Boscobel Schools were on the verge of being closed last Thursday after the district received information that an inmate released from the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (WSPF) the previous day had made “credible threats against the women and children of Boscobel,” according to Superintendent Stephen Smith.
“He made statements that he intended to do deadly harm to the women and children of Boscobel,” Smith said. “What we knew is we would not have had school the next day if he was still on the streets.”
Gregory B. Sanders, Jr. was released to his parole agent in Milwaukee last Wednesday and allegedly made the threatening comments upon his release. Smith and members of the school board became aware of the allegations at 6 p.m. last Wednesday and placed a call to the Boscobel Police Department. An officer responded to the district office, gathered information, and immediately began an investigation.
“School administrators determined that if the suspect could not be apprehended and detained we would not have school on Thursday and make every effort to communicate with families and community in an effort to correct this situation and allow us to resume our daily lives without fear of this person,” Smith wrote in a letter that went out to parents Thursday.
However, Sanders was picked up in Milwaukee and fitted with an electronic monitoring device to track his whereabouts.
“At approximately 10:20 p.m. I received a call from the Boscobel Area officer responsible for the investigation and it was confirmed that the suspect had been apprehended in Milwaukee and was incarcerated,” Smith wrote. “We are given assurances that he will remain in detention until a GPS device can be secured on his body so that department of corrections will know his whereabouts 24 hours a day.”
WSPF Warden Tim Haines said there isn’t much the Department of Corrections can do once an inmate reaches his mandatory release date.
“When it’s that close to release it’s really hard to hold them past their release date; statutorily, there are things we have to do,” Haines said.
As far as Sanders’ behavior and the threats made upon his release, Haines called it “short-timer’s disease.”
“Sometimes there is a tendency for them to shoot their mouths off because they know there isn’t a whole lot we can do to them,” Haines said.
At this time Sanders does not appear to be a threat to the citizens of Boscobel, but the school district and prison officials continue to monitor the situation.
“The safety of our children, staff and community members is a critical need that will always be a top priority of this administration, board and staff,” Smith wrote. “We will remain in touch with the community regarding any further details that may be important for us to address in this and related matters.”