2009 Wisconsin Sentencing Reform Act
Eisenberg Law Offices, S.C.
February 22, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Eisenberg Law Offices, S.C. Comments on 2009 Wisconsin Sentencing Reform Act
The Wisconsin legislature recently passed 2009 Wisconsin Act 28, which took effect on October 1, 2009. This new act affects inmates serving bifurcated sentences under Wisconsin Truth and Sentencing Law for crimes committed on or after December 31, 1999. The sentence adjustments are not guaranteed since the sentencing judge has the right to approve or reject a petition for positive adjustment time. Offenders convicted of certain offenses, such as sex offenses and certain violent offenses, are not eligible for positive adjustment time.
There are three levels for earning positive adjustment time. Under the first level, inmates serving sentences for misdemeanors or non-violent Class F through Class I felonies are eligible to earn one day of positive adjustment time for every two days served that he or she does not violate any prison rules or neglect to perform assigned duties. The positive adjustment time is deducted from the confinement period of the bifurcated sentence, then added to the extended supervision portion of the sentence, so that the entire length of the sentence does not change. However, an inmate who gets positive adjustment time will serve less time in confinement.
The next level of positive adjustment time applies to inmates who are serving bifurcated sentences for Class F through Class I felonies or non-violent misdemeanors that are not eligible for positive adjustment time under the first level, including inmates serving bifurcated sentences for violent Class F through Class I felonies. Under this section, an inmate may earn one day of positive adjustment time for every three days served that he or she does not violate any prison rules and does not neglect to perform required duties. Once the inmate has served the confinement portion of his or her sentence minus the positive adjustment time, he or she may petition the earned release review commission to be released on extended supervision. This level works in the same way that the first level does, meaning the positive adjustment time is deducted from the confinement portion of the sentence but added to the extended supervision portion of the sentence so that the total length of sentence does not change.
The third level of positive adjustment time applies to inmates serving bifurcated sentences for Class C through Class E felonies. Under this section, an inmate may earn one day of positive adjustment time for every 5.7 days served that he or she does not violate any prison rules and does not neglect to perform required duties. Once an inmate has served the confinement portion of his or her sentence minus positive adjustment time, the inmate may petition the earned release review commission for release to extended supervision. The total length of sentence remains unchanged. Inmates who have certain health conditions or are of a certain age may also petition the earned release review commission for release to extended supervision.
A new provision for risk reduction sentences is also included in the bill. Under this section, a sentencing judge may permit a defendant to serve a sentence that requires the defendant to cooperate with an assessment and to participate in treatment as required by the Department of Corrections. If the inmate completes the program and maintains a good conduct record, the inmate is automatically released after serving 75% of the confinement portion of the bifurcated sentence.
The new law also includes a provision permitting an inmate serving extended supervision or probation to be released after serving only two years of extended supervision or 50% of the probationary term if the inmate has complied with the conditions of his or her supervision and the reduction is in the interest of justice. Inmates serving sentences for certain crimes are not eligible. “Since some provisions of the new sentencing law may require a sentencing judge to approve or deny adjustments to inmates” confinement, it is important for anyone facing a criminal sentence to hire an attorney who is familiar with the process of achieving the best possible results under this law,” stated Mark Eisenberg, a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney who has argued hundreds of cases at the sentencing stage.
For more information about Wisconsin’s new sentencing law, please contact Eisenberg Law Offices, S.C. for a free consultation on your criminal case.