Several Milwaukee men who were released earlier than usual from Wisconsin prisons this year have extensive criminal records and a history of returning to crime during previous stints on the streets. About 800 inmates are eligible for early release under the program. Milwaukee’s mayor and police chief and Milwaukee County’s district attorney have expressed concern about offenders returning to their old ways once they are released.
“Getting into prison is not easy,” said Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn. “You’ve got to get locked up and convicted a lot of times before we get you prison space. We’re looking at a class of offenders that have already demonstrated a history of reoffending, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.” Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch has met face-to-face with some of the offenders before they have been released early. He said he has told them “that they are going to be watched by everybody to determine whether the program is a success or failure.” Raemisch said the early-release program is carefully designed, encourages good behavior by inmates, and will help open up cell space for the most dangerous prisoners. “It wasn’t a ‘Let’s open up the doors because we’re broke’ type of plan,” he said.