MOSES believes that people can change. People in prison who are eligible for parole should have a fair chance to earn their freedom if they have used their time in prison to change.
There are currently more than 2500 men and women behind bars in Wisconsin who are legally eligible for parole. They were sentenced to prison in the last century, when judges allowed the independent Parole Commission to determine who people convicted of a crime could safely return to the community. The rate of paroles granted in recent years has become smaller and smaller.
Many have done everything possible to demonstrate their readiness to re-enter society, and have so successfully rehabilitated themselves that the Department of Corrections allow them to leave prison unsupervised for jobs every day.
Honest reform of the parole system and a review of all 2300 cases could save $30-50 million per year in operating costs.
Many of Wisconsin’s prisoner are elderly and/or quite ill (an, of absolutely no danger to society.) By law, they can be allowed to go home or to nursing homes near their families under “Compassionate Release.” Extremely few cases have been approved in recent years, leading to enormous costs, while families are deprived of a chance to have their loved ones nearby in their final years.
Rather than abolish the Parole Board, the legislature should call for a complete, independent review of every case of a person eligible for parole, with the goal of releasing all those who can be released safely. That same independent review should identify all who are eligible for Compassionate Release and act to have them released immediately.