Milwaukee officials express concern about Wisconsin DOC’s early release programs

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm all expressed concern Wednesday about the effects that the early release of some prisoners as a result of Wisconsin Act 28 could have on the city of Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections granted early release to 21 prisoners this month, the first group of offenders to be released under Wisconsin Act 28, a plan devised by state Democrats to relieve prison overcrowding and save money.

“This is going to have an effect on us,” Flynn said. “That’s undeniable, particularly in light of the fact that we have insufficient probation and parole officers to monitor (offenders’) behavior. If there’s a point I want to make, a takeaway here as we confront 2010, it’s that disinvestment in criminal justice is a false economy.

“We think we’re saving money, but we’re not really saving money because these costs are going to be reflected in what happens to crime victims and their property, medical treatment, insurance cases, and the reputation of neighborhoods as being safe for business. There is a cascading effect that can be very negative.”

Flynn, Barrett and Chisholm met with Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch last week to discuss the early release program.

All three local officials said more investment in re-entry programs for released prisoners is necessary.

“We have to have resources for additional probation and parole agents in Milwaukee and for legitimate re-entry programs and support so that people who are being released are not just being put in a position where they’re going to recommit crimes,” Barrett said.

While the first 21 offenders released under the conditions of Wisconsin Act 28 are categorized as “nonviolent,” I’m willing to bet it won’t be long before offenders with records that include violent offenses are released from prison before having served their entire sentences, and that’s a recipe for disaster for a community that’s made great strides towards becoming more safe.


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6 thoughts on “Milwaukee officials express concern about Wisconsin DOC’s early release programs

  1. regardless if the criminal committed a violent or nonviolent crime, they need to serve their time. I understand the need to pinch pennies during this difficult economic period, but do we want to chance having these people reoffend? Because if they do, I’m sure the cost for the police, courts, and attorneys will outweigh what it would have cost to keep them locked up.

    1. I don’t think this is true…So many people worrying that the worst of the worst will be released. Give me a break! Seriously people. Most people do learn from their mistakes and just because the truth and sentencing got carried away with in the first place now they’re learning that it wasn’t the best thing to do. I think this is just ridiculous. This is costing us the tax payers thousands upon thousands of dollars because they went to far to begin with! It’s not all bad people read the FACTS before you jump to your liberal conclusions.

      1. Person, have you read who’s eligible for many of these early release programs? Violent felons are eligible for release under many of the early release tracks that were implemented as a part of Act 28, and if you think none of those folks will be released early, you’re sorely mistaken.

  2. The system needs to use their best judgement on who should be eligible for release. We have CO’s in the prisons all day long. They should be able to pick up on the individuals characters and see where they are standing and if they’ve made any progress and remorse since they’ve been incarcerated. Not all criminals need to be locked up for their full sentence, some dont even need to be locked up at all. Society went crazy with no Grace for anyone, people make mistakes.. alot of them belong there but like I said… Use your better judgement and seek out which ones dont belong in there! Think of it as your son or daughter in prison for a mistake they made with drugs, violence or whatever the case would be. You would want mercy too and an early release! Give the people a chance.

  3. Just so all of you know and don’t get scared. I was informed about getting an early release from extended supervision in December of 2009 and I’m still waiting. I haven’t broken one rule and I have excelled in my life. Good job that knows about my history, married since I got out, bought a housing and finishing college. I’m the model person to take off extended supervision. 7 months later, I’m still waiting.

    Just a quick history, I don’t have a lengthy record and I was charged witha felony for taking a change jar of $60 from a friend in bad times. I know people say all criminals have a story, this is true…everyone doe even you. Every one of us has broken the law at more than one occassion without gertting caught. Aside from that, I had an 18 month probation sentence that ended up being revoked and turned into an 2 yr. prison sentence w/ 4 years extended supervision. Not to mention I won a Sentence Modification which is very rare. It started with 3 years in 4 years out. Thank god for that, I was able to be out when my I had 3 deaths in my family (my step father and 2 grandparents) in less than 3 months happen within 2 weeks of my getting out.

    So, don’t worry your hearts out about whose getting released. it’s slow, even for those of us who has earned it.

  4. First of all, many of you (including Milwaukee officials) need to get your facts straight and should definately read up on the subject or you, yourself, have a loved one that falls under the guidelines for the Act 28. Not just anyone can “get out”. It is not a monopoly “get out of jail free card”. You A)need to have a life threatening medical condition (lamens terms: be on or near your deathbed) or be facing a life sentence B)be 65+ years old and have served at least 5 years of your sentence or C)be 60+ years old and have served at least 10 years of your sentence. There are certain tiers of felonies you can/cannot fall under to be considered. There are certain requirements that the person petitioning needs to meet and trust me when i say it is no easy feat, nor is it a quick process. If you are a sex offender you will not be considered. If you are a VIOLENT criminal, you will not be requested early release. The fine point says you will be considered under certain tiers and to certain degrees, but you will be just that- considered…and DENIED.

    Our society is so quick to point the finger and lock up and throw away the key for people that commit crimes that do not deserve the time they are given when myself and other hardworking, tax paying citizens are footing the bill because our community doesnt want to find more appropriate, alternative routes of rehabilitation for these men (and women).
    Two real life situations: a woman intentionally murders her baby after she gives birth to it. The medical examiner finds air in it’s lungs proving that the baby was indeed alive before it was murdered. The woman was given three years. A man forges and cashes a bad check (forgery and uttering- class h felony) and serves three years. He is placed on probation for seven years. The man neglects to report to his probation officer one day (obsconding- class a felony) and is sent back to prison for the remainder of his probation- six years. The man was diagnosed earlier that year with congestive heart failure and was given three years left to live. Essentially, the sentence he was given was a life sentence…and all this for cashing a check and failing to check in. Meanwhile, a woman who murdered her own flesh does three years and moves to Florida. Does this seem right to you???

    I believe that people can change, but that is ONLY if they want to and choose to. Not everyone will turn a new leaf and become the people they are supposed to be, but how will they know if they are never given a chance?

    I am not some hippie-dippie peace and love type person. Infact, i dont even really like people anymore. But most everyone deserves a clean slate at some point in their life and when you’ve been incarcerated (especially with the Wisconsin DOC) you never really get that clean slate once they know your name.

    So before you hoot and holler about things you have no idea about or have maybe never even met someone that’s served time…keep in mind that the realities those people face in prison EVERY SINGLE DAY would be your worst nightmares.

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