July 28, 2010

Seven people have visited former Racine mayor in prison

Gary Becker at one of his hearings for crimes related to an Internet sex sting in January 2009. Becker is now serving three years in prison at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution.

Seven people have visited Gary Becker at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution since he was imprisoned in March, according to state Department of Corrections records.

Becker's two brothers, his sister and four friends are on his list of approved visitors. The complete list includes:
  • John A. Becker, brother, Racine
  • Daniel Bredow, friend, Minneapolis
  • Robin Knodell, friend, Racine
  • Robert A. Namowicz, friend, Franklin
  • Robert F. Purdy, friend, Racine
  • Jane E. Schrimpf, sister, Greendale
  • James Tobias-Becker, brother, DePere 
RacinePost filed an open records request with the state Department of Corrections for a list of Becker's visitors in prison. The department provided a list of people who have visited the former Racine mayor, but could not provide the dates of the visits, or how often people visited.

Spokesperson Linda Eggert said a changeover in technology from paper to computer made it impossible to compile a list of Becker's visitors. The state only knows Becker's last visitor was Schrimpf on July 20.

Prison rules allow inmates to approve who is allowed to visit. You cannot visit an inmate if you are not on their approved visitors list. The state does background checks on all visitors to its prisons.

Oshkosh Correctional Institution allows visitors every day of the week. Inmates can have up to three visits per week, but only one visit on weekends. Up to 12 people can visit at one time, including children or infants. Up to six adults can visit at one time.

Visiting regulations are fairly restrictive. Visitors are not allowed to bring food, but can purchase food from vending machines in the visitor's rooms. They cannot bring a camera or recording device, but can bring up to 25 pictures.

The visitor's room is considering a "family atmosphere," according to prison rules. Visitors are not allowed to wear revealing or profane clothing, and "excessive displays of affection" are not permitted. Visitors are allowed to embrace and kiss inmates only at the beginning and end of their visit. During the visit they can hold hands.

Becker, 53, is serving three years in prison for attempted second-degree sexual assault of a child and child enticement-sexual contact. He was sentenced March 2 by Judge Stephen Simanek.

Becker was twice elected Racine mayor, first in 2003 and then in 2007. He resigned in January 2009 after being arrested at Brookfield Square Mall in an Internet sex sting.

Becker is the father of two daughters. His wife was granted a divorce in October 2009.