Analyzing DOC proposed changes to community supervision

New policy brief focuses on seven key proposed reforms

CONTACT: Mike Nichols, Badger Institute president, at or 262-389-8239

January 10, 2021 - The Badger Institute today published a policy brief that reviews and makes recommendations regarding recent changes proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) to community supervision, a state program that monitors more than 66,000 offenders on probation, extended supervision, parole and under electronic monitoring.

The brief, titled “Reforming Community Supervision: Review and Recommendations,” examines proposed changes presented by the DOC during a virtual town hall meeting in November and presented in an internal DOC memo obtained by the Badger Institute.

Some of the proposed changes will reduce burdens on taxpayers and the DOC, bolster or maintain public safety levels and improve reintegration of ex-offenders into society, according to Patrick Hughes, Badger Institute corrections consultant and author of the brief. Other proposed changes are likely to have limited impact, are short on details or require further study.

“Effective community supervision is critical to the success of returning individuals as they integrate into the community,” said Hughes. “We analyzed the DOC recommendations to determine whether they will help achieve or detract from the department’s mission of enhancing public safety by helping offenders change their behavior.”

The policy brief focuses on seven key proposed reforms related to rules of supervision; curfew violations; sanctions and revocations; drug or alcohol violations; short-term sanctions; community-based alternatives to revocation; and prison-time forfeiture recommendations. One of the DOC’s proposals is to reduce the standard rules of supervision from 18 to nine. While the DOC did not provide many details about these changes, the brief recommends guidelines that would help DOC policymakers and legislators adopt rules that are “direct, understandable and effective.” It also recommends nine specific new supervision rules to replace the current 18.