Consider these facts

Give pathway for release for “Old Law” prisoners
Consider These Facts

These “old law” prisoners were sentenced before the passing of the truth in sentencing laws 13 years ago. These people were sentenced under what is called  “Old Law.” They have long passed the dates where they were eligible to be allowed free and yet still sit in prison. The DOC is using contradicting rules and lack of programs to keep these people in prisons.

1) It costs between 20 and 60 thousand a year per prisoner in this state, more if the prisoner is elderly and sick.  Let us free those prisoners who are ready. The average daily cost of probation or parole supervision in 2008 was $3.42. The average cost of a prison inmate was $78.95 or 20 times more than probation/parole .It is time for a wise prison policy

2) “Between 1970 and 2010, the number of people incarcerated in this country grew by 700%. As a result, the United States  incarcerates almost a quarter of the prisoners in the entire world although we have only 5% of the world’s population.  At no other point in U.S. history—even when slavery was legal—have so many people been unnecessarily deprived of their liberty .

3) For the first time in history WI is spending more on prisons than on our colleges and other institutions of higher learning.

4) While the U.S. has the highest per-capita incarceration rate and most prisoners in the world, Wisconsin has the third-highest rate (0.4 percent of population) of all the states, with more than 22,000 prisoners, and also the second-highest incarceration rate of African-Americans.

5) In a study funded done by the “No child left behind” act a few years ago, Milwaukee school children had the poorest reading scores in the nation. Can’t we put this with fact number 3 and come up with a better solution for crime than prisons?

6) According to the national study on prisons done by the JFA institute the US prison sentences are 2X longer than the English sentences,  3X the Canadian, 4X the Dutch, 5 to 10 times the French, 5 times the Swedish. Yet these countries’ rates of violent crime are lower than ours, and their rates of property crime are comparable.

7). In Minnesota, counties get the corrections money and they chose treatment, prevention and prison alternatives. Wisconsin spends eight times more on prisons than Minnesota yet both have the same crime rate- communities decide how to spend correction money, most goes into probation and  treatment programs

8) Least Danger to society. The old Law parole ready prisoners is mostly in their late thirties and older and the  least likely to get into more trouble with the law, yet our system insists  on keeping them incarcerated. Numerous studies show that age is one of the most reliable predictors of recidivism rates. Nationally, prisoners between the ages of 18 and 29 experience a recidivism rate of over 50%, while those 55 or older experience a rate of only 2%. (U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, All parole elligible inmates have been in prison at least since 2000 and are older . Around  1000 of the parole eligible inmates are over  55. . As a general rule, people become less dangerous as they age. In males, the greatest drop in recidivism occurs around age 30 and tends to continue to fall.

 ( edited from a MJS article)”For most of the 20th century, parole was a corrections tool used to motivate criminals to "earn" release from prison by bettering themselves through good behavior, rehabilitation programs and education. It also allowed the system to cor­rect for inappropriately harsh judges. In the 1990s, parole came under attack from tough-on-crime politicians who played to fears that criminals were getting released from prison without sufficient punishment, then going on to commit more crimes. Their solution?
        Wisconsin eliminated parole in 2000 as part of one of the nation's harshest overhauls in criminal-justice sentencing.
        Stricter laws, sterner judges and statutory changes like "truth in sentencing" have led to longer state prison sentences across all classes of crimes. This has spiked prison populations and driven corrections spending to  nearly $1.1 billion a year, topping slate spending on its university system.

                  Steps Needed.
1) Hold fair hears for “old Law” prisoners, consider their behavior since their crime, their support and learning,
There are BETWEEN 3000 AND  4000 prisoners eligible for parole in this state, many of whom are rehabilitated, have plenty of support and are arbitrarily kept back year after year because of the severity of their crime twenty or  thirty years ago. These are people who were sentenced before truth-in sentencing was enacted and were eligible for parole after serving 13 years of their sentences. Back before TIS (Truth in Sentencing)The judge figured this into sentencing, each case was considered individually and sentences given in the knowledge that the prisoner with good behavior, could be released after serving only a portion of that sentence. When truth in sentencing was enacted, parole stopped for the group of prisoners under this ”old Law “parole  as well as for new people coming in.  Hysteria was whipped up, supermaxes and prisoner populations mushroomed and the prison boom began , drowning out all voices for fairness. the hysteria whipped up to support the prison growth was unstoppable.
2)  Allow representatives of family and friends to be present at parole hearings, not just victims.
Now finally prisoners families and others are joining together to demand that the law be followed, that we as a society must believe people can change, the there is a limit to revenge. 20 to 30 years for a crime done as a youth is enough. Prisoners must be allowed to show they have changed and can be contributing, productive citizens. We must require parole hearings to consider the behavior of the prisoner since his or her crime, his or her support system and learning since. Also, the prisoner should be able to have family and friends at parole hearings. As it is now, only the victim can attend.
3) Pressure the parole board, legislature and important officials into acknowledging that people do change and that our mindless tough on crime policy wastes lives and money and resources. We can be smart on crime without sacrificing public safety.

Sign our Petition, help distribute pamphlets and , take our Survey and join our campaign to educate the public through letters to the media,  and  media interview with ex-prisoners , prisoner family members and other concerned citizens-let WI hear our voices!!
Contact FFUP at or 608-536-3993

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