'Tougher on Crime' bill package met with strong criticism.

 
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Byline: Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Legislation positioned as a response to Gov. Tony Evers' criminal justice policies gave rise to strongcriticism upon being introduced on Thursday. Republicans released the "Tougher on Crime" bill package to the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety in a seven-hour session that day.

The 10 bills deal with court procedures and would provide additional penalties and restrictions for people who have been charged with crimes. Among the proposals are bills that would it easier to prosecute reoffenders, violent felons and juveniles.

Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, said a lot of the measures are a response to Gov. Tony Evers' campaign promises to reduce the state's prison populations.

One of the most hotly debated measures was Assembly Bill 805, which would require the Department of Corrections to recommend revoking someone's extended supervision, parole or probation if he or she were charged with a crime while being supervised.

Democratic representatives criticized the measure, saying it would sweep up people who posed no harm to the public.

"This is a terrible, terrible bill," said Rep. Shelia Stubbs, D-Madison. "When we talk about offenders, they're our neighbors. Some of them are family members. Some of them are workers. We have to stop isolating people and get them the services and the help they need."

Lawmakers from both parties questioned where money to pay for the proposals would come from, especially if the state needed to build a prison to house an increase in prisoners.

"We can't come up with $100 million in an act that we passed unanimously," said Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh. "How in the world are we going to come up with $350-400 million for a new prison when we can't come to an...

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