The Legislature Must Authorize Early Access to Substance Abuse Program
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined on April 21, 2021, to review a Court of Appeals decision holding that a defendant made eligible for the Substance Abuse Program as part of a sentence for 7th, 8th or 9th operating under the influence cannot be released until serving the mandatory minimum 3 year term of initial confinement. For many years prior to the November 10, 2020 decision of the Court of Appeals, the term of initial confinement ended 30 days after successful completion of the program which often meant that initial confinement ended in less than one year. By denying the petition to review the Court of Appeals decision the Wisconsin Supreme Court has failed to sanction relief for inmates who have diligently completed the substance abuse program aka Earned Release. There is no further appeal other than to members of the Legislature to clarify that successful completion of the program is an exception to the otherwise mandatory 3 years term of initial confinement.