Waupun Correctional Institution's decision to hire the Rev. JamyiWitch as one of its two prison chaplains "raises both personal andpolitical concerns," said Rep. Scott Walker, chairman of the Assembly'scorrections committee.
"Not only does she practice a different religion than most of theinmates--she practices a religion that actually offends people of manyother faiths, including Christians, Muslims and Jews," he said,according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Walker said he intends to create rules that would require chaplainappointments to take into consideration the percentage of prisoners whoshare the chaplain's faith.
About 30 of the 1,200 inmates at the maximum-security institutionare Wiccan.
Walker said his proposal would also cut off funds for the position,a move supported by fellow Republican Rep. Michael Huebsch.
Walker's planned proposal "is a pretext that tries to supportmajority religions over other faiths," said Chris Ahmuty, executivedirector of the Wisconsin American Civil Liberties Union. "Can youdiscriminate in hiring on the basis of religion? I thought that wasagainst state law."
In a Corrections Department report, 91 of Wisconsin's 20,894 inmatesidentify themselves as Wiccan. The report noted that the largest blockof respondents--5,798--identified their religious affiliation as"none," "missing" or "unknown." About 3,496 inmates claimed Catholicism,81 identified with Buddhism, 45 claimed Judaism, and 37 said they wereMormons or followers of Latter-day Saints churches.