absolutely ruining this country. Why can’t we fund sending this population to their homeland, since Whitey is keeping them down, causing them to act out like this? They don’t want to behave like civilized people, then back to Africa with ’em! Third strike, plane ticket. Period. Imagine, if you will, a city with less than 5 percent blacks! Once a city hits 20 percent or over, it’s on the way to becoming Detroit. Look it up, you will see, that there is not ONE community that is majority black that is successful. NOT ONE. Wonder why? A median IQ of one standard deviant from the norm, lack of future time orientation, lack of reasoning skills… why are scientists looking for the missing link when we are surrounded by them?

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