Roggensack Vs. Fallone For Wisconsin Supreme Court

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State legislators are considering two competing proposals for increasing the amount of compensation the state pays to people who have served time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

One of the two proposals would increase the compensation from the current $5,000 per year of imprisonment capped at $25,000, to the federal standard of $50,000 per year behind bars with no cap. It would also require the state to provide assistance in housing, health care and job counseling immediately after an exoneree is released.

Joseph Frye, who spent almost 20 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, says that’s something people like him need even more than the money.

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“Because I was exonerated, I was free and clear, so DOC dropped me like a hot potato probably within the hour they had me off their rolls and so I was a non-person,” Frye said. “I had no IDs of any kind, so I had to come out and start hunting just to try and get my identity back.”

The competing bill would also provide this kind of assistance but offers only $15,000 per year of incarceration capped at $200,000. Lawmakers may try to find a middle ground before voting on either bill. If approved about 20 current exonerees would be eligible for increased compensation.

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