There is no Chairperson for the Wisconsin Parole Commission.
That might not sound very urgent to you, but it is very urgent for the 3,000 people in Wisconsin’s prisons who are eligible for Parole. No one can be released on parole without the approval of the Chairperson of the Parole Commission. Dean Stensberg, who was the Chairperson, vacated the office at some point in the past month or two. No announcement was made. No interim was appointed by the Governor, and there is apparently no plan to fill the vacancy.
Parole-eligible prisoners are men and women who have been in prison since the last century. They were convicted of crimes prior to January 1, 2000, when “Truth In Sentencing” became law. Many have been in prison long past the date when their sentencing judge expected them to be released. Even before Mr. Stensberg left, the system had nearly stopped: only about 5% of eligible people received parole, no matter that they had done everything required of them. Now, without a Chairperson, the system has come to a complete halt.
Please call Governor Walker, 608-266-1212. Tell him that he needs to appoint a Chairperson for the Parole Commission IMMEDIATELY, and that the new Chair needs to unclog the bureaucracy that is keeping people in prison long after they should have been released. Then, please call the offices of your State Senator and State Assembly Representative. You can find them and their phone numbers here: look under “find my legislators”. Ask them to contact the Governor and tell him to fix the parole system.
If you want to see more about the broken parole system, click here to download It’s Time to Fix Our Broken Parole System.