Milwaukee area Republican legislators on Monday unveiled new tougher on crime initiatives. Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) said repeat offenders continue to plague communities. “If somebody makes a mistake, we should give them a second chance. But what we’re aiming at is the habitual offenders who repeat crime over and over again, yet the system doesn’t do anything to change it.”
During a press conference in West Allis, the lawmakers said they hope to pass some of the proposed legislation in the remaining weeks of the session.
According to FBI statistics, 10 Wisconsin cities saw a combined increase of 24% in violent crime between 2008 & 2017. Today, @RepSanfelippo & Legislative Republicans introduced the Tougher on Crime package, which is the start of a focus on ensuring our communities are safe. pic.twitter.com/1iyXdB6KRx
— Wisconsin Assembly GOP (@WIAssemblyGOP) January 13, 2020
Sanfelippo said Governor Tony Evers’ campaign pledge to reduce prison populations by fifty percent means neighborhoods will not be safe.
“In 2018 for the first year ever, there were more people arrested for crime in the city of New Berlin that live outside of New Berlin than ever before. And that is the trend that we’re seeing, for those of us who in the communities surrounding Milwaukee, is we’re seeing this crime come out.”
“What ‘tough on crime’ really means is ‘tough on taxpayers’ and ‘tough on communities,’” said Chris Ott, ACLU of Wisconsin executive director. “These proposals would double down on the harmful policies that have failed to make our communities safe, wasted taxpayer money, and pushed our corrections system to the breaking point.”
These ‘tougher on crime’ proposals would double down on the harmful policies that have failed to make our communities safe, wasted taxpayer money, and pushed our corrections system to the breaking point. #wileg #smartjustice https://t.co/tvSn4LVofC
— ACLU of Wisconsin (@ACLUofWisconsin) January 14, 2020
Among the nine proposals discussed Monday was one that would allow victims to testify via phone conference or through deposition if there’s a reasonable belief that they may have been intimidated or are at risk of not cooperating fully due to intimidation. Another bill would make any attempt to intimidate a victim of domestic abuse a Class G felony.