WBA Debate Topic: Parole

Wisconsin abolished parole about 20 years ago, which means only people convicted before the year 2000 are eligible. According to the state, that’s roughly 1700 people. It’s up to the Wisconsin Parole Commission to grant discretionary parole. The Governor appoints the commission’s chairperson. What factors do you want the chairperson to consider when deciding whether eligible individuals should be released?

  • Here is information from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections on the parole process, noting only offenders who were convicted of offenses committed before Dec. 31, 1999 are eligible for parole interviews. Wisconsin no longer offers parole for people convicted of felonies that are sentenced to at least one year in prison. People now receive extended supervision as part of their sentences.
  • Here is an explainer from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the difference between parole and probation.
  • The governor does not have the ability to grant parole but does appoint the chair of the Wisconsin Parole Commission.
  • During the Scott Walker administration, the Wisconsin Parole Commission released nearly 1,400 people through discretionary or mandatory parole, while approximately 895 people have been released by the Parole Commission so far during the Evers administration.
  • Gov. Evers has issued more than 600 pardons, believed to be the most of any governor in Wisconsin’s history. Pardons can only be given if a person is at least 5 years removed from serving their full sentence (including extended supervision), they are not a registered sex offender, and they do not have any pending criminal charges.