Wisconsin Sentencing in the Walker Era: Mass Incarceration as the New Normal
14 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 31, 2018
First elected Wisconsin’s governor in 2010, Republican Scott Walker came to office with a tough-on-crime reputation. Consistent with campaign promises, Walker and his legislative allies swiftly repealed an ambitious set of “earned release” reforms that had been adopted just two years earlier. Since then, however, there have been few notable changes in Wisconsin sentencing law. Tight budgets and chronically overcrowded prisons have helped to keep punitive instincts in check. At the same time, a set of leaders in various counties and agencies around the state have quietly embraced the “evidence-based decision making” model for criminal justice. This may prove a transformative development over the long run, but there has yet to be any discernible impact on Wisconsin’s imprisonment rate, which remains at a record-high level.
Keywords: criminal law, sentencing, Wisconsin, prisons, imprisonment
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