Let your State Senators know that playing on fear for political advantage is not acceptable.

We have heard a lot in recent days about Wisconsin’s Parole Commission.  For many years, WISDOM has been concerned about the fate of people who have been in prison for decades, and we are pleased that the current administration has begun to give them fair consideration. 
 
 
 
 
We can never write anyone off as beyond redemption
 
A system that locks people away for 20, 30, or 40 years with no hope of release can’t be reconciled with our faith traditions or our everyday experience.  Everyone is born with the potential for goodness as well as evil, and both possibilities survive within each of us.  As we can never feel completely secure in our own virtue, so we can never write anyone off as beyond redemption. The Sacred Scriptures give us many examples of individuals who needed a second chance–or even a third or fourth chance–before they could overcome their weaknesses and successfully fulfill the roles to which God called them.  Most of us can also supply examples of transformative change from within our own families and circles of friends, and in ourselves.
 
 
 
People imprisoned for serious crimes can grow into good citizens
 
Given the opportunity, people imprisoned for serious crimes can grow into good citizens.  The EXPO organization is filled with such people.  Each of them has an inspiring story of perseverance in the face of enormous challenges; and each of them has not only survived the rigors of prison and re-entry, but has also made real contributions to society since their release. There is not enough room here to tell all of their stories, but here is one who was recently profiled in the MOSES newsletter:
 
Shar-Ron Buie was released from the Wisconsin prison system in 2020 after serving 25 years of a life sentence for homicide. While in prison, Shar-Ron continued his education, earning every diploma and certification that was available to him. He worked ten years as a production clerk for Badger State Industries, and provided paralegal assistance and tutoring for dozens of other people in prison. In the two years since his release, SharRon has earned a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from UW-Platteville, bought a house, and become engaged to be married. He has also continued to serve the larger community, working as a certified peer support specialist with homeless veterans in Madison and helping to create a new Educational Preparedness Program for disadvantaged students at Marquette University, where he is now employed as a Community Liaison.
 
 
 
Studies have found that people almost always age out of crime
 
Stories of successful reentry like those of Shar-Ron are not isolated examples. Research consistently demonstrates that most people outgrow criminal tendencies as they mature. A recent Sentencing Project report said, “There’s good reason to believe that 20 years is a good cutoff for a maximum. Studies have found that people almost always age out of crime, particularly by their late 30s and 40s. If a person is locked up for a robbery or murder at 21, there’s a very good chance that they won’t commit that same crime when they get out at 41.”  Research also shows that imprisoning people longer than necessary is a lose-lose strategy, since it destroys lives and consumes vast amounts of tax money without significantly reducing the crime rate.
 
 
 
Resist the politics of fear in this election year
 
Please join us in urging Governor Evers and Parole Commission Chairman Tate to resist the politics of fear in this election year and to keep using best practices and common sense as they have been doing, bringing about the release of those individuals who are ready to reenter society successfully.  Chairman Tate has done his job in accord with the law and the intent of the judges who sentenced people long ago. 
 
 
 
Let your State Senators know that playing on fear for political advantage is not acceptable.
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*WISDOM Wisconsin
Address: 2821 N Vel Phillips Avenue, #217, Milwaukee, WI 53212
 
Phone: 414-831-2070