Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Vukmir’s Prison Bill Dies in State Senate

Would have jailed 1,800 more people per year at annual cost of $57 million.

By - Mar 23rd, 2018 01:27 pm
Leah Vukmir. Photo from

Leah Vukmir. Photo from

The bill was proposed by State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), and bespoke her policy views and was perhaps something she saw as a calling card in her campaign for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Tammy Baldwin.

Vukmir was co-author of SB 54, which would have required the Department of Corrections “to recommend revocation of probation or extended supervision for anyone charged with a new violent misdemeanor or any felony,” as Gretchen Schuldt has reported.

The Department of Corrections had estimated the proposal would send nearly 1,800 more people to prison a year at a cost of more than $57 million a year, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The measure included $350 million for a new prison to accommodate all the new prisoners.

Vukmir told the press was said she “was tired of seeing offenders on probation committing new felonies,” the JS reported.  “I can’t tolerate that statistic,” she said. Whereas Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) called the bill an outdated “pipeline to prison” that wouldn’t make the public any safer.

The bill “would force a revocation recommendation if a person picked up any felony – even second offense marijuana possession –  while on probation or parole,” Schuldt noted.

The bill was opposed by the League of Women Voters and by the State Public Defender’s office, which said the bill is “potentially unconstitutional” and “will neither be cost effective nor have a substantially beneficial impact on future criminal behavior.”

Vukmir’s proposal came at a time when the State Department of Corrections “was unsure it could find enough contract beds in jails to house prison overflows,” as Schuldt reported. “The department’s adult division already is contracting for beds in county jails to house prison inmates,” her story noted. “‘It is believed there are not enough contract beds available around the state to house the projected populations,’ DOC said in its budget request.”

The department projected a need for 695 contract inmate beds in fiscal 2018 and 1,902 contract beds in fiscal 2019, the story noted.

That issue, along with the disagreements between the Senate and Assembly on a raft of proposed laws, may have led to this bill’s death.

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6 thoughts on “Back in the News: Vukmir’s Prison Bill Dies in State Senate”

  1. WashCoRepub says:

    Very disappointing. Keep pushing, Leah. A lot of us are still behind you 100% on this; let us know who to call/write to put the pressure on for the next Legislative session.

  2. Jake currently of the MKE says:

    The school to prison pipeline for minorities is a conservative and Republican principle. No wonder WCRP has a sad.

  3. Terry says:

    Thank God. You lose again WashCoRepug! Go away Vukmir. Wisconsin literally hates you.

    Dump Vukmir
    Dump Walker
    Dump Trump
    Dump ALL Republicans

  4. Eric J. says:

    -State government controlled by Repub. majority.
    -Position on bill : “the State Public Defender’s office, which said the bill is “potentially unconstitutional” and “will neither be cost effective nor have a substantially beneficial impact on future criminal behavior.”
    -Bill dies .
    -What’s not to like?

  5. Tom says:

    Vukmir and her failed police state ideas suck

  6. Bill Kurtz says:

    The prison system is a WPA program for rural white rednecks.

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