Some of this Corporate Agenda Has Already Become Law
When current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was a state representative, he was an ALEC member and introduced several bills proposed by ALEC, including "Truth in Sentencing and bills to privatize the state's prison system."
Passed in Wisconsin in 1997, "Truth in Sentencing" requires inmates serve their full sentence without options for parole or supervised release. The program has inflated prison populations and greatly increased the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on prisons (in Wisconsin, to an estimated $1.8 billion through 2025). In many states,Truth in Sentencing has increased profits for private prison companies like the Corrections Corporation of America, a member of the ALEC Private Sector board. In 1999, then-Rep. Scott Walker introduced two bills that would allow private prisons in Wisconsin, and while those bills did not pass, some inmates were contracted-out to private prisons in other states, and the Corrections Corporation of America has registered lobbyists in the state ever since.
A former head of Wisconsin's prison system (and current University of Wisconsin Law Professor) Walter Dickey told American Radio Works it is "shocking" that lawmakers would write sentencing policy with help from ALEC, a group that gets funding from, and supposedly "expertise" from a private prison corporation.
"I don't know that they know anything about sentencing," he said. "They know how to build prisons, presumably, since that's the business they're in. They don't know anything about probation and parole. They don't know about the development of alternatives. They don't know about how public safety might be created and defended in communities in this state and other states."
The Wisconsin state legislature apparently recognized the folly of Truth in Sentencing and rolled-back the law between 2001 and 2009. When Scott Walker became governor, he reversed this progress and requested legislation restoring the ALEC corporation-supported Truth in Sentencing, despite the costs to taxpayers and despite claiming Wisconsin was "broke." It is unknown whether privatized prisons will soon follow.
To learn more about this story, click here or here. (Have any of these bills been introduced or enacted in YOUR state? If so, please add that information to the ALEC Exposed page on your state by searching for your state's name in the search engine at the top of this page.)
In 2011, Wisconsin ALEC members introduced AB-69, a bill nearly identical to the ALEC "Castle Doctrine Act" approved by the National Rifle Association. The bill allows a homeowner to shoot and kill a person they claim is breaking into their home, without fear of civil liability. A marked-up version of AB-69 noting the relevant sections of the ALEC "Castle Doctrine Act" can be found here.