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February 19, 2009

Wisconsin Governor proposing early prison releases in state budget

Add Wisconsin to the ever-growing list of states considering sentencing reforms in the hope of saving money through a reduced prison population.  This local story provides the basic details: 

Wisconsin's estimated 22,000 inmate population could be seeing a significant reduction in coming years. Governor Jim Doyle wants nonviolent offenders to be able to get out of jail sooner by earning days off their sentences with good behavior. He also wants to eliminate probation for nonviolent offenders convicted of misdemeanors.

"You go and behave yourself in prison and you do what you are supposed to do, there is actually some incentive for you to do well," Doyle said.

The plan, which is part of the governor's budget proposal, would save the state considerable money and alleviate crowding in prisons. Wisconsin is facing an estimated $5.7 billion shortfall by mid-2011. Doyle has said nothing is off limits in terms of making cuts.

Wisconsin's Department of Corrections Secretary, Rick Raemisch, estimates about 3,000 inmates would be eligible for early release. "They truly do have to earn their way out, whether it be through programming, behavior adjustment, or positive changes behind bars. It's being smart on crime instead of tough on crime," Raemisch said. He did not have an exact savings estimate, however.

State Republican leaders are criticizing the plan, saying it would sacrifice public safety just to save some money.

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February 19, 2009 at 10:12 PM | Permalink


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I have several questions. Why keep and support illegal immigrants for years? Those who have committed less serious offenses. Why not send them back to their country of origin instead of spending tax dollars to keep and feed them here in the United States? Is it also true that an inmate's sentence time is going to be reduced by half because one day is going to count as two days? (counting one day for the daytime and a second day for the nighttime

Posted by: Maria | Mar 1, 2009 12:09:38 AM

Who am I to say anything? I am just someone's Mom...that someone is in jail...she means nothing to you. She's there because of a genetic predisposition to addiction...started with a drug carelessly prescribed by an almighty Doctor. The pharmaceutical companies love people like her, and so do I...but you don't.
You over dramatize reality…you know nothing of her pain. You turn her into an evil fiend that will rape your children and pillage your possessions for a “fix”…GET REAL, get educated, find out what causes addiction and who the prosperous suppliers really are, until then shut up and go sit your pompous ass in the corner...your opinion is useless to everyone.

Posted by: Liz | Mar 3, 2009 2:07:25 AM

The wi correctional system truly needs reform. Like the boscobel prison at the tune of 57,000 tax dollars per inmate per year! come on...they are locked down 24-7 how can the tax payers pay this ungodly price and think its ok. probation should be reintroduced and free up the mess of locking young boys away for the stupid ungodly time sentencing judges give them. seek milatary as another way to have these boys have a chance in life. locking them up like you have is a crime upon a crime. second chance to clean their young lives up and be an asset. many would make a difference if given a chance.

Posted by: maggie | Mar 7, 2009 12:44:02 AM

Sending these "kids" to jail is not the answer. They get no help in there. They end up more lost then before they went in. My son is 20 years old and in prison. And all I see is a little boy. Because it was just yesterday he was playing in the back yard with his three little brothers. These kids need help not locked up!!!!

Posted by: Jenny | May 7, 2009 5:52:54 PM

Some of you are crazy! Those of you that are mothers, I guess I can understand - you always love your child no matter how screwed up. But those of you the cry "get rid of probation" and "cut down on sentencing" have no idea what you are talking about. You obviously don't work "in the system," becuase if you did, you'd know how unfair the system is. It is too lenient right now by far. I work in a Sheriff's Dept and I see kids break law after law and NOTHING happens to them! Surprise, surprise when those little kiddies grow up to be big time offenders and addicts.

And Liz, your daughter made the choice to take that first drug. Unless she was born an addict, she had to make that very first, very bad choice all on her own. Now it's time for her to face the consequences for her bad decisions. And I have seen addicts resort to violent crime in order to get the money for their next "fix" so YOU need to "GET REAL."

Posted by: Missy | Jul 2, 2009 5:01:29 PM

I have never been locked up but do know some that have and the wisconsin prison/jail system is a joke. They feel that taking privledges away is going to do something. Wrong. all they have done is make madier criminals. When your child is bad do you just send them to their room or do you incorporate teaching and understanding so the problem does not reoccur. The wisconsin system does none of this. Even those that are hired do nothing to help the situation. Just ask any inmate. Being yelled at and threatened everyday is not going to help make them a better person. The last person that should ever be asked the question of how to make a better prison system is the officer. They are lucky they are in a place that encourages breking a the law or almost all of them would be locked up along with the inmates they abuse daily.

Posted by: Anonoumous | Jul 7, 2009 9:34:25 PM

I think that this state has already over crowded the prison system by targeting the low class citizens in order to make jobs available to those in rural areas, this was something that Tommy (dumb-ass) Thompson has created.
he blew things out of proportion by focusing on hyped-up crime reports; media over-sizing; and unemployment amongst Wisconsin farmers and rural-red-necks.
over 51.29% of Wisconsin's prison population are for non-violent crimes, some are not punishable by jail time in other states.
now that this beast has been created, Doyle is just simply trying to right the wrong that has been justified by (dumb-ass).

Posted by: Steez | Oct 12, 2009 1:44:57 PM

THe prison system is so unjust its rediculous or probation officers are revacating people unjustly for job security not for breaking law but for breaking silly rules they set fourth our budget deficit and high taxes is purely from the department of corrections I know this for a fact! You can blame Thommy Thompson and The head of the Doc!

Posted by: BRB | Dec 5, 2009 11:41:50 AM

Jenny all your worried about is losing your job,and thats the fact,we have three times as many people in jail , prison , and probation as comparable states and its because of people like you that it keeps it going on, all for job security and its a fact that the longer you keep someone locked up the more of a criminal he becomes because you creating someone thats not going to be able to support himself.

Posted by: BRB | Dec 5, 2009 9:10:14 PM

I'm very confused. Why would anyone consider early release for the prison system. They are in prison for a reason. Why wouldn't you release inmates in jail that have a less offensive crime and work with them. Instead of putting so many people behind bars in jail when they could be out working and contributing to our economy and doing counseling. If they are in jail you no the crime is less severe so why not work with them instead of people in prison who's crimes are more severe. Just a thought and still confused on the choice.
Thank you

Posted by: Confused | Feb 1, 2010 7:39:33 PM

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