Should Wisconsin Department of Corrections re-enact "Good Time" for Offenders
By: Juan W.
Prior to the 1983 Wisconsin Act 528, which became effective June 1, 1984 the Wisconsin Legislative body in conjunction with the Former Health & Social Service Department, now known as the Department of Corrections, did away with the concept of "good time", replacing it with the failed system of "mandatory release" which has been the subject of many complaints and legal actions.
Under the old "good time" system prisoners who lost their good time credits through disciplinary actions due to bad misbehavior reports were given an incentive to be good as a way of earning back time that they lost, further, some states like Illinois, a sister state to Wisconsin gave other incentive for prisoners to do good, they had a system where the inmate serve what is known as "half time" the inmate who was sentenced to ten years would automatically have an projected release date of five years. The prisoner was allowed to earn "good time" for going to school and earning a G.D. or HSED of 90 days which move the release date of the prisoner.
While many proponents that oppose "good time" for "mandatory release" those proponents who advocate for longer sentencing did not and they have not considered the damage that the prison budget has done to states budgets overall. In fact, recent news report showed eight states : Rhode Island, New Jersey, Michigan, Wyoming to name a few have pushed for their legislature to release violent offenders.
Wisconsin's current "Mandatory Release" system does not work because the parole board system is fractured and has been since the Former Governor Tommy G. Thompson forced out then Parole Board Chairman John Husz. Time and politics have teamed up to alter reality, with the present state of affairs resulting in minimal parole releases, and the climate which has created a significant increase in penalties handed down under truth-in-sentencing laws we must go back to rewarding incentive based programs such as awarding "good time" for rehabilitative prisoners or those whom has rehabilitated themselves.
"Good Time" can not only serve to ease overcrowding in the states prisons, but relieve some of the burden off taxpayers to foot these enormous billion dollar ("yes") billion dollar budgets to operate the states prison system. Many offenders throughout Wisconsin prisons has had their stay prolonged due to loss of their mandatory release dates, time that they can not get back no matter how good they become. So why not reward these inmates for their good behavior by restoring their loss time and implementing programs that will reward the offender good conduct credits for completion thereof.