EDITORS NOTE: On Friday, Evers’ Parole Commissioner John Tate rescinded parole for Douglas Balsewicz. Tate has indicated that the recission of parole for any reason other than Balsewicz’s actions would result in a lawsuit the state would lose. If true, Balsewicz could win release based on Tate’s decision to grant parole.
Sometimes the promises politicians keep are worse than the ones they break.
May 17th is the scheduled release of a violent murder, a man who served a little over a quarter of his 80-year sentence. The prisoner in question is Douglas Balsewicz, now only 54, who stabbed his wife 42 times in front of their little children, only 2 and 4 years old.
Then he left them with her body.
Tony Evers’ Parole Commissioner decided that a fraction of his sentence was plenty, and is helping deliver on the Evers promise to turn out 50% of the prisoners onto the streets again. Evers hand picked social-worker John Tate as his parole commissioner because Tate is committed to ending Truth in Sentencing laws and releasing more convicts.
The family of Balsewicz’s victim are distraught that their sister’s murderer will be on the streets again. They say they didn’t receive notification until Thursday. They’ve begged Tate to reverse the decision. They begged Evers for a meeting.
Tate has already refused to reverse the decision saying there could be a legal risk to keeping a murderer in prison now that he has ordered his release. Tate said that parole is “earned,” justice is not supposed to be about vengeance, and that he wants parolees like Balsewicz “positive assets to society.”
Only after the media became involved did Evers respond to the victims’ family.
None of this is a surprise. This is Tony Evers keeping campaign promises.
As we’re reported about Evers’ criminals-first commitment:
Evers ran for governor on a platform popular with his base, of releasing 50% of our state’s prisoners. Even though 70% of prisoners were convicted of violent crimes.
Evers followed those promises with proposals to overhaul the criminal justice code, dumping Truth in Sentencing, reducing sentences especially for criminal adults up to age 25, and expanding early release.
He vetoed a package of tough-on-crime legislation.
He told criminals finishing their sentences on extended supervision they’re not expected to comply with the terms of their release – paying restitution, adhering to treatment programs are just suggestions under Evers, not requirements.
He appointed a parole commissioner who would put violent criminals back on the streets after serving fractions of their sentence in the name of “social justice” and “redemption.”
Evers’ Department of Corrections has a “person first” approach to criminals. No longer are they prisoners or convicts. They’re “persons in our care.” No more do we have rapists, we have “clients” who committed sex crimes.
But when pushed on these issues, Evers dodges.
He won’t remove Milwaukee County DA Chisholm from office in spite of the consistently low bail amounts that allowed the Waukesha parade murders. Meanwhile Chisholm’s office refuses to prosecute 60% of felonies and 80% of misdemeanors.
He won’t say what his position on bail reform is.
When Evers was finally cornered into meeting with the Balsewicz victims’ family today, he said he “didn’t agree” with the decision but that he lacks the power to overturn it.
Evers sent a letter to his appointee Tate – suggesting but not ordering – him to reconsider. Evers made sure to mention in the letter, again, that he himself is entirely powerless.
Of course, Evers does have the power.
If Evers truly wanted the decision overturned, he wouldn’t issue a phony, posturing CYA letter, he would simply call up his appointee and demand the decision be rescinded. If his hand-picked appointee refused, Evers could remove and replace him with a commissioner who would reverse the decision.
He isn’t doing that because he has spent his entire term working toward the goal of more criminals on the streets, including appointing a parole commissioner who will free a murder who left two tiny children with their mother’s corpse after serving a fraction of his sentence.
This is what Evers campaigned to do, and this is what keeping those campaign promises looks like.