Posts Tagged ‘Scott Suder’

Wisconsin Republicans cling to crime issue

July 10, 2009

Anybody who’s kept up with Republican rhetoric as of late has undoubtedly noticed the GOP hammering the state’s new early-release plan, signed into Gov. Doyle at the beginning of the month. It has become a talking point inserted into any press release on the budget, the Democrats, or Doyle.

Although Scott Walker only vaguely references “protecting the rights of crime victims” in his section on “Standing Up For Wisconsin Families,” other Republicans have gone much further, labeling reforms that encourage inmates to behave and stay out of trouble as “pro-crime.” Just the other day Rep. Scott Sueder warned that thousands of dangerous criminals would soon be in a “neighborhood near you.”

And of course today, Van Wanggaard (that’s a whole name, not a Dutch last name ), a Racine County supervisor, announced his candidacy for the 21st Senate district, citing his opposition to “letting felons from prisons early for budgetary purposes.” That will “put the safety and security” of our neighborhoods and risk, he claims.

Actually, what is really at risk with this new policy is the collective sense of  vindication we have when we see a guy get sent up the river. That the statistics show Wisconsin’s system to be grossly ineffective and detrimental means nothing to the GOP. Like gay bashing and opposition to science, the tough-on-crime beast will eventually die a natural death as voters inevitably realize that they’ve been duped into disregarding facts through fear. However, until that day comes, the GOP will continue to squeeze all the life out of the issue as possible.

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A compromise on corrections reform

June 21, 2009

It’s great that the GOP finally saw the light on establishing a system of parole in Wisconsin:

“I don’t think anybody involved in the system does not believe we could save some money by letting some people out of the prison system,” said Sen. Glenn Grothmann, R-West Bend. “And I am therefore not particularly adamantly opposed to the proposal.”

The new plan is actually a setback on the one originally proposed by Doyle. It allows early release after convicts have served 75 percent of their sentences, rather than 67 percent. A real plan would have included a considerably more radical change, which would allow convicts, especially non-violent drug offenders, to drastically reduce their prison sentences through participation in job-training programs, addiction counseling, etc. Depsite the improvements, Wisconsin will continue to have a backwards and ineffective prison system for the foreseeable future. The reason is most clearly demonstrated by Rep. Scott Suder, a Republican from Abbotsford who referred to early-release as “rewarding bad behavior.”

It rewards bad behavior. Letting people out for good behavior somehow encourages bad behavior. I am tempted to say that this is the stupidest comment I’ve ever heard in Wisconsin politics, but maybe I’m just not smart enough to understand such foreign reasoning.  Is there some law of physics that I’m missing here?