Thursday, January 30, 2020

Punishing, Wisconsin style


With very little notice, the State Assembly announced a hearing for tomorrow, Thursday, to consider the so-called "Tougher on Crime" bills that were introduced recently.  Collectively, these bills would be a huge step backward for Wisconsin.

For those who are available, please show up at this hearing.  Even if you cannot stay or do not wish to speak, you can register as being against the bills.  If you cannot come to the hearing itself, there are other ways to let your views be known (see below).  It is important for legislators to know that, not only are these measures not sensible, they are also not popular: the days of blind "tough on crime" policies being good politics are over.

Thursday (January 30)
9:00 a.m.
State Capitol, Room 412 East

There are nine bills being proposed.  Some are pretty minor matters, and some are mostly symbolic, as they wouldn't really change anything. 

Some with them are truly dangerous:
  • Assembly Bill 805 would REQUIRE the Department of Corrections to move to revoke people on Supervision back to prison if they are CHARGED with a "violent crime."  Not if they are found guilty; if they are charged.  Understand that a person convicted of a new crime will almost certainly be going to prison.  This bill would only serve to punish the innocent.
  • Assembly Bill 807 would create a mandatory 6-month jail sentence for a third offense of SHOPLIFTING, no matter how minor the offense or how far apart the three offenses were.
  • Assembly Bill 806 would seek to move even more juveniles into the adult criminal justice system.
  • Assembly Bill 809 would make it even harder for people to get earned release from prison or early discharge from probation, even though Wisconsin is already an outlier in the amount of time we make people spend on Extended Supervision.
These bills would not make us safer; as a matter of fact, there is evidence that we are LESS safe when we incarcerate more people than necessary.  And, they would cost us a fortune. 

If you can make it to Madison on Thursday, we need to let our legislators know we oppose these measures.  If you can't make it, you can contact members of the committee by e-mail or phone, to let them know your thoughts. Their contact info is HERE.

You might also want to contact your own Assembly representative.  To find your Legislator, CLICK HERE and go to "Who Are my Legislators?"

I am grateful that so many of you went to the Capitol today for the Lobby Day.  Between these two days, I hope the message is heard that Wisconsin is NOT wanting to double down on the failed "tough on crime" policies that have already done so much damage.

David Liners, Director

No comments: