Assembly Approves System Of Immediate Penalization For Parolees Who Reoffend

Plan Is Based On 'Swift And Certain' Laws In Other States

“The recidivism rate is through the roof,” said Rep. John Nygren, in defense of the the measure that passed the Assembly on Thursday. Photo: Wisconsin State Legislature.

People on probation or parole who reoffend would face immediate penalties – possibly including jail time – under a plan that passed the state Assembly on Thursday.

The plan would have Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections develop a system of immediate punishments for parolees based on so-called “swift and certain” laws in other states.

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said he got involved with the plan as part of an ongoing effort to combat heroin use in Wisconsin. He said the current system isn’t working.

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“The recidivism rate is through the roof,” said Nygren. “I can tell you in Marinette and Oconto County, based on my communications with parole, they’ve put about 80 people in state prison over the last several years, and to date, 100 percent of those people have come back and reoffended.”

Nygren said part of the trouble with the current system of parole and probation is that when people reoffend, they often have to wait a long time to learn their punishment. He said other states have found that even if that punishment is strict, it’s not as effective as a punishment that takes place immediately. He said that’s the idea of Swift and Certain laws.

“The penalty will be very clear in their expectations,” said Nygren. “They might get three days in jail. But it doesn’t automatically go to a revocation where they sit and wait for a judge to provide a penalty for them.”

The plan has the backing of the state public defender. It passed the Assembly on a unanimous voice vote and heads next to the Senate.