Category Archives: Crime

Man Tries to Pull Gun on Police. Gets Shot.

Yet again, people react to a police shooting with outrage and, upon review, we see that the police were reacting to a very real threat. One might begin to think that the people reacting to police shootings aren’t entirely sincere or informed.

Saturday’s fatal police involved shooting that sparked violent protests in Chicago was captured on police body camera which shows the man who was killed was armed with a handgun.

Harith Augustus, 37, was identified as the man who was shot by police by the Medical Examiner’s office, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The video, released much earlier than expected by the Chicago Police Department, shows Augustus clearly had a gun holstered, as well as an additional magazine.

In the video, he appears to be reaching for his weapon during the confrontation with the police.

The father to a five-year-old, Augustus, also known as Snoop the Barber, worked in a barbershop nearby where he was shot.

Strzok Should Take a Page from Page

I don’t know how much of this praise is legitimate and how much is crafted to put pressure on the FBI and Strzok, but it sure is different from the Strzok testimony. Although Strzok kept trying to hide behind advice from the FBI to keep quiet, it appears that Page did not receive, or is not adhering to, the same advice.

“Lisa Page is a very credible witness and she’s doing her best to help us find the truth,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said following Friday’s hearing. “I can tell you, in ways I think she’s been falsely accused about not being willing to cooperate. We’ve learned some evidence today that would suggest she’s been willing to help, in the spirit of transparency. … The last thing anyone wants is to be falsely accused. Her willingness to cooperate today speaks well for her.

“I think there’s significant information that is new, that she has provided,” he added. “Obviously you know I am in favor of getting transcripts out for the American people, so that they can judge for themselves, but certainly I’m not going to share those today until those become public.”

Meadows tweeted following the hearing, “Remarkably, we learned new information today suggesting the DOJ had not notified Lisa Page of Congress’ outstanding interview requests for over 7 months now. The DOJ/FBI appear to be continuing their efforts to keep material facts, and perhaps even witnesses, from Congress.”

After she did not appear on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that “congressional subpoenas for testimony are not optional,” warning Page that the House could move to hold her in contempt if she did not comply.

“She was a part of the mess that we’ve uncovered over at DOJ. She has an obligation to come and testify,” Ryan, R-Wis., emphasized Wednesday during a news conference at the Capitol. “If she wants to come and plead the Fifth, that’s her choice, but a subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional. It’s mandatory.”

Putting Crooks in Jail Reduces Crime

Who would have thought?

Keep two things in mind in assessing the consensus among Democratic gubernatorial candidates — and, apparently, former Governor Tommy Thompson — that Wisconsin incarcerates too many criminals.

  1. In 1990, there were 215,000 crimes reported in Wisconsin. Last year the total was 123,388.
  2. In 1990 Wisconsin prisons housed 7,332 inmates. At the start of this year the number was 23,200.

In other words, the expansion of Wisconsin’s inmate population coincides with a 43 percent reduction in crimes reported by the FBI. Research documents a causal link between reduced crime rates and the incarceration of serious, repeat offenders. The staggering cost of crime to victims is obviously much less, a factor almost never mentioned when discussing the higher costs of incarceration.

It is amazing how many crimes are committed by a few people. Very few people just commit one crime, but almost all crimes are committed by a very few people.

Protesters Call for Revocation Reform

I agree that this process needs reform, but in the other direction. Parole and other forms of conditional release are just that… conditional. The criminal was duly sentenced to incarceration and is obligated to serve that full sentence if they violate the conditions of their release. Our system doesn’t do it fast or often enough.

Criminal justice reform advocates gathered in front of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections office Tuesday to call for changes to the state’s community supervision policies.

Chanting, “No more crimeless revocation, we demand their liberation,” the crowd of about two dozen community members argued that too many people are locked up for violating their parole, probation or extended supervision agreements.

“You are taking productive members out of society,” said Jerome Dillard, leader of Ex-incarcerated People Organizing, about the state’s corrections department.

Owl Thefts on the Rise

This is an interesting look at the downstream impact of the technology-enabled cultural shift away from hard currency.

The break-in at MacLeod’s aviary is unusual for a number of reasons. Their bed and breakfast sits on a picturesque, but remote part of the wind-buffeted Lewis coastline – hardly a crime hotspot. Thefts of birds of prey, and particularly owls are also uncommon.

But it is a crime that is being seen more and more frequently, according to those within the falconry community. And there is a growing suspicion that they are being targeted for a reason – as a replacement for cash.

Globally, the number of non-cash payments are expected to reach almost 726 billion transactions by the end of the decade, an increase of 10.9% since 2015. Some countries, however, are rushing ahead in the move to electronic payments. In the UK, for example, the number of cash transactions in 2017 fell by 15% to 13.1 billion compared to the previous year, while payments using cards increased. In Japan, cash payments decreased by 8.5% in 2017 and in China mobile payments grew by a fifth in just one quarter of 2016

But as contactless credit cards, mobile phone payments and online transactions grow, the amount of cash being carried by people and kept by retailers is decreasing. For criminals, this creates a problem. Cash is the thieves’ best friend – it has instant value, can be carried easily, is relatively untraceable and can be quickly disposed of.

So with societies around the world becoming increasingly cashless, thieves are having to find alternatives to help them make a quick, illegal profit. Here we look at some of the more unusual things that criminals have had their eye on.

Birds of prey

In Sweden, where just 2% of all transactions were made using cash last year and a fifth of people say they never withdraw money from an cash machine, there are perhaps the strongest signs that something is changing in the country’s criminal fraternity.

Four years ago there were 30 bank robberies in Sweden while in the 1990s there were around 100 a year. In 2017 there were just 11. There have been similar declines in the number of armoured-car robberies.

Meanwhile, crimes against protected species in Sweden have been steadily increasing, reaching 156 in 2016 – their highest level in nearly a decade – before a slight dip again last year.Law enforcement officials in the country say the theft of rare owl eggs and orchids are among the most common crimes against protected species.

These are then sold on the black market and smuggled around the world to countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, where owning a bird of prey is seen as a status symbol. According to Filippo Bassini, head of the police unit for species protection offences in Sweden, an adult great grey owl can fetch more than $112,000 and are often sold on through the dark net.

Scalise Makes a Play

Very cool. One year after a leftist Bernie-supporting terrorist tried to kill as many Republicans as he could and severely injured Steve Scalise, he’s back on the field and making plays.

One year to the day since Rep. Steve Scalise was seriously wounded in a shooting during a team practice in Alexandria, Va., the Louisiana Republican took to Washington’s Nationals Park for the 2018 Congressional Baseball Game, making a play at the very start of the game.

Scalise, who endured multiplies surgeries and needed to walk with crutches for months, made the start for the GOP at second base, snagged a grounder on the first pitch of the game and promptly threw out Rep. Raul Ruiz, a California Democrat, at first, before being mobbed by his teammates.

Alleged Rapist Charged for 18-year-old Crime

Thank goodness they have tracked him down, but it looks like law enforcement has some explaining to do on why it took so long.

BELOIT – State prosecutors charged an imprisoned sex offender Thursday with sexually assaulting a teen more than a decade ago in the state’s third criminal case arising from a massive effort to test old rape kits.

Jason Smith, 41, faces two counts of sexual assault of a child while armed with a dangerous weapon. If convicted, a judge could add 70 years to his existing 50-year prison sentence.

Court records say the new charges stem from a report by a 13-year-old girl to the Beloit Police Department on July 18, 2000. She said she had been raped in an alley by a black man with a gun.

[…]

That evidence — her rape kit — identified Smith in March this year through DNA matching, court records say. The kit specifically contained sperm with his DNA that had been collected from the teen’s body 18 years earlier.

Beloit police officials declined to comment Thursday on how the teen’s rape kit had been handled. On the Beloit Police Department’s Facebook page, Chief David Zibolski called the case “an extraordinary win for justice.”

Choosing the next Washington County sheriff

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

On the eve of his third term as Washington County’s Sheriff, Dale K. Schmidt has decided to enjoy the fruits of his years of service and will retire upon the conclusion of his term in January. Sheriff Schmidt leaves behind a proud legacy of service, honor, stability and leadership. Washington County is better for his having served and we citizens of the county owe him our gratitude. Now our attention must turn to his potential successor and who will lead the sheriff’s office for the next four years or more.

The Sheriff’s Office has ancient English roots and a broad mandate. In Washington County, the sheriff is the only countywide elected official and has a wide range of responsibilities. The Sheriff’s Office is the primary law enforcement agency for every part of the county that is not served by a local police department. The Sheriff’s Office also provides additional support and resources for the local police departments. The 911 dispatch center, county jail and juvenile detention facility are all run by the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office maintains a SWAT team, dive team, transports prisoners to and from court, provides security in the courts, runs a multi-jurisdictional drug unit, provides D.A.R.E. and other educational resources, executes foreclosures and evictions and is the primary law enforcement response unit for many of the county’s schools. It is a very busy department with diverse duties.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Sheriff Schmidt’s tenure has been the lack of controversy. In an era where some other law enforcement agencies are finding themselves embroiled in scandals and responding to public outrage, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office just gets the job done. Through honest, open performance with a humble respect for the rights of the citizens they serve, the sheriff’s department has earned a great deal of trust throughout the county. Meanwhile, as good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, Sheriff Schmidt’s office finished with a budget surplus of $231,500 last year. Sheriff Schmidt’s successor has big shoes to fill.

But like any county, Washington County has some looming problems that the next sheriff will need to tackle. As cited in the Sheriff Office’s most recent annual report, high speed pursuits have been on the rise. Many of these occur on Interstate 41 or Highway 45, which have become high-speed conduits for criminals through the county. These chases are dangerous for everyone involved.

Another rising problem is criminals raiding into the county from the south. Last year, almost 20 percent of jail bookings in the county were residents of Milwaukee. That is a 38 percent increase since 2014. This ispartially driven by the increase in the number of people who fail to appear in court every year. About 45 percent of those who fail to appear hail from Milwaukee County, requiring extra effort and time to track them down.

Two candidates have stepped forward for the opportunity to be the next sheriff of Washington County. Both serve in the sheriff’s department. Both are Republicans, like Sheriff Schmidt. The primary election to select the Republican candidate is Aug. 14. Since there is not a Democrat running, whoever wins the Republican primary will be the next sheriff. The voters of the county have the privilege to choose between two qualified, conservative, honorable men.

Lt. Jason Guslick has served in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for 17 years in several roles working up through the ranks. Touting himself as a conservative Republican and lifetime NRA member, Guslick recently announced the endorsement Tim Schmidt, the president and CEO of Delta Defense in West Bend.

Guslick lists his primary issues as school safety, supporting the Second Amendment, fighting the heroin/ opioid epidemic, cooperating with federal authorities to enforce immigration laws, protecting county citizens from criminals from surrounding areas and taking a proactive approach to the mental health crisis. His vision for the department is “to move to a principles-based organization with associated values.”

Capt. Martin (Marty) Schulteis has served in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years in multiple roles and has also worked his way up through the ranks. Schulteis lists his core values as fiscal responsibility, integrity and accountability, and believes that his extensive background and experience in public safety have prepared him to be the next sheriff.

Schulteis lists his primary issues as combating the current drug epidemic with a multi-faceted approach. He is also looking ahead to the coming resurgence of the meth epidemic in the county. Although opioids/ heroin are the drug du jour, cheap methamphetamines are flooding in from Mexico and have already saturated other parts of Wisconsin. Since meth has a stimulant effect on the human body, it poses different challenges to law enforcement and Schulteis is focused on the issue. Schulteis will also advocate to add an additional circuit court to the county to help manage drug crimes.

I encourage every voter in Washington County to take the time to get to know the two sheriff candidates before the Aug. 14 primary election. It is an important office that directly and indirectly impacts every citizen. The county has had a great sheriff for many years. Let us make the effort to ensure that the office will be in good hands for years to come.

 

Obama Administration Lied About Dealings with Iran

Wow. It’s more and more clear that Obama was running a Chicago-style criminal organization.

The Obama administration went out of its way in early 2016 to help Iran recoup previously sanctioned oil revenue stranded in an overseas account after the nuclear deal went into effect and actively misled Congress regarding those efforts, according to the results of a nearly two-year Republican investigation released early Wednesday.

[…]

But the unfreezing of Iran’s U.S. accounts would be the end of it, the Obama administration said at the time. Both before and after the deal was implemented, officials repeatedly told Congress that Iran, under remaining non-nuclear sanctions, would have no access whatsoever to the U.S. financial system or institutions.

To facilitate the transaction, Obama officials engaged in lengthy discussions with Iranian and Omani officials; appealed to the two American banks to undertake the transfer; privately issued a special Treasury license that would guarantee it was allowed under still-existing U.S. sanctions; and even approached the New York Federal Reserve Bank for help.

At the end of the day, nothing worked. Eventually, according to the report, Oman took a slower and more complicated route, gradually buying small amounts of euros in Europe that could be transferred to Iran. No one involved seems certain whether Iran has yet received all of its $5.7 billion.

But in undertaking the effort and not disclosing it to Congress, Subcommittee Chairman Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said in an interview, “the Obama administration misled the American people by saying that Iran was not going to be granted access to the U.S. financial system. I think they did it because they were so eager to get an agreement with Iran.”

Such access, said Portman, a longtime opponent of the Iran deal, “is the crown jewel, what all these countries would love. Yet our government offered it, while at the same time telling the American people they weren’t offering it.”

President Can Pardon Himself

Despite the outlandish example, he’s probably right.

WASHINGTON ― Candidate Donald Trump bragged that he could shoot someone on New York’s Fifth Avenue and not lose any support, and now President Donald Trump’s lawyer says Trump could shoot the FBI director in the Oval Office and still not be prosecuted for it.

Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost Sunday, claiming a president’s constitutional powers are that broad. “I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.” Giuliani said impeachment was the initial remedy for a president’s illegal behavior ― even in the extreme hypothetical case of Trump having shot former FBI Director James Comey to end the Russia investigation rather than just firing him.

“If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day,” Giuliani said. “Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.”

The issue is that the president’s pardon power is sweeping. The Constitution says that, “The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” There is only one exception in there and it is regarding impeachment. The Constitution also doesn’t prohibit the President from pardoning himself or herself.

So it seems pretty clear that in an extreme case, a rogue and criminal president could pardon himself and the only remedy the American people would have would be to impeach him. Even then, the pardon would probably still be valid. A pardon can only be used to pardon a crime already committed. It can’t be used as a blanket immunity or to pardon future crimes. So if the President murdered the FBI Director and then pardoned himself, the only thing the people could do would be to impeach him, remove him from office, and then wait for himt o commit some other crime for which to prosecute him.

That would make a fun plot for a Clancy novel.

Police Remove Creepy Menagerie from West Bend Home

West Bend in the news! I love the Associated Press’ geography lesson in the last paragraph.

Police investigating a sexual assault suspect discovered hundreds of snakes, mice and other small animals, including some that had died, in the foul-smelling basement of his southeastern Wisconsin home.

West Bend police say officers found 160 snakes, more than 250 mice, as well as geckos and frogs in the house Thursday. The snakes ranged from 6 inches to 2 feet (15 to 61 centimeters) in length.

Many were in poor health. Several dead snakes and mice were also removed.

A 42-year-old man has been arrested on preliminary charges of sexual assault, domestic abuse and battery. He is expected to be charged with additional criminal and civil code violations.

Neighbor Crystal Frederick called the incident “very disturbing.”

West Bend is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northeast of Wisconsin.

 

Survey Finds Racial Disparities in View of Police

That makes sense.

Whites are more likely than people of color to believe most police shootings are justified and that the people police shoot are armed, according to a poll released last week by the state’s police union. But majorities of both groups also believe — incorrectly — that most police shooting victims in Wisconsin are minorities.

The poll of 400 people conducted earlier this year by the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute includes questions aimed at probing perceptions about police shootings, whether officers spend enough time patrolling, and respect for law enforcement. It was commissioned by the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.

“In general, the results look like (what) I would have expected from the general literature on perceptions of police,” said Pam Oliver, a UW-Madison sociology professor who’s studied racial disparities in criminal justice in Wisconsin. “There is a substantial literature that says the police and policing are actually different in different kinds of places or for different kinds of people, so that experiences with police differ.”

Bystander Stops Violent Criminal from Fleeing

A happy ending to a horrible crime.

An armed passerby has shot dead a gunman who opened fire on a packed Oklahoma restaurant in a terrifying shooting which left a woman and two children injured.

The shooter, a white male who was wearing eye glasses and ear protection at the time, was confronted by a person standing outside the restaurant as he tried to flee, and shot dead.

He was the only person killed in the shooting, which left four in hospital, and Police Captain Bo Matthews told reporters the armed civilian was ‘a blessing’.

Along with the victims, I always find myself sympathizing with the bystander in stories like this. It is no small thing to shoot someone – no matter how necessary it is – and it will have lifetime consequences for the bystander.

Black Panthers Protest After Viral Video Shows Officer Punching Teen

It does appear that the teen was already fighting before the officer engaged.

Amateur video which went viral on social media over the weekend shows a police officer in suburban Milwaukee punch a black teenager in the face while he and another security guard violently subdue him.

The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee have called for a boycott of Mayfair mall and the firing of the police officer who was filmed beating a 17-year-old boy during an arrest.

The violent incident took place on Friday, when security at the Mayfair mall called police to report a group of young men who were allegedly causing a disturbance.

Amateur video filmed on a cell phone shows two officers trying to subdue one of the teens.

At one point, an officer working for the Wauwatosa Police Department throws a punch at the boy while he is being held back by a mall security guard, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This looks like a close call on whether or not excessive force was used. Would have it been better for the officer to step back and tase him? Is that less violent than a punch? The kids sure has a lot of fight in him even after the punch. What do y’all think?

Nah, It’s Not a Mental Illness Problem

The BBC appears to be upset that more and more people are reacting to mass killings by wanting to improve our public mental health care policies instead of with more gun control.

In fact, few mass killers actually suffer from a diagnosable, serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychotic spectrum disorders. A 2004 analysis of more than 60 mass murders in North America, for example, found that just 6% were psychotic at the time of the killings. And when it comes to mass shootings, those with mental illness account for “less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides”, a 2016 study found. Other studies indicate that people with mental disorders account for just 3-5% of overall violence in the US, (much lower than the prevalence of mental illness in the general population – up to 18%) which “still leaves you with around 96% of violence, even if you’re able to eliminate all people with mental disorders”, Appelbaum points out.

[…]

Moreover, much of the violence that people with serious mental illnesses commit are minor infractions, such as verbal assault or hitting, not homicide (suicide, however, is a significant problem), and such infractions tend to be directed at those the perpetrator lives with, not at strangers and not at a mass scale. Large attacks also require a level of planning and organisation that often defies many with serious mental illness. A 2014 study, for example, found that just 2% percent of 951 patients discharged from a psychiatric hospital committed a violent act involving a gun, and just 6% committed a violent act involving a stranger.

That knee-jerk conclusion is problematic, he continues, because it encourages even more stigmatisation of people who have a mental illness, many of whom already have extremely difficult lives and already face discrimination in several areas, namely housing, jobs, and relationships. Individuals suffering from mental illnesses are actually three times more likely than the average person to be victims of violence, as they are more vulnerable.

 […]

Making this inaccurate link can also shift the focus of policy debates in the US. In debates over limiting access to firearms, some people start talking about fixing the mental healthcare system instead. “Suddenly you hear the gun lobby – which is very powerful in this country and has a vested interest in not having guns be regulated – become an advocate for better mental health care in America,” Swanson says. “It’s a distraction so we don’t talk about guns.” (Read more: “What if all guns disappeared?”)

It’s difficult to psychologically profile mass shooters because they often commit suicide or are killed during their attack. But what doctors and scientists do know is that the perpetrators of such events are frequently angry young men, who feel they have been mistreated by society and therefore seek to extract revenge.

Mystery Pooper Caught

You can’t make this stuff up.

The case of the mystery pooper has been solved after New Jersey police arrested a school district’s superintendent.

Thomas Tramaglini, 42, the Kenilworth school superintendent, was charged on Monday with defecating in public.

He was allegedly caught taking an early morning poop at the Holmdel High School football field by surveillance cameras.

Tramaglini, who lives about three miles from the high school, was arrested Monday morning at 5.50am when he was found at the school’s athletic fields.

Police said the school decided to set up the cameras after employees reported finding human feces ‘on a daily basis’.

The Holmdel School Resource Officer was alerted by the coaches and staff who were finding human feces, on or near the area of the high school’s track and football field every day, Holmdel police said in a statement Thursday.

Golden State Killer Caught

Allegedly. Wow.

Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested at his home in Citrus Heights, California on Tuesday night after DNA linked him to crimes attributed to the Golden State Killer from the 1970s and 80s.

The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, is suspected of at least 12 murders and 50 rapes across parts of the state 40 years ago.

Residents of the quiet, middle-class street where DeAngelo had been living for years said even though their neighbor was known for his temper tantrums, they were shocked to learn he was suspected of being a serial killer.

They said DeAngelo – a Vietnam War veteran, former police officer and grandfather – would mostly keep to himself but would often launch into swearing fits while working in his neatly kept front yard.

Natalia Bedes-Correnti, who lives a few houses away, said DeAngelo appeared to be a ‘nice old grandpa’ but he cursed loudly.

‘We used to just call him ‘Freak,’ she told The Sacramento Bee. ‘He used to have these temper tantrums, not at anybody, just (showing) his self frustration… usually because he couldn’t find his keys.’

‘He liked the F word a lot.’

Racial Disparity in Discipline Persists

The Obama discipline policies have been disastrous. Scrap them.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black students are suspended from school, expelled and referred to law enforcement much more frequently than their white peers and the disparities are growing, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

The report released by the Education Department is likely to add to an already tense national debate about what causes such racial disparities. Civil rights groups believe that racial bias is at play and insist that federal protections are necessary. Some experts counter that forcing schools to adopt milder disciplinary practices makes classrooms unsafe.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering scrapping Obama-era rules that were meant to counter those disparities and urge schools to adopt softer discipline approaches. She met with supporters and opponents of that policy this month.

The data show that while black students represented 15 percent of all enrolled students in 2015-2016, they accounted for 31 percent of children referred to police or arrested. The disparity is 5 percentage points higher than in 2013-14, when such data was last collected. Two years ago, white students made up 49 percent of all students but represented 36 percent of students who were referred to the police.

That a racial disparity exists is evident. Liberals like to blame the disparity on racial discrimination by the people administering the discipline. While some racial discrimination might exist, I doubt that it can explain even 5% of the disparity – especially since the public school systems are some of the most liberal institutions in America. In any case, discipline should be administered evenly, fairly, and without regard to race, religion, gender, or anything other than the infraction committed. Anything more or less than that is an injustice.

Waffle House Killer Was Stripped of Right to Own Firearms

It looks like law enforcement was on the ball. The dad needs to be prosecuted.

A suspect with mental health issues who allegedly killed four people in a Tennessee fast-food outlet on Sunday had been previously stripped of his right to own firearms and left a trail of red flags.

Questions are being asked about how Travis Reinking, 29, was apparently able to get his hands on the weapons.

Police said the AR-15 rifle he allegedly used in the attack at a Waffle House in a Nashville suburb had been confiscated from him just last year.

[…]

Secret Service officers detained him in July 2017 and charged him with unlawful entry after he crossed a security barrier.

He told Secret Service agents he “was a sovereign citizen and has a right to inspect the grounds” and that he wanted to meet President Donald Trump, according to a police report.

Following that arrest, authorities revoked Mr Reinking’s Firearm Owners’ Identification card.

They also confiscated four legally owned guns, including the AR-15 that was used in the Waffle House attack, police said on Sunday.

But authorities said the guns were returned to the suspect’s father, Jeffrey Reinking, after he asked to keep them.

Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, told a news conference on Sunday the father had promised he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis”.

It was unclear how Travis Reinking apparently reclaimed the guns, said Sheriff Huston.

But Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said Jeffrey Reinking “has now acknowledged giving them back”.

Second Chances

Former governor Tommy Thompson penned an interesting piece last week that suggests that Wisconsin do a better job of training ex-cons to reenter the workforce.

Our prisons are full of people who want another chance to succeed.  Here’s how we can help create better parolees and in turn help our state address workforce shortages:

• Create a core criteria/survey/interview process to find those incarcerated individuals who have both the desire and will to succeed after prison.

• Develop a “Second Chance Skills Institute” that would deliver certified job and entrepreneurial tools along with necessary life skills training. Participation would require a signed contract and a “no mistakes,” immediate expulsion policy.  The program would have to be fully completed, similar to a skilled technical college degree.

• Work with state government, employers, business groups such as Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and trade unions both financially and for instructional and mentoring support.

• Convert an existing prison (or build a new one) to house the “Second Chance Skills Institute.” This secure hub would be part of the Department of Corrections, but fully supported by other state agency efforts including the Department of Workforce Development and the University of Wisconsin and technical college systems.

• Draw on technical schools, two-year colleges and social service organizations along with specifically-hired instructors.

• Develop a highly-structured early parole opportunity, with specific responsibilities and a “no mistake” clause for the most qualified graduates, in which a sponsor-business would provide a skills-specific job opportunity.

The end product, a highly-skilled and marketable job applicant best-equipped to enter the workforce and far-better equipped to reenter society. This high-quality program would create a highly marketable and sought after payroll-ready employee, permanently attached to an ongoing “Second Chance Skills Institute” support network.

There’s a lot of merit in some of these ideas. We need to have harsher penalties and less lenient judges when people violate the laws, but we also need to do a better job of reintegrating these folks back into the mainstream when they are released. The best way to keep people from committing further crimes is to get them integrated into the mainstream culture where criminal behavior is discouraged and where they have more to lose if they get put in prison again.