Barrett distances himself from early release

    Democrat Tom Barrett says he has “serious reservations” about Gov. Jim Doyle’s early release program and would review it if he is elected the next governor.
    Doyle called for the earned release program in the 2009-11 budget as a way to save money, and the Dem-run Legislature largely went along with the idea.
    Barrett, the presumptive Dem gubernatorial nominee, said he met with Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and others about the program, adding there’s a plan in place for the state to "beef up" the program by adding parole and probation agents. There are also plans to have the agents work more closely with the Milwaukee Police Department.
    "We have to make sure we’re not putting people in harm’s way with these releases," Barrett said. "I will review this program once I become governor, but clearly it’s going to be in place right now for the summer, and so rather than just complain about it, what we did is we tried to sit down, and did sit down … and really worked out a plan that we hope will make it successful."
    The state Republican Party noted that Barrett indicated during the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary his support for alternatives to incarcerating some inmates.
    GOP gubernatorial hopeful Scott Walker, who helped author so-called truth-in-sentencing legislation, said in a statement he called every district attorney and sheriff in the state to lobby opposition to the proposal last year during the budget debate while "Barrett remained silent."
    Walker said, "Putting dangerous criminals back on our streets is a crime against the people of Wisconsin, and I have repeatedly called on Governor Doyle to immediately halt all early releases of prisoners in Wisconsin.”

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