Thursday, April 25, 2013

second chance for juveniles

           Big news for Prisoners who were 
           waived into adult court as juveniles.
Supreme court has banned mandatory life sentences for juveniles :new possiblities for resentencing of many see New blog on juvenile justice
also here: very good studies on effect of present system on juveniles and public safety and on prison industrial complex in general

read transcript of Supreme Court decision
Read Amnesty International's brief to the supreme court  in supportof juveniles
sentencing project study on effect long sentences for juveniles has on the prisoner and on society

Another great study, this time indepth on prison indetsrial complex as well as juveniles

James Earl Jackson: :    Born in MO, Father died when he was 2, mother at14.
" I been in prison since I was 16 years old and since I been in prison I have changed my way of thinking and I have changed my behavioral patterns."
As a mentally matured adult I don’t believe that I should be let off the hook for my crimes as a juvenile.
I believe that everyone should be punished for any and all criminal activity in which he or she involve themselves in whether he or she be a juvenile or an adult, however I strongly believe in second chances! I don't believe that a 15 year old or a l6 year old juvenile should be sent to prison for life as if a juvenile can't change his or her ways of thinking. . Juveniles can change and I believe that all juveniles should be given a second chance to prove that their destructive behavior could be transformed into positive constructive behavior if given the chance to prove it.Read his story.

Roy Rogers and Andre Bridges have crafted a bill for Wisconsin that would give a pathway to juveniles who have serve more the 20 years and can show they are  rehabilitated.
Darren Morris,
sentenced as a mentally ill kid, now a fine artist and has written a  guide other outh. See his blogs
Darren morris, artist and story
Study Guide for Urban Youth

jacob baker

jose bonilla
Latasha Armstead
Lene cespedes Torres
Lloyd Jarrow #365826;
general Delivery
LA State Prison
Angola, LA 70712

shulbert williams
joseph orosco sabir wilcher second chance for juvenile offenders to blog with posts by prisoners waived into adult court
Joseph Orosco 335933

to new wordpress blog with court decisions,  studies and much more to blog with posts by prisoners waived into adult court
to new wordpress blog with court decisions,  studies and much more

SabiaWilcher # 304719
Green Bay Correctional Institution
PO Box 19033
Green Bay, Wi 54307


  WHAT IS PRISON? by: Mr. Todd Jones, #333660 ;P.O. Box 900 (CCI) ;Portage, Wi 53901
Prison is:
A place where you write letters and can't think of anything to say... A place where you wait for letters that come less and less often ... A place where you gradually stop writing all together. A place where you lost respect for the law because you see it raw, naked, bent, ignored and blown out of proportion to suit the people who enforce it... A place where it is proven that absolute power corrupts absolutely. A place where you wait for a visit that doesn't happen... and although you know the real reason, you have to accept the lies. A place where you learn that nobody needs you... you are the forgotten man, and the world goes on without you... A place where you discover that all of the talents and abilities you have are worthless, for you are a man in green. A place where you receive your divorce papers and you learn the meaning of the words "Till Death Do us part"... for the outside world you are a dead man. A place that doesn't exist in the minds of friends, for they cannot put it on an envelope, nor can they find it in a car... A place that exists only in a time warp, for you are only remembered in past tense... and that's probably appropriate, for you can see no future. A place where days blend into weeks, months merge into years, and eons pass without feeling the touch of a human hand unless it is raised in anger... A place where a kind word and an affectionate touch are only memories. A place where basic humanity is ignored, discarded, and eventually forgotten... A place where men are stripped of their clothes as well as their dignity, and herded like the beast society believes them to be. A place where you go to bed early, even if you are not tired; you walk in circles, even though you have nowhere to go; and you pull the covers over head, even though you're not cold. A place where escape is possible, but only through reading, dreaming, or just plain going mad. Can a man survive prison and resume a useful life? If he can overcome the degradation that is heaped upon him, society will continue to remind him that he is tainted. Does he deserve what he got? Of course! And smug society can be assured that it bas done the right and proper thing. Until... circumstances, errors, accidents, or a mistake in the judicial system flips the table and they find themselves in the shoes of the man in the cell next door!!!!

intro to penpal club

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of outside contact to a prisoner’s success. Yet few find friends on penpal sites, even if they paid to be listed. Part of this is because prisoners are often portrayed as monsters , making people afraid. Another reason few prisoners find correspondents no matter how they try, is because they have no internet and few people write letters anymore .

Over the years FFUP has fairly good luck finding penpals for prisoners on a one to one basis - when people come to the web and say they want to help someone- I have directed them to prisoners and that sometimes works out. I often forward their mail also- so they do not give their address. These are people concerned about the prison debacle. But the FFUP was is slow, serving few. . . So we have cooked up a “penpal club” to expand the idea and we invite you to join. “This is a pilot project.”

FFUP’s penpal club blog will start with posting a few prisoners who will keep posting regularly and we keep linking the blog on the facebook. Meanwhile you are invited to comment anonymously on the blog or send a prisoners a nurturing card or letter. You can use FFUP’s return address and be anonymous, sign “a friend”, or you could take the plunge and begin a correspondence.

If this works, each prisoner could have a few different people writing occasionally and in return , he/she would be writing to the whole crowd- like people do on blogs- they get anonymous comments.The difference here is that because these prisoners can get no internet, we will send your comments to him. The other difference is that these prisoners are in great need and with each note , whether as blog comment or note sent in the mails you will eb making a big difference in someone’s life. Please help, Take a look at this blog- write a comment, send a card. Our return address:FFUP penpal club; 29631 wild Rose drive, Blue River, Wi 53518

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Art of DarRen Morris

This is a selection of painting this incredible artist has donated. Prisoners are not allowed to do "enterprizing". i.e.- they cannot make money from their work.. Through FFUP fundraising , however, we can help prisoners without funds with the basics.

ON his site are many more paintings we have photographed but these are the ones we can give to you as thank you gifts. More are coming. At this point we are eliminating a minimum donation requirement.

Email us if you decide to donate, and give us the number of the painting you would like to receive as thank you gift. We are just developing this and will clearly mark which paintings are available and what size they are and of what type material . Also a guide of a minimum donation will be set. All proceeds after mailing expenses will go to prisoners- most for stamps, hygiene supplies, books and the like. We are also sponsoring a prisoner to prisoner mentoring project which requires much copying of texts, as the prison does not allow used books.
The explanations under the paintings come from Darren's blog:

"bird landscape":this is a 16x20 (Guessstamation) Acrylic painting...(note: acrylic on fabric over cardboard- a little beat up- done early-but still beautiful)
Painting is a sort of meditation for me, to me that gives me a chance to still my mind, and connect with my natural self. What others may refer to as the spiritual or supernatural. This allows me to hear my center speak to me, and sometimes like this one, I envisioned I was sitting on a large rock on the rivers edge. The soles of my feet together completing my circuit. Taking a moment to visually take in the majestic mountains in the distance, the trees that sway and rustle in the slight breeze. The sound of the water, slow and hypnotic, setting the tone for deep meditation. Slipping into Jah blessing, seeking H.I.M. face, inhaling Jah air. I can almost smell it. I can almost hear Jah birds singing unto H.I.M.. For those moments, I'm not here, smelling this thick stale (One Destiny...Rastafari!-missplaces words) air. Prison has a smell you'll never forget... You can smell the hatred, anger, & depression clinging to every breath. I find peace in prayer & meditation, In all forms of I meditation. Painting brings it all into a reality...

"Girl and Globe" 11.5"x16.5" visible) (fabric on cardboard)

I really enjoy painting Native American themed pictures. Often I can look at a native picture, or hear a concept or belief and it gives life to something I've felt or spark something new, simple, basic. Nothing fancy, over standing woman was created by the divine. Woman is to be loved and appreciated. Woman is an earth, a mother of creation. Rasta must love woman, but don't fall in love. Rasta stand in love, love so much Rasta look hungry. When I began reading up on different aspects of history, I was shocked & saddened by the burden our women have had to endure. I have to acknowledge that I was not a champion for women, I was not abusive or anything, but I would pass on my way allowing wrongs to go un-checked. Hopefully my paintings will inspire a thought in young men, to cherish women. Not only the women in our family and our lives, but all women..
Love, One God, One Aim, one Destiny!

3) "self protrait; letting it all out"(above)Acrylic, 11 1/2 "x 16 1/2", I was tired of holding it in & I just let it go for awhile & had fun.

4)"woman in White" 18x24 Acrylic (home made canvas) mounted on a board. I met this woman that had inflamed my passions, she was very sexy and fun to share with, upon comple­ting the picture, we parted ways and I threw water from a paint glass on it that happened to be glue. Expressing that sense of loss, and preserving...her.
H.I.M. Haile Salassic"Haile Salassie" (above)18x24 Bristol paper. Graphite pencil & chalk pastel. Minimum donation #20
I drew this soon after I got to Columbia Correctional Institution. I hung it on my wall for nearly a year and a half, a friendly face in the mist of this strange environment.

6)" Chief Joseph" Acrylic painting on canvas panel 9x12 (I believe), I'm not sure who this is, I believe it to be Chief Joseph, no real meaning, I just like the pic­ture, (I seen in a book), so I painted it.

7)"Rastafarian man with earth with dreadlocks "(no title) (10"x19") (acrylic on paper)

8)Eagle Wolf (no number) (painted 9-28-08) (acrylic on canvas panel) (18"x24")

This is a canvas panel, if memory seves me, with aicrylics- 18x24... There is no grand story about this, it was a photograph in a magazine of some sort of sculpture. I liked the piece first for the color, then for the curve in the wings. I've never seen anything like that in real life. A real Eagle, or that slice of nature. I can only imagine how nice it must be to sit atop of a mountain like that...

Egyptian woman with Pyramids (no title) (9"x12") (acrylic on paper)

Bob Marley (no number) (acrylic on paper) (8.5"x 11") (gone)

Rasta rising from heart, (Title: Thinking) (5" x 8") (acrylic on paper)

Act of Affection, Part 1 of 4 (acrylic on canvas paper with varnish) (16"x20") (on blog)

This fantasy is from a dream I had. I had seen paintings in a magazine that was very similar. I “tried” to duplicate this work and for me it represented King Solomon and Queen of Sheba as I just read the story in the KEBRA NAGAST ( The glory of Kings) by Miguel Brooks ( translation) After many years apart, I seen her, she has her own family now and three beautiful children. But for me she was ( is ) that first great love, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. I’d give her that painting. It was a 18X24” on masonite I believe. It’s been a few years although the dream is of recent vintage. Somehow all of this got dreaded up in my dreams and when I awoke at like 3 am I began painting. I wept . My tears were mixed in with my painting , it was finished in one setting. The ‘Halfpint” ( I nickname we gave here because she was so short, we had just seen a Spike Lee movie school daze. She ‘s 4’12” although she’ll claim 4’11”. Birth stone is garnet and that stone is suppose to represent constancy. I’ve never seen a garnet. However in my dream, the stone was blue, so I called it sapphire which represents clear thinking, the necklaces are kind of like marriage rings , the triangle pointing skyward represents the male and one pointing down represents female , based on the reproductive organs. Also God (spirit) man/woman ( material, together, we represent thar Star of David Shield of Jah. Ruby is my birthstone which represents contentment.

Act of Affection, Part 3 of 4 (#113) (acrylic on canvas paper with water-based varnish) (9.5"x16") (on blog)

The act of affection sets my love in motion part 3
9 ½”X `16” acryllic on paper
This one is based on a fantasy I had about this woman while looking at a painting by someone else. I don’t even know who the original artist was. I drifted off and imagined a hot summer day, with the kind of humidity that produces sweat from thinking too hard. Taking a hike up the side of a small mountain,Stopping to take it all in, I imagined what it would be like to see her standing there , with one of those long thin summer dresses. I have a weakness for them. To be there in a moment with such a beautiful Queen. Again this is not a portrait of the person, but a representation of a feeling.She is a very attractive woman who inspires fantasies that appeal to my animal nature. At other times it is my intellect that is stimulated.

(above)Card: Man & woman in hot tub (5" x 8") (acrylic on paper)
Old Pirates (acrylic on linen-covered board) (9"x12").gone

9# 10# 11# below
The concept...Is as I was going through, experiencing some emotionally trying times, so I tried to not focus on the pain and turn my face towards my God, hoping that the light of my creator will shine on me.
"For some reason"... Some reason other than I'm estranged from my kin people. Some reason other than I have no voice to speak my mind, to give rise to the injustice done within the confines of these tortured chambers & tombs, The souls of the walking dead cry out, with silent screams. I see it, the pain welled up in the eyes of adult males, stripped of the title of men, no longer functional...
For some reason other than I lie awake at night listening to my cellmate snoring so loud it seems to be coming from inside of me...Staring at the ceiling fantasizing of spending time with my son, trying to at times forget that I have failed him, his mother, and society.

Finding out that people close to me are crackheads...For some reason other than living souls all over the world suffering... #9 reflects this pain, the pain of losing my great grandmother, pissed off & heart broken, such a loving & gentle soul. As many things in this life I turn to the source to sustain me.

self portrait /

Next two go togetherTwo part card: dark (above & Self-portrait )below) (each are 4.5" x 7") (#40) (acrylic on paper) (#9 and #11 on blog). See explanation for 9 thru 11 above.

heart man

see all newest paintings on blog

art of LaRon McKinley

new drawings by LaRon McKInley

The size of this portrait is 8 inches by 11 inches

This is a picture of the girl LaRon drew. The actually photo used for the portrait is unavailable but you can see how closely he captured her look.

Laron McKinley is a prisoner in segregation in Boscobel, Wisconsin. Above is an example of the portraits he does. He needs an 8 by 11 photograph and makes the portrait from it.

AS LaRon spends mush time on these portraits, we would like to see a minimum donation of 50.oo.

Please email if you are interested :

OR write Laron Directly: LaRon McKinley Bey 42642

WSPF PO Box 9900

Boscobel, Wi 53805

Does Anyone Know What Time It IS?

By Steven Gordon
Now released see blog about post release experiences : (address coming)
PO Box A
Cresson, PA 16699-0001

I wrote a sincere letter to the warden of my county prison. I wrote that I doubted that he had ever received a letter like this and in the first paragraph I wrote that I wanted to help and I would be released from state prison soon.

There has been no response to it. When I put it in the mail I didn't really know what to expect, but with the nature of the letter and officials focused on rehabilitation I thought I would at least get a "thanks but no thanks."

I related that I have moral and ethical values as a 62-year-old and that my domestic offense came out of wrong thinking, not criminal thinking and I have had these values all my life. I believe that having been "inside" for nearly 10 years who better to understand and work with offenders than someone who has been there? The goal of course is to keep people from coming (back) to prison.

I guess this warden in Bucks County, Pennsylvania doesn't see it that way, doesn't care or thought it was a joke. It wasn't a joke! Does that make rehabilitation is a myth?

"Us" and "Them"The staff advisor/coordinator of our incarcerated Vietnam Veteran's of America chapter here at SCI Cresson in Pennsylvania talks with us on things not all veteran related. One thing he has said about public perception is that there is an "us" and "them" mentality outside.

Basically he says the "us" is those in the communities who look at the prisons telling the officials that they should take care of "them." The plain and simple fact is that about 90% of "them" will eventually become part of "us."

Speaking for myself, I won't be an "us" because that whole mentality is a segregating thing. In our democratic society we are supposed to be above that sort of thing.

I am not smarter than anyone else but I would love to be able to tell what I have experienced to help others. I think having a message that is relevant and that has real meaning trumps smart. To that end I guess I would have to conclude the warden I sent my letter to is a closed minded individual.

Prison is a warehouse
Prison is a business to warehouse "bad" people. About five years ago statistics from the Justice Department cited Pennsylvania as keeping its prisoners longer than any state on average of 69 months per prisoner. Texas was second at 55 months and I think Wisconsin was third at 38 months. To make that number stand out more, Texas leads the nation in number of sentences of 20 years or longer.

Currently Pennsylvania houses state prisoners in county prisons that have open beds and they are exploring sending prisoners to other states. As reported in the USA TODAY over the summer, other states are finding ways to close prisons in favor of less costly methods to monitor its prisoners while maintaining public safety. Pennsylvania is proposing to build four new 2000 bed facilities.

There are many contributing factors. In my case I am maxing out my sentence because my prosecuting attorney, Mr. T. Gary Gambardella, (who is running for District Attorney in Bucks County, Pennsylvania) has objected to my parole five times. It isn't a public safety issue
- never was.

I am not the only one in this situation. Pennsylvania has 51,000 prisoners in 28 facilities designed for 43,000 as reported on the news locally. I even heard a guest on HLN say that there are too many people in prison who don't need to be there.
Rehabilitation programs

Lets talk about (the perception of) rehabilitation. In Pennsylvania we had a parole moratorium near the end of 2008 where all paroles were suspended. The basis was the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer by a parolee.

It was tragic for sure, but unfortunately people (some parolees) will commit violent crimes. Do we want to take measures to limit this - certainly we do. That's where the concept of rehabilitation programs in prison comes into play.

Consider this - perhaps the prisons themselves, are part of the problem. From my experience too many prison staff seem to come to work to collect a paycheck rather than to do a job. That is easy for an inmate to say, but as part of "them" I get to see examples first hand as the "us" look the other way. To be fair they are not the majority, but they have impact as inmates observe them.

When the parole moratorium was lifted it was pretty much back to business as usual.
It's a Catch-22. The parolee who killed the police officer was on parole after 10 years of a maximum 12-year sentence. People decried, "How could you let him out?" However, if that individual were to have been kept to complete his sentence and released unsupervised and he killed a police officer, they would have cried, "Why wasn't he released under strict supervised parole before just letting him go?"

Then the question comes up about rehabilitation in prison.

ParoleA study was done during the moratorium it concluded that the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) runs one of the best parole systems in the country. PBPP and DOC leaders reported to the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary at a hearing that other states study Pennsylvania's parole system. Really?

Based on recommendations by Dr. John Goldkamp of Temple University in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania DOC and PBPP set up a mandatory program called Violence Prevention for violent offenders to complete before they could be paroled.

This program, run by the Pennsylvania DOC, was in place but it wasn't mandatory. This created a long waiting list. I had three cellies, or former cellies, who got into separate sessions of VP but with the same staff counselor. He was supposedly specially trained to be a group leader for this program but only about 30% of the scheduled sessions were held and everyone got a certificate of completion. The other VP group leader ran a complete program.

Great for the inmate who didn't want to participate in the first place but how does that equate to the DOC and PBPP for the perceived value of the effectiveness of program?
I proactively did the program a couple years ago. On a personal level I am, and have been, 100% program compliant with good work, housing and psych reports, institution support for parole for each of my five parole reviews and I have the lowest OVRT (violent offender rating) under the new system to rate violent offenders. The PBPP even approved my parole home plan yet I am still here.

Another thing - a friend was recently transferred back here from South Carolina for a technical parole violation. He said Carolina officials said they could have handled otherwise but it wasn't their call.

And state officials wonder why the Pennsylvania prisons are so overcrowded?
The PBPP is on record (Reynolds v PBPP) saying it has basic guidelines for parole and yet admits that it holds itself to no guidelines for making decisions granting or denying paroles. Try to explain the logic (and efficiency) of that to family, etc.

Further, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Article V, Section 9) holds there is a right to review or appeal from decisions by an administrative agency or a court of record to a court of record or an appellate court.

However the PBPP holds itself above that and says that is has "sole discretion" in all parole decisions and there is no right for an administrative review of any decision. The problem is the courts have set a roadblock of precedents to support the PBPP. I have filed to the court to review that trying to make it a constitutional issue.

Responsibility and Cooperation
In spite of the lip service that the PBPP and the Pennsylvania DOC cooperate, there seems to be little or no cooperation. They snowballed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Pennsylvania DOC and the PBPP just go about their business separately and workers come to work and collect a paycheck and they let those outside (remember the "us"?) think they are doing a noble service to the community. One footnote, the majority of staff are not like that.

Prison overcrowding is a huge issue now. The DOC wants and needs to made bed space and they are handcuffed. As for the PBPP, it doesn't seem to get it. The legislators - who knows what they are thinking?

Perhaps if things were properly addressed and dealt with by all parties all along this crisis would likely not exist to the extent that it does today.

A few weeks ago I wrote a brief "Open letter to the Pennsylvania legislature" for the Graterfriends newsletter published by The Pennsylvania Prison Society. GF is a publication with mostly inmate contributions. I hope they print it.

The premise was simple as they wrangle with a state budget and prison overcrowding being one of the concerns therein. Provide for early release for anyone maxing out a sentence with say less than 9 months left to go. They'd be out in a matter of months anyway. I don't have the numbers but my guess is that it would open up hundreds of beds and would relieve some pressure on the state and county systems.

It isn't the solution and in a perfect world you wouldn't consider this. But in times of crisis you take drastic unconventional steps. Look at what we are doing with the economy by giving money away for free to stimulate spending and to ease the burdens of middle class America.
The "us" want to be separated from "them" and they have no concept of the process and consequences. What is the worst and most violated value in communications - Lack of information or ignorance of it?

I'm sorry for wanting to make a difference.

Ron schilling SW recommnedation

recidivism declines with age

Criminal Behavior Declines With Age. Criminologists have long known that the propensity to commit crimes declines with age regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, or offense. Figure 8 shows that nationwide, arrests in 1999 peaked between the ages of 15 to 25, dropped dramatically for offenders 25 to 40, and were fewer than 5 percent among individuals 50 years of age and older. If reducing crime is the goal, the data suggest that imprisoning a 55-year old will have much less of an effect than imprisoning a 20-year old.
Perhaps the most important consideration related to early release of an elderly inmate is the possibility that he or she will commit additional crimes in the future. According to one federal study, 45 percent of inmates released from prison between the ages of 18 and 49 were likely to commit another crime and end up back in prison. By comparison, only 3.2 percent of those released over the age of 55 got in trouble with the law. In addition, a 1995 U.S. Department of Justice study tracked a cohort of parolees released in 1991. As Figure 9 shows, the study found that recidivism varies sharply by age group. In particular, this study indicated that older parolees are reincarcerated very infrequently, as only 1.4 percent of parolees 55 years and older recidivated.

Source:CA Legislative Analyst's Office analysis of 2003-2004 which advocates early release of non violent elderly pri.soners
Accelerated Aging in Prison: Why 55 is Considered "Older"

“elderly “at age 55 –• Research points to a trend of "accelerated aging" in prison, i.e. that a prisoner's physiological age is, on average, seven to 10 years older than his or her chronological age. Research suggests this difference may relate to the stress of incarceration, history of substance abuse, and lack of access to health services prior to incarceration. (Journal of the American Medical Association, Aging Prisoners Stressing Health Care System, July 2004.)

State studies show an exponential increase in the population of older prisoners that is being seen nationwide. For example, recently Oklahoma completed its budget and population projections. It found that 16 percent of new offenders were over 45 years old – more than double the rate in 1990. The state is now projecting that its population of prisoners older than 45 will increase 48 percent by 2018.
“It is important to keep in mind that these figures only represent chronological measurements of age. In reality, the number of physiologically older prisoners will be greater. Federal studies have shown that the average prisoner is seven years older physiologically than he or she is chronologically. Thus, a 45-year old prisoner will often show the physical deterioration and require the level of care of a person in his early to mid-fifties. This is due to histories of poor diet, drug and alcohol abuse, stressful prison life, and often poor medical care. Thus, a prison system must be concerned not just with chronologically older but also with the physiologically older prisoners in the system. It is the latter population that will allow the state to better track ballooning hidden costs in prison budget projections”-Jonathon Turley

to all those genuinely concerned

Sunday, December 6, 2009

To all those genuinely concerned

10 April 2009
Ronald Schilling #32219
Oakhill Corr. Inst.
Box 938
Oregon, WI 53575-0938

Re: Budget proposals for prison reform
To everyone genuinely concerned:

The following is being offered with hopes of enlightening your understanding of what I know to be true after being incarcerated for decades and witnessing the morphing transitions of law and policy through time, as well as the true reasons therefor. In short, I have seen it all, litigated the important issues in various courts, and examined everything in very necessary and pragmatic ways. Because of this it is difficult to have an academic detachment; from this coign of vantage the problems are known, and the solutions are obvious.

The budget proposal and possibilities currently being suggested as appropriate for meaningful change regarding the issues of crime, prisons, overcrowding and racial disparity at first blush appear sensible, but in pragmatic terms are disingenuous and will quickly be recognized as ineffective vis-a-vis the bottom line.

To be sure, something must be done, and I am quick to laud any efforts which release prisoners from this situation. But there is also a need to draw attention to the fact that the suggested measures will only allow the system to further ignore the thousands of old-law prisoners who could and should have been released long ago. Fix the parole apparatus and the problems will quickly fade away.

Old-law prisoners are continually being overlooked for proper and meaningful parole consideration despite having served the longest terms, having the rehabilitative process completed long ago, and being the most well-behaved, as well as those with the most to lose. The parole apparatus continues to fail miserably by merely dangling the parole carrot in front of our faces, and then yanking it away time after time. Indeed, I was closer to parole twenty (20) years ago than I am today, purely due to policy shifts. The reality many are coming to realize is than the carrot no longer exists. The commissioners correctly state it is their job to look for ways to parole people, but in reality they are not even trying to try. It should be shameful on their part to keep running the system in such irresponsible and costly fashion.

The sad reality is that the system has not yet been brought to a point where the commission has to act more sensibly and responsibly. Christ, everyone is still willing to keep closing schools and continue expanding prisons when every rational consideration of data suggests otherwise. It was recently in the media how three of four schools in the Fox Lake/Waupun area were closed. And yet the construction crews work incessantly at all the prisons in the same area. Shocking how complacent people are about how the state would prefer to lock up their kids than educate them.

The suggested possibility of re—naming the parole commission to expand their duties for TIS prisoners is ludicrous inasmuch as they cannot perform the tasks currently in their charge. They should first at least try to try a more sensible approach with those cases currently in their charge. To do otherwise is non-responsive to any social concerns, and fiscally irresponsible in such economic times.

The $6.5 million for improving prisoner re-entry in the ways suggested will prove to merely throw good money after bad. Being fair, there is a chance it might do some good for a few prisoners being released, but it sure has the appearance of merely creating more DOC jobs. Such funding would more effectively be utilized fostering the creation of employment measures — opportunities for starting small businesses and such — conducive to instill confidence in parolees and give them a sense of their potential and self-worth. Such an entrepreneurial enterprise could be accomplished with far less burden on the tax fisc. What is more, there are a number of prisoners with BS degrees in Business Administration who would gladly assist such a prospect if released. Such employment opportunities would prove self-sustaining in short order and would genuinely stimulate the economy in the process.

It was appalling to read the fear-mongering Republican response touting the public dangers of possibly releasing 3000 prisoners. Of those eligible, only 500-1000 would actually be released over a two year period. This gesture will not even be noticed for population reduction. Every one of those non-violent TIS prisoners probably should not have been locked away in the first place and, moreover, comprise a segment who would have been released in a month or two anyway. Ergo, it will have absolutely zero effect on the problem. Worse still, it will only allow the system to continue ignoring the release of those old-law prisoners who have served many decades and successfully completed their rehabilitation and, therefore, should have been released many years ago.

It was further suggested that a new evaluation system would ease the prison population problem. If it was an honest evaluation it would certainly help matters; that is, providing it would properly evaluate the meaningful criteria that are needed to release prisoners who most deserving. The evaluation system currently in use should be repaired so a sensible and fair evaluation can be afforded the notion that a mere few seconds of violence in a person's entire life is not dispositive of overall demeanor. People can and do change — especially after serving many decades in the system.

The use of county facilities to house prisoners will never solve anything in positive terms. It is ludicrous to imagine such conditions of confinement benefiting anyone. Being fair, it would more fully incorporate those facilities into the network; which is not to say it is righteous or that it will truly help matters. DOC has been housing prisoners in county facilities for quite a few years now and absolutely no good has come of it. Well, except for the fiscal and: census advantage attached to it.

In the final analysis, every consideration these days seems purely political and absent any real or sensible concern for justice, fairness, ethics or morality or, even, the economically distressed system. With the fairly recent JFA Institute report, it really does not make good sense to foster yet more discussion on the issues of crime, prison overcrowding, racial disparity, sensible parole policies, et al. It has all been discussed ad nauseum. The only constructive dialogue necessary is found in the JFA report and recommendations, and really does not require being re-studied by yet another committee or commission. Common sense needs to be more common.

There is currently zero accountability for the parole commission to act responsibly. Measures need to be enacted to touch the commission's emotional register to change their minds toward policies and meaningful action more conducive to the greater good of societal concerns. They are currently doing quite a disservice to society by not paroling those truly worthy of being productive tax-paying citizens.

In closing, the paradox at the core of penology is that not only the worst, but the best are sent to prison. Indeed, over the past 34 years I have met some of the most enterprising, daring, proud and brave individuals on the planet. A major recalculation is needed to address the disgraceful irregularities and inequities which cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. The current parole policies cause massive overcrowding, wasting billions of dollars and diminishing many lives in the process. The human side of this equation should be given the utmost consideration when implementing any proposed improvements to the system. To not do so would be the height of folly and the acme of irresponsibility when attempting to correct corrections.

Thank you kindly for considering the above.
Ronald Schilling #32219

Senator Lena Taylor
Representative Tamara Grigsby
Kit McNally — Benedict Center
Frank Van den Bosch — Wisconsin Prison Watch
Peggy Swan — Forum For Understanding Prisons
Posted by FFUP at


          2008 rally by families of prisoners in front of the WI DOC headquarters                    FAMILIES for a  SECOND CHANCE   WE invi...