Debate: Ron Johnson Slams Democrat Mandela Barnes for Releasing 15% of Criminals on Parole

Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., arrives as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmenta
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Gabriela Bhaskar-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) slammed Democrat Mandela Barnes in Friday’s debate for allowing 15 percent of Wisconsin’s inmate population out of jail on parole.

Johnson said:

The lieutenant governor, when he assumed the legislature, wrote a bill to eliminate cash bail, one of the methods we can use to make sure dangerous criminals stay in jail. Their goal is… to reduce the population by 50 percent. They’ve already reduced it 15 percent. And they’ve paroled about 884 criminals. You’d think they start with nonviolent. No. Only 11 percent were nonviolent – about 100 criminals.

The others were violent criminals, including 44 child rapists. 2070 criminals who committed or at least attempted murder. The murders were horrific. If you want to reduce crime, first of all, you have to fully fund the police. My opponent is opposed to fully fronting police budgets, to keep criminals in jail.

Barnes “absolutely” wanted to release half of Wisconsin’s inmate population, he said in a 2018 video.

“That’s not something that happens overnight,” he complained. “If you stop sending people back to prison, we can reduce our recidivism rate if we drop the way, you know, sentence nonviolent offenders. Over time, the prison population will be half of what it is.”

Recent polling shows Johnson leading in the polls by five points. Just two months ago, Barnes was leading Johnson by a moderate margin. But Barnes’ radical record seems to be working against him.

 Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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