This is part of an ongoing series where we attend the monthly staff meeting of the parole commission and make notes available to the public and to captives held under the old law (sentenced before 2000).
September’s meeting was on Wednesday the 1st. It was attended by commission chair, John Tate II, all three commissioners, and two records associates. The public portion was about 20 minutes long, and there was a “no action” case they discussed in closed session afterward.
Tate started the meeting similarly to the last few meetings, bringing up a few tweaks that suggest he is making gradual changes to the parole commission process. First, he indicated that parole commissioners should use third person rather than first person language when describing their choices. So, rather than saying for example, “I recommend a two month defer” they should say “the commissioner recommends a two month defer.” Tate said this “better indicates that these are the agency’s choices, not individuals.”
Wisconsin’s parole system is a corrupt and harmful charade. Reform progress under the new chair, John Tate II has been achingly slow, and the parole commission engages in convoluted logic and willful ignorance to justify deeply unjust practices. At their recent staff meeting on August 4, Tate shed some light on early release through executive directive 31 and other parole practices.
The meeting started 30 minutes late, and lasted about 25 minutes. It was held at the DOC headquarters in Madison, but the public was only invited to attend online. The full staff was present, except commissioner Doug Drankiewicz, who attended via zoom. The late start seemed to be due to technical difficulties with the zoom meeting, seemingly because they changed the format to better restrict public participation. Tate has always been very concerned about possible disruption from people at the meetings, though none has ever occurred.
The Wisconsin parole commission met on Wednesday, June 2. It was an exciting meeting because commission chair John Tate II allowed people to send in questions in advance and even answered some of them. This gave us a deeper glimpse into the biases, misconceptions, and mindset of the commission. That’s not a pleasant thing to see.