The Wisconsin legislature is opting to give judges – not state officials – the power to decide whether new felons are eligible for release from prison for good behavior, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. The plan would give both felons and their crime victims notice at sentencing whether the good behavior option is available. It would allow eligible felons to be released after serving 75 percent of their sentences. That contrasts with a proposal by Gov. Jim Doyle that would let the state release certain felons after they have served 67 percent of their sentences.
Doyle's plan and the legislature's also prohibit the most violent offenders, including murderers and rapists, from being eligible for early release. The changes are “clearly more politically palatable” to critics of early release, said Sen. Glenn Grothmann, top Republican on the Senate corrections committee. “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,” he said. “And I am therefore not particularly adamantly opposed to the proposal.”