Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Maybe the Journal-Sentinel should try "Truth In Reporting"

David "Doofus" Doege doesn't get it.

This scribe -- one of the better ones at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel -- wrote this tripe about Wisconsin's "Truth In Sentencing Law" which obviously demonstrates that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Let's make it simple.

Under the old law, a judge imposed an indeterminate prison sentence and the actual release date was usually up to the parole board.

For example, let's say the sentence was four years. By law the inmate must have served at least one-fourth of the term to be considered for parole and would be entitled to mandatory release on parole after serving two-thirds of the sentence. In this case, the inmate would be eligible for parole after serving one year and had to be released on parole after serving 32 months. The parole board would decide the release date.

"Truth In Sentencing" made several changes, notably:

  • Parole was replaced with extended supervision.
  • Instead of the parole board setting the release date, the sentencing judge does.
  • The judge also sets the length of extended supervision.
  • The concept of "time off for good behavior" was replaced by "additional time for bad behavior" under the theory that inmates are supposed to be on good behavior.

So, the judge in setting a four year term now might impose two years of initial confinement -- that's the time actually served in prison -- followed by two years of extended supervision.

Under the old law, if a parolee violated parole he or she could be sent back to prison for up to the remainder of his or her sentence with the length of reconfinement left up to the Department of Corrections.

Not much changed with "Truth In Sentencing." An inmate who violates extended supervision goes back to the sentencing judge to find out how long he or she will be reconfined which could be up to the entire length of the unexpired sentence.

The only real change is that it's judge -- not a bureaucrat -- who decides how long the violator will be reconfined. That point escaped Doofus Doege who tries to make hay where there's no field.

No comments: