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 Consistent with campaign promises, Walker and his legislative allies swiftly repealed an ambitious set of “earned release” reforms that had been adopted just two years earlier.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

Suggested Citation

O'Hear, Michael M., Wisconsin Sentencing in the Walker Era: Mass Incarceration as the New Normal (October 31, 2018). Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2017; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 18-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3276223

Michael M. O'Hear (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Sensenbrenner Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States
414-288-3587 (Phone)
414-288-5914 (Fax)

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