Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Marathon County Corrections Crisis Revisited

Julie Christensen
In the spring of 2013, I wrote a series of articles regarding an incident which happened in the Marathon County Jail.  An inmate with a mental illness and not receiving medication punched and severely injured Correction Officer Julie Christensen.  Due to her injuries, Christensen was in a coma for a long time and in ICU for months.

Fortunately, Christensen has recovered and is back on the job.

This past week, the assailant, Frederick Morris, entered a guilty plea for attacking Christensen and another corrections officer. He is scheduled to get sentenced in September and is facing very stiff penalties for his crimes, as he should.

However, another person who has a lot of responsibility for this incident has thus far escaped any consequences.

Investigation into the assault showed that there was a lot of problems going on in the jail, all stemming from the austerity measures of Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger.  These austerity-generated problems included severe overcrowding, a serious staffing shortage, an inoperative intercom system, lack of training and failure to supply Tasers to the officers.

These problems led to other problems as well.  For example, due to the staffing shortage, inmates that were allowed out for work release were not being searched when they returned, leading to an influx of contraband, such as cigarettes, drugs and weapons.

Unbelievably, even though this was reported, Karger has done little to fix the problems he helped create.  An article regarding Morris' plea also reported this:
The issue of overcrowding remained one year later.
Brad Karger
Yet Karger hasn't even received as much as a slap on the wrist for allowing these conditions to develop  and continue thought to even today.

This might not remain so for long.  As noted above, Karger is the county administrator for Marathon County.  That means he is under a contract for his job, a contract that will eventually come up for renewal.

The question that I hope that Marathon County supervisors are already pondering is whether the problems Karger is causing makes it worth renewing that contract.

I would say that it most certainly does not.  They need to hire someone who will look out for the citizens and the taxpayers of Marathon County.


  1. Thanks for the coverage, Capper. I had wondered about Julie's recovery and I'm glad to hear she's back at work. Hope they get the problems fixed before the next person gets hurt.

  2. Hi Capper,

    It's not "inmates that were allowed out for work release," it's "inmates who were allowed out for work release," because they are people, not things.