The state Assembly has passed a bill that would make it easier to revoke the release of anyone on extended supervision, parole, or probation if they are charged with a crime – adding in language that would also fund new prosecutors and construction of a new prison.
The legislation was one of dozens of bills the chamber was taking up Thursday, as the Assembly pushes to wrap up its floor periods for the year. Its original aim was to allow the Department of Corrections to recommend revoking the release of those who state Representative Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) said “screw up” their second chance.
Kleefisch recounted the story of a man who was on extended supervision and threatened his wife, but was allowed to stay free. “Extended supervision is extended supervision because you don’t have your full rights back yet,” he said. “You have to be good.”
Democrats were critical of the effects the bill would have on the corrections system, both through sending people back to prison and by taxing the courts. While an amendment authorizes up to $350 million in borrowing to fund a new state prison and funds the addition of nearly 54 new prosecutors in 40 counties, state Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) said it could overload the system. “The long term consequences of this bill will be meaningful criminal justice reform in the state of Wisconsin – the short term consequences are that we will break the system, and break our bank,” he argued.
The legislation now heads to the Senate, which will have to sign-off on the amendments added by the Assembly.