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As I See It

WI lawmakers far apart on crime, prison legislation

Scott Robert Shaw



Wisconsin lawmakers were able to work together on some issues in the most recent legislative session. But when it comes to crime, and what to do with lawbreakers, they couldn’t be farther apart. Republicans in Madison approved a sweeping get tough on crime measure that would have given judges less discretion in letting criminals out on bond. But Governor Evers is taking a different approach. He wants to reduce the state’s prison population, and vetoed the get tough on crime package. If the Republican bill had survived the Governor’s veto pen, it would have caused the state’s prison population to swell, and experts say the state would need to build two new prisons to house them all. But the bill did not include an additional dollar for more prison space. Clearly the two sides remain far apart. Our political leaders are also far apart on the issue of the state’s juvenile prison. The Lincoln Hills School for Boys was set to be closed and replaced with a series of smaller facilities scattered throughout the state. That too remains on hold. But as far apart as they are on resolving these disputes, there are no plans to meet again to discuss them in 2020. Once again, our elected officials have put off the tough decisions, and chosen to kick the can down the road.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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