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Milwaukee County Board proposal calls for some inmates to be released to stop COVID-19 spread

Posted at 3:36 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 16:41:51-04

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors has adopted a proposal that calls for Gov. Tony Evers to release some inmates from Wisconsin prisons, in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Supervisor Sequanna Taylor's proposal, which passed 15-2 in the Board, asks Evers to parole or commute inmates' sentences subject to “indeterminant sentencing” before Dec. 31, 1999. The supervisor argues these inmates may have served sentences longer than courts intended.

But the inmates must still meet the following criteria, according to the proposal (listed verbatim):

  • Individuals at greatest risk of severe or fatal COVID-19 complications, including the elderly, those who are immuno-compromised, and those with chronic health conditions
  • Those held in the Division of Adult Institutions due to technical rule violations (crimeless revocation) who have less than one year remaining in their revocation sentence
  • Persons who are scheduled for release within six to nine months of this resolution’s passage

Supervisor Taylor says it still remains unclear how many inmates have been released from state prisons, though the Wisconsin Department of Correction has released around 1,400 inmates from jails due to COVID-19.

"We are in the middle of an out-of-control pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 200,000 Americans,” said Supervisor Taylor in a release. “COVID-19 is a death sentence for many, and there is no justification to subject incarcerated individuals to the additional risk of contracting COVID-19 if those folks are high-risk, being held for crimeless revocations, serving a sentence longer than originally intended, or will be up for release in the next nine months.”

The governor of Wisconsin reserves the right to issue reprieves, commutes and pardons to those convicted of crimes.

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