“When we pay too little attention to the underlying causes and characteristics of individuals in the criminal justice system, we make significant errors, which can lead to greater problems,” Milwaukee County district attorney John Chisholm wrote in a 2019 paper about criminal justice reform.
That was before Chisholm conceded Monday that he had set an “inappropriately low” bail amount earlier this month when Darrell Edward Brooks Jr., the lead suspect in Sunday’s deadly car rampage in Waukesha, Wis., was arrested for domestic abuse and eluding police. Chisholm has been a leading figure among “progressive prosecutors,” leftwing lawmen who favor diversionary programs and community-building to locking up criminal defendants. His handling of the Brooks case is already sparking blowback to their growing influence over the justice system, much of which has been boosted by financial contributions from the leftwing billionaire George Soros.
Chisholm, who was elected in 2007, supports deferrals for some misdemeanors and “low-level” felonies in order to cut down on incarcerations. And he’s taken credit for inspiring a new wave of prosecutors in cities like San Francisco, St. Louis, and Philadelphia who have enacted similar reforms. Chisholm congratulated San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin following his election in 2019, and the pair spoke at a forum earlier this year on the status of the progressive prosecutor movement.
Chisholm and other progressives support reforms to the cash-bail system, which they say criminalizes poverty. He has acknowledged that his reform-minded approach could put murderers back on the streets of Milwaukee. – READ MORE