PROBATION REVOCATIONS EXPAND THE PIPELINE TO PRISON IN WISCONSIN
At M&C Law, we routinely represent people on supervision – probation or parole – who are revoked and sent back to prison by their Department of Corrections (DOC) agents for non-criminal rule violations. People who on supervision have been deemed safe to be in the community while serving a sentence for a criminal conviction, and the DOC's job is to facilitate that effort. Now, imagine a system where random luck-of-the-draw determines whether the person who controls your freedom thinks he should help you to succeed, or wait for you to screw up – that's the WI Department of Corrections supervision system. And when the agents decide to revoke someone, their decisions are rubber-stamped by administrative law judges who agree with the DOC almost every time. Everyone is scared of being blamed for something going wrong, so they err on the side of incarcerating people. It's costing us hundreds of millions just in prison expenses alone, let alone the untold human and societal costs of separating people from their families and jobs while failing to effectively intervene in criminal and dysfunctional behavior. The pipeline to prison runs through the DOC probation agents and these judges. Earlier this week, the MKE JS took a look at this issue here. We can and should do better.