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Senate approves early release repeal (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Senate has approved a Republican measure that would all but end a program that grants criminals early release from prison.

Democrats created statutes two years ago that allowed well-behaved prisoners to move onto extended supervision sooner as a means of alleviating prison crowding. About 500 inmates have been released through the program between October 2009 and this past March.

The bill would erase almost all the early release provisions. Senate Democrats complained repealing the program would lead to spending billions on prison expansion. Republicans who control the chamber countered that early release undermines truth-in-sentencing.

The body ultimately voted 22-11 to pass the bill.

It goes next to the state Assembly. That chamber must pass it before it can go to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

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