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Officials say about 3,000 felons would be eligible for release under Doyle plan

State corrections' officials say about 3,000 non-violent felons would be eligible for an early prison release under the governor's new budget. And 7,000 others on probation would no longer be supervised.

Corrections' secretary Rick Raemisch says it would save millions of dollars and would give prisoners more of an incentive to rehabilitate themselves.

But Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, a former corrections' committee chairman, said it would basically gut the truth-in-sentencing law.

That's the 1999 reform in which prisoners had to serve the entire prison time judges prescribed plus extended supervision when it's called for.

The law was later changed to let all but the most violent offenders ask for an early release after serving at least three-fourths of their time.

Raemisch says the new releases would only be granted for prisoners who behave and a newly-created panel would decide that.

The Earned Release Review Commission would replace the current parole board.

Doyle says Wisconsin could continue to be tough on crime while giving prison officials more flexibility in deciding the inmates' abilities to re-join society.

But Gundrum says it removes accountability because the decisions which are now made by elected judges would be made by faceless bureaucrats.