Doyle is not a corrections reformer


If you thought that Gov. Jim Doyle’s support of modest sentencing reforms was evidence of a practical, humanitarian approach to corrections – then you’ve successfully been misled. Looking at Doyle’s political career holistically, he is at best a prison partisan who saw sentence reforms as a painful way to cut spending in the face of a disastrous deficit.

Let’s not forget, in supporting early release for good behavior, Doyle was mostly cleaning up for the disaster he caused as attorney general a decade ago when he approved the “truth in sentencing” policy championed by Gov. Tommy Thompson. Doyle was an enthusiastic yes-man on the issue, riding the anti-crime hysteria that defined the pre-war on terror 1990’s.

Even when Doyle came around this year, proposing cost-cutting measures that included allowing prisoners to earn early release through good behavior, he nevertheless did not hesitate to water down the reforms proposed by legislature Democrats, which went further in demanding results from the Dept. of Corrections. To paraphrase Doyle’s veto message, “it would be unfair” to expect such drastic change in policy. Remember, Wisconsin only imprisons three times as many residents as Minnesota, a state of practically the same population and crime rate. We’re in no hurry.

If anything demonstrates Doyle’s subservience to the prison lobby, it’s his most recent nominee to the Dane County Circuit Court, Amy Smith, the deputy secretary of the Department of Corrections.

Smith, according to numerous sources, is an awful addition to the judiciary. As a prosecutor she has been cited for making dishonest statements to courts on two separate occasions. Unsurprisingly, both lies were made during drug prosecutions, when Smith denied striking deals with witnesses for the prosecution.

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3 Responses to “Doyle is not a corrections reformer”

  1. capper Says:

    On a side note, guess which former state legislator, now supposed county executive, and perpetual gubernatorial candidate takes the most credit for the misnamed “Truth in Sentencing”?

  2. capper Says:

    Sheesh, the avatar! I’ve got to get that changed pronto!

  3. Belleville Says:

    Does this surprise anyone. Wisconsin has no transformational leaders at any level of government elected or otherwise. Our wonderful big ten systen just doesnt create them. Change is a dirty word in Wisconsin, let alone Madison. JD can not change the budgets of the unions who voted him in. This state needs dramatic changes throughout government programs, agencies, and systems of delivery. A true test of character is upon us with the new chancellor who is attenpting to install an ERP system that was failed by the union resistance to job cutting, which is what efficiency is all about. It will be fun to watch.

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