MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels called Monday on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to halt all paroles in the state, even though a governor can't unilaterally order them to stop and some paroles are mandated by law.
Michels has been hitting Evers as being soft on crime, accusing the Democrat in a letter Monday of sympathizing with and coddling “brutal, convicted criminals.” Evers' spokesperson Britt Cudaback said it would be illegal to do as Michels wants and called the request “an uninformed stunt to score political points by someone who has no regard or appreciation for the laws of our state.”
Michels and Evers are knotted in a tight contest in the battleground state that polls show is about even. Michaels, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump and co-owner of the state’s largest construction company, has been attacking Evers over his parole policies and his response to violent protests in Kenosha two years ago that followed the shooting of Black man Jacob Blake by a white police officer.
Wisconsin's parole commission, which operates independently of the governor, has granted about 460 discretionary paroles not required by law, something that both Republican and Democratic governors before Evers also routinely granted.
For example, former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson's administration granted more than 23,000 discretionary paroles during his 14 years as governor, the majority of which came before the state's truth-in-sentencing law did away with parole as an option in 2000. Thompson has endorsed Michels. Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker granted more than 650 discretionary paroles over eight years, according to the parole commission.
A parole allows someone in prison to be released before their sentence is complete. Starting in 2000, Wisconsin inmates were no longer...