As the state budget process moves forward, leaders of various WISDOM Task Forces and Workgroups are asking everyone to please contact your State Assembly Representative and State Senator. To find out who your legislators are, or to get their contact information, click HERE.
We are asking you to share three simple messages in your own words. If you do not feel comfortable with all three, you can contact them about one or two of the items.
1. The Legislature has rejected Governor Walker’s plan for Transportation, and have said they will make a completely new budget plan. There are many things they are debating. In the midst of all their debates, though, please ask legislators to include more money for PublicTransit, for Specialty Transit for seniors and people with disabilities, and for local roads. They can fund these important priorities by scaling back the huge highway projects that are not necessary.
2. Rep. Michael Schraa has introduced a plan to establish a pilot program that would divert many people convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) into an intensive treatment program, rather than a five-year mandatory prison sentence. The “WISGREAT” program would not only provide intensive treatment, but it would also provide transportation that would allow participants to keep their jobs during the 18 months they would be confined.
Ask legislators to support Rep. Schraa and the WISGREAT program, as well as increased funding for the TAD (Treatment Alternatives and Diversions) program. Both programs save taxpayer money and help restore people to health and a place as productive, contributing members of society. WISGREAT and TAD hold people accountable for their actions while providing a path for them to recover and make amends.
3. About 3,000 people in Wisconsin prisons are eligible for parole. Yet, the parole system has slowed to a snail’s pace. Many men and women who have served the time they were expected to serve by the judge who sentenced them, and who pose no threat at all to the community, are being held unnecessarily. For unexplained reasons, the Governor has proposed the elimination of the Parole Commission, which we fear would slow the process even more.
Ask legislators to refuse to eliminate the Parole Commission. Ask them to instead demand a complete review of the 3,000 parole-eligible prisoners, and the release of those who have met the expectations of the judges who sentenced them in the last century.
If you’d like to be part of a Task Force or Workgroup to help with these important initiatives, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.