Foreman family relieved by Woodmansee's planned civil commitment

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island's Corrections director announced yesterday Friday that child-killer Michael Woodmansee will remain in state custody.

Due to so-called "good time," Woodmansee had been scheduled for release 12 years early after having killed five-year-old Jason Foreman in 1975. Corrections director A.T. Wall says Woodmansee has instead agree to remain confined at a mental health facility under a civil commitment.

The lawyer for the Foreman family, Erik Wallin, calls keeping Woodmansee locked up the best possible outcome.

"This does bring some relief to the family that he will not be walking onto the street in September as otherwise would have happened unless the state would have gone forward for involuntary commitment," Wallin says.

Wallin says the Foreman family plans to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the case.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island ACLU director Steve Brown says he hopes the General Assembly reconsiders legislation sparked by the Woodmansee case.

In response to publicity about Woodmansee's scheduled release, lawmakers introduced bills to cut so-called "good time" for many offenders. The legislation was supported by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

Brown says the legislative move to cut good time would add millions of dollars in new costs for the state. He says it could also cause some offenders to be released early due to greater prison crowding.

"There are a lot of reasons why the passage of legislation like this is really not in anybody's best interest," Brown says. "It's not in the interest of the taxpayer, and it's not in the interest of the public because the unintended consequence could actually be to lead to the release of individuals before their sentence was up."

Brown says the state's good time statute was amended three years ago when prison crowding came close to triggering the early release of some inmates.

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