Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Walker's letter less than nothing

County Executive Scott Walker didn't tell judges not to sentence anyone to work release, as Chief Judge Kitty Brennan said in a letter this week -- he just told them not to sentence anyone to work release who "presents a reasonable risk to the safety of the public. "

Walker did not define what he considers a "reasonable risk," and the category could be fairly narrow or exceptionally broad. Brennan obviously took it to be as broad as it possibly could be.

Here is the body of the letter Walker sent to circuit judges:

As you know, there is a great deal of discussion about the future of Huber work release. The members of a standing committee of the Community Justice Council (CJC) are currently reviewing a recommendation that was included in the 2008 county budget. The panel will make a recommendation to the CJC. Once that recommendation is made, we will review it with the Milwaukee County Board.

Until such a transition is made, I ask that you carefully consider who you sentence to work release in Milwaukee County. Unlike the proposed system, work release under the system we inherited is not designed to directly monitor individuals during the time they are at work. With that in mind, I ask that you not sentence anyone to work release who presents a reasonable risk to the safety of the public.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Gee, Scott, what do you think judges are doing now? Deliberately giving the most dangerous felons work-release sentences?

Walker's missive seems to be mostly a butt-covering move, a statement that "If anything goes wrong with the facility I didn't even try to fix, I'm going to blame judges for sending the wrong people there."

Brennan is absolutely right when she said that Walker's administration is responsible for providing a safe and secure work release facility. It has failed to do so. For Walker to blame the Community Correctional Center's shortcomings on a system he "inherited" is ridiculous.
Walker's been in office since 2002, for heaven's sake! Is he honestly saying there is nothing his administration could have done in the six years since to make things better, or at least to ensure they didn't get so much worse?

1 comment:

Craig Hickman said...


I'm a Milwaukee native now living in Maine that was a close friend to Scott Walker for a number of years in high school and college. We didn't attend the same schools, but we forged our friendship from meeting at Badger Boys State 1985.

I can't remember the last time I saw him, but I remember his new wife being pregnant, so however old is his eldest son represents the years since I saw him.

My parents liked Scott very much. As, of course, did I. But I remember some time ago my father called to tell me that he was extremely dissatisfied with what Scott was doing as county exec. My father asked me to call Scott and see if an old friend could talk some sense into him.

I didn't know what to say or do. During our friendship, I wasn't sure that Scott's politics were opposed to mine, but I thought they might be. Despite our mutual interest in politics, we never talked about it. Perhaps we both knew intuitively that our friendship would be strained if we did, so we left that discussion unsaid.

My father died almost exactly a year ago, and as I reflect on his life and our relationship, I thought about his request that went unanswered.

I Googled my old friend and I found this. And many more blogs like it.

Here I am.

Maybe I'll call Scott after all.