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Walker: Probationers should serve full sentence

Gov. Scott Walker wants to end a policy that lets offenders off probation early. He included the proposal as part of the budget he presented Tuesday. "Gov. Walker believes when a criminal is sentenced, the sentence should be served out. Period," ...

Gov. Scott Walker wants to end a policy that lets offenders off probation early.

He included the proposal as part of the budget he presented Tuesday.

"Gov. Walker believes when a criminal is sentenced, the sentence should be served out. Period," Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said.

The law now requires that probation agents consider releasing offenders halfway through their sentences.

Agents may recommend early release if the offender has paid restitution, poses no risk to the community and is working toward rehabilitation, holding a job and avoided violations, La Crosse probation supervisor Bill Hammes said.

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Several state Department of Corrections employees review the case before early release is granted.

"It's a very formal process reviewed multiple times," Hammes said.

On average, one person is released early each month, Hammes said.

Walker is open to alternative sentencing and community based programs but believes offenders in prison and on probation should complete their sentence, his spokesman said.

"The governor has decided that repealing (early release) is in the best interest of the state and its citizens and, likewise, the DOC will move forward to implement that plan, if approved," corrections spokeswoman Linda Eggert said.

The governor also wants to repeal the ability for offenders to earn time off their prison sentences for good behavior. The measure could result in cost savings, Werwie said, but details weren't available Wednesday.

To see more of the La Crosse Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.lacrossetribune.com/ .

Copyright (c) 2011, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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