Repeal or Replace Truth and sentencing in Wisconsin

December 28, 2022

Fontaine Baker started this petition to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
To sign the petition go to:

This petition ask for a repeal or replacement of truth in sentencing law  because currently inmates are required to serve day for day , and are excluded from being able to receive good time for positive adjustment, seek modification after serving 78 or 85% of their time, and are not able to petition the court due to any rehabilitation programs they’ve participated in, when others who are not under TIS 1 receive benefits from doing so.

Truth in sentencing history

In 1997 act 283, a bifurcated (determinant) sentence (truth in sentencing) was created for all felony offense’s. Under this structure courts were required to impose a two part sentence for any felony occurring on or after December 31,1999, excerpt for felony’s resulting in a life sentence.

Act 283 increased maximum sentences for felony’s, changing the sentencing system and eliminated Parole. Felons are now required to serve the entire length of both portions of a bifurcated sentence, which includes 1) a period of incarceration, followed by, 2)A period of extended supervision outside of prison.

Furthermore TIS- 1,established that, ” those serving a bifurcated sentence were not eligible for parole, and eliminated the possibility for a reduction in confinement time for good behavior or rehabilitation efforts.Tis-1 was  so inmates sentenced under it would serve longer periods of confinement in prison, then those inmates sentenced under the old law following the indeterminate scheme. As inmates subject to The indeterminate system were entitled to mandatory release after serving two-thirds of their sentence.

How TIS- 1 was and is an incomplete piece of legislation and became the limbo laws for those sentenced under it.

TIS-1 has been recognized as an incomplete work when passed into legislation, leaving those sentenced under TIS-1 , subjected to the limbo law,(an incomplete sentencing scheme, of which many are unable to get relief, being that judges just sentenced inmates off of his or her own interpretation of this incomplete piece of legislation).

History shows  that prisoners sentenced in the time frame after December 31,1999, til February 1,2003, has been seen to be some of the most harshest and disproportionately sentences handed down to date, being that judges sentenced individuals without any sentenceing guidelines, and appeared to answer the call for stiffer sentences, by any means necessary.

The legislation established an 18 month window between the date TIS-1 was passed and the date it was to go into effect. In order to give the newly established criminal penalties study committee (CPSC)  time to supplement and complete the existing legislation while (CPSC) completes is task, producing a lengthy report and statutory proposal for the full implementation of truth in sentenceing. The legislator failed to enact the proposal before Tis-1, went into effect. Because of bipartisan gridlock the law went into effect without the CPSC’s guidelines.

In 2002, Governor Scott McCallum called a special session to deal with Wisconsin budget crisis; both the legislative houses agreed on budget adjustment legislation which  included nearly all the CPSC’s entire proposal. On July 26,2002, the governor signed (Wisconsin act 109) into law. Act 109,was recognized as Tis-2.

Tis-2 made several modifications to Tis-1. First, it adopted a new nine category  A-I system of classifying felonies. Wis.stat. 939.50.(1999-2000).

Second, as part of the reclassification , Act 109, adjusted the length of initial terms of confinement for crime’s, because “the CPSC concluded that the maximum initial term of confinement for each crime in the new truth in sentenceing system ought to roughly parallel the maximum the person could serve in prison before reaching  MR (mandatory release) under the indeterminate sentencing law that preceded TIS.

Yet again because of the changes and the delay between TIS 1 and TIS 2, defendants convicted of felony’s between December 31,1999, and February 1, 2003 generally served  longer periods of confinement than the maximum provided under TIS 2.

Finally TIS 2 created a number of methods for adjusting and modifying a bifurcated sentence, such as early release programs, that were not offered to defendants sentenced under TIS 1. More pointed  Tis 1 &2 singled out class B felonies to be ineligible for programs or sentence adjustment avenues.

Act 109, pointedly put that felons sentenced under it may petition the court to adjust the confinement portion of the sentence, other then those conviction involved a crime in the class A or B felony.

Tis-1 left and leaves those sentenced under it to be treated harshly then other, without an outlet to gain recourse because of how the law is prejudicial towards them.Many TIS 1 prisoners have spend 20 years incarcerated already and many have taken major rehabilitated measures even in the face of being obviously unfairly treated. So we just ask for your support in Repealing and Replacing this Unconstitutional Truth in Sentencing statue.