Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has long been a proponent of diverting nonviolent offenders from the traditional criminal justice system to programs aimed at giving them a second chance, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These programs have a proved track record, county officials say, at helping drug addicts curb their substance abuse while relieving the overburdened court system. From the start Chisholm realized these programs could have serious consequences. In 2007, he said that sometime a person in a treatment program would commit murder.
Now Jeremiah Schroeder, 35, a heroin addict and dealer, has been charged with homicide for his role in the overdose of a 26-year-old woman while he was out of custody under a deferred prosecution agreement with Chisholm’s office. Prosecutors revoked Schroeder’s deferred prosecution because of the case, and he is now serving a sentence of 1 1/2 years followed by two years of extended supervision. “There are a lot of people who dropped the ball here, who’re at fault, including [the woman],” said her aunt, who also is a former Milwaukee police officer. “Whoever thought up this lovely program, they’re responsible, too.” Officials call the case heartrending, even while they defend the program.