Just so we’re clear, I’m no fan of Wisconsin Act 28, which brought about sweeping reforms to Wisconsin’s Truth in Sentencing laws, including provisions that allowed for multiple early-release programs for inmates in Wisconsin prisons, including inmates convicted of violent offenses.
Having made that point abundantly clear, I’d like to take at what Jessica McBride wrote for the right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute yesterday. In noting that a second individual recently released from prison early under the provisions of Act 28, McBride noted that two of the eight individuals released early to Milwaukee County have already been rearrested (emphasis mine):
Eight of those first 22 released inmates were from Milwaukee County. That’s a 25 percent recidivism rate for Milwaukee County early release inmates in less than 2 months.
Citing the 25 percent recidivism rate, it seems Jessica McBride wants readers to think that the 25 percent recidivism rate represents a clear indication the early release program has jeopardized public safety, but as a report issued by the Wisconsin Sentencing Commission points out, recidivism rates in Wisconsin have typically been higher than 25 percent, depending on the number of prior offenses an individual has been convicted of.
|Percent of Wisconsin Recidivists Who Commit Subsequent Offenses|
|Number of Prior Offenses:||1||2||3||4||5|
Considering recidivism rates for Wisconsin offenders range from 39 percent to 58 percent depending on the number of prior convictions, it would sure seem that a 25 percent recidivism rate for offenders released early from prison to Milwaukee County is a success, not a failure.