Wisconsin's top cop defends crime victims at a ceremony in the capitol rotunda.
Although Wisconsin is known for being progressive, including its passage of the nation's first Crime Victims' Bill of Rights back in 1980, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen fears the state could move backward.
“…depending on what happens during this budget and legislative session.”
Van Hollen warns, due to the recession, crime victims could feel the pain.
“We've all been made painfully aware that cuts are necessary because we're in tough, difficult budget times. Unfortunately, many of those cuts could come at severe detriment to public safety and crime victims' rights.”
Van Hollen says a criminal should stay in prison for the duration of his sentence, which gives the crime victim at least some closure and peace-of-mind. He says victims living with the uncertainty of an earlier release date continue to be victimized.
“Unfortunately there are serious discussions going on right in this building right now about releasing prisoners early.”
Van Hollen opposes the early release of prisoners as proposed in the state budget. In addition, he calls for more funding to continue restitution for victims of crime, and to stay current on notice requirements to victims and witnesses.
NOTE: Monday's ceremony at the State Capitol commemorates the 2009 National Crime Victims' Rights Week, as well as the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the U.S. Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).