Wednesday

The Catch 22s of No Parole Well Explained


Marvin Wilson has been working to prove his innocence since incarcerated and now is eligible for parole. Here he clearly goes through the terribly frustrating excuses given year after year by the parole board to thousands of men ready and waiting for release. 


These are the excuses parole eligible men hear decade after decade.
PAROLE ISSUES
1. YOU HAVE NOT SERVED SUFFICIENT TIME FOR PUNISHMENT.
The Wisconsin parole board gives out 12, 24, 36 and 48 month defers. Thus is the equivalent of sentencing the parole seeker to 1 co 4 additional years in prison even though the parole board isn't even a judge.
The common statement used by the parole board to deny parole is: "You have not served sufficient time for punishment." However the •board has not, nor has anyone, documented what is "sufficient time for punishment." Thus what is sufficient time served for punishment?
Wisconsin law sets parole dates for prisoners after they have serve:! 25% of their sentence and when sentenced by the judge, the judge had this in mind. Hence, if 25% of a sentence makes the prisoner eligible for release, thus 25% must be. Sufficient time for punishment. However, the parole board has been allowed to act as de facto court of law, de facto jury, de facto prosecutor and de facto sentencing judge, in the parole boards reconvicting and sentencing a prisoner to 1 to 4 additional years and denying parole, with the statement 'that: "You have not served, sufficient, time for punishment." Under Wisconsin law, that statement would be true only if the prisoner petitioned to see the parole board before completing 25% of his or her sentence. Thus 25% is sufficient time to serve for punishment under Wisconsin law.

The facts remain that the parole commissioner and parole board does not belong to the Wisconsin Bar Association of the state of Wisconsin, thus has not been licensed by the state of Wisconsin to act in the capacity of a prosecutor, jury, judge and court of law to Take a determination that after a prisoner under old or new law, has served 25% of their sentence, the prisoner has not served sufficient time for punishment and re-convict and sentence the prisoner to 1 to 4 additional years. When that judge sentenced the prisoner, the judge had the 25% parole date in mind and did not mean for the parole board to re convict and re-sentence the prisoner after he or she has done 25% of their sentence. Again, if 25% of a sentence is sufficient time to make the prisoner eligible for release according to Wisconsin law, then 25% must be sufficient time served for punishment. Or Wisconsin's parole law of 25% is just smoke and mirrors.

So what is the percentage of Wisconsin parole eligible prisoners that get out after doing 25% of their sentence? Or in other words, what percentage gets out the first time they see the parole board? If the percentage is not 90% or more, then the 25% parole hearing date is a legislative waste and a false hope for the prisoner. Thus is a violation of Due Process Rights.

Wisconsin law states that sufficient time has 'been served when old and new law prisoners have completed 25% of their sentence. The parole boards use of the statement: "You have not served sufficient time for punishment" is too loosely used. For it is a routine statement that is used in every case. So what is sufficient time served for punishment? If the prisoner has reached 25% of their sentence and the parole -board admits, or prison records show that the prisoner has had satisfactory behavior upon reaching- 25%, then that is sufficient time, served for punishment. If serving 25% of a sentence is sufficient time to be "eligible" for release, then why is 25% not sufficient time served for punishment? It appears that Wisconsin's 25% parole law is only a theory and not an actual practice because records show that no one is being released, at 25% of their sentence i.e. their first parole hearing date. So lets put this theory into practice.

The parole board saying an old or new law prisoner, has not served sufficient time for punishment is semantics and a play of words because if the statement was true, the prisoner could not have met with the parole board if that prisoner had not served sufficient time for punishment. The prisoner could not see the parole board before he or she has completed 25%of the sentence because the prisoner had not completed sufficient time for punishment i.e. 25% of their sentence, according to Wisconsin law of 25% of the sentence must be completed before parole can be given.

However, the parole board has not defined, on a consistent bases, what a "sufficient time to serve for punishment" is. Though it is well defined in Wisconsin law, but not practiced, that sufficient time for punishment is 25% of a sentence, it that is the use to set a parole 'date at 25% of a sentence but don't let ANYONE out at 25% of a sentence and the parole board says serving 25% of a sentence is not sufficient time served for punishment? It is a catch-22. The parole board is essentially saying that they are the prosecutor, jury, judge and court of law and can re-convict and re-sentence a prisoner to 1 to 4 more years at a time or in some cases MR.

In the days of parole commissioner John Huss in the early 1990's, prisoners had a hope of being paroled after serving 25% (or soon after) no matter the arias they were in prison for. Thus Wisconsin's prisons were less crowded.

2. RELEASE AT THIS TIME WOULD INVOLVE AN UNREASONABLE RISK TO THE PUBLIC
Another common term of the parole board is: Release at this time would involve an unreasonable risk, to the public." However, the parole board does not even present any reasonable evidence, or evidence at all, from the prisoners prison file to backup this statement. Thus the statement is just routine and not of any factual bases if it is used on all prisoners. The parole board member, on average, meets with a prisoner for less than an hour and can not reasonably determine if the prisoner is a risk to society based- on a one time meeting. For a person that never met you before to say you are an unreasonable risk to the public is unreasonable.
If a person is sentenced to 40 years in prison, under old or new law, that would mean he or she had to do 10 years (25%) before having a parole hearing. Ten years is a long time and for the most part, the prisoner has completed HSED/GED, a vocational trade class, ME programming and took sane time out for self-improvement and maturing. Thus the prisoner is not and unreasonable risk to the community in whence he or she came from, or any community, but rather a more mature person that has made sane accomplishments even in an adverse place like prison.
For prison in itself is a community, with populations reaching over one thousand, and if the prisoner has not been convicted of a crime in over ten years of incarceration, then the prisoner has consistently shown for years on end that he or she poses no threat to the "outer" community. Thus how can the parole board truthfully and reasonably state that the prisoner is -an unreasonable risk to the public? The parole board members have used this routine statement to place themselves as a god or fortuneteller to be able to foresee the future to determine that a person who served 25% of their sentence would be an unreasonable risk to the public if released. Thus statement violates Due- Process and constitutional rights.

3. YOUR PROGRAM PARTICIPATION HAS NOT BEEN SATISFACTORY
Further, the parole board uses: "Your program participation has not been satisfactory" to deny release. When a prisoner has had his Assessment and Evaluation (A&E) he is given certain programs to complete such as HSED, vocational training and anger management. However, once he gets to his designated prison, it is up to the program directors to allow him into the program such as anger management, AODA and CGIP regardless if he request to complete the program. So the person with the 40 year sentence can request the anger management program as soon as he gets into the prison but he will be denied access due to his sentence length. The programs director will state, "Due to the length of your sentence, prisoners with shorter time have priority to this program. Request again when you get closer to your mandatory release date." Which is 26 years (or 2/3 of the 4-0 year sentence). This, in itself, makes the A&E process obsolete if the prisoner is parole eligible at 25% their sentence but can't take certain programs until their mandatory release date. Three things stand out here.
1. If the prisoner is being denied access to needed anger management programming, the DOC is not preparing the prisoner for release at 25% of that sentence. A person that has a parole date should have the same priority to a program as a person with a short sentence, because in theory, the person should get out once 25% of their sentence is completed. If the prisoner is in and out of the hole for fighting, the denial of programming is a factor because the DOC has previously assessed him, at A&E, with an anger problem but won't address it promptly by getting him the needed programming.
2. If the DOC is denying the prisoner access to a program, the parole board will use this against the prisoner as program participation not being satisfactory, even though it is documented that the prisoner has tried to complete all recommended programs before his 25% has been served.
3. If the prisoner has 40 years but being denied anger management until mandatory release, that would mean that he will have to be in prison for 26 years with this untreated anger problem, that the DOC assessed that ha has 26 years ago, before he can get in the program and it gets treated. What is the logic behind this? None! Prisoners with parole dates should have priority to programs to prepare them for release at 25% of their sentence. If not, the DOC is either saying that, he has to self-treat an anger problem that he don't understand why he has for 26 years until the DOC is ready to treat it, the DOC is using denial of programs to keep prisons packed or there really is no anger problem, the DOC just put anger management on A&E routinely, so the parole board has something to use against releasing prisoners at 25%(or at any point)

The crux of the matter is, it is not the prisoner who is "refusing" the program, that is a different matter. It is the DOC who is refusing to allow the prisoner access to complete the program. If a prisoner has reached 25% of their sentence and has not refused any programs, and the DOC has denied him access to programs that ME said are necessary, then the prisoner has done no wrong in that regard, as such he should be released.

RECOMMENDED CHANGES
What use is it to have a parole hearing date at 25% of the sentence, by law, and have a, parole board that says 25% is not sufficient time served for punishment, contrary to law? The parole board is above the law. These two, theories and practices, conflict. One or the other is unconstitutional. And we can rationalize that it is the parole board's practices. With the Wisconsin law of 25% being sufficient time served to be released, it makes the parole board obsolete. The law of parole hearing date at 25% of the sentence and the prison record should be enough in determining if someone should be released. It would make things that much easier and ease the overcrowding prisons and save tax-payers money if parole eligible prisoners were released on paroles.

By serving 25% of a sentence not being sufficient time served for punishment according to the parole board and granting parole is now discretionary, it becomes a system of how the parole board member feels on any given day or how the member feels about a certain individual or the alleged crime, on whether to release that prisoner or not. Thus serving 25% of a sentence before a parole hearing and granting parole based on how the parole board member feels about you in a 30 minute meeting, is a conflict. If the judge sentenced a person to 40 years, the judge had it in mind that in 10 years (25%) that person would have completed programs and matured, thus should be released.

If a prisoner reached 25% of their sentence, and the parole board has no logical, not theoretical, evidence that release at this time would involve an unreasonable risk to the public, and the prisoner has tried to take recommended programs and the DOC denied him access, the prisoner should be released. It can not be a system of the prisoner meets Wisconsin's law of 25% but the parole board overrules Wisconsin state law and says, 25% is not sufficient time served for punishment. Or the prisoner readies 25% but the parole board denies release based on a risk to the public with no evidence to support that. Or the prisoner gets to 25% but the parole board denies release based on programs not being completed when it is the DOC that denies access to programming. It is all a catch-22 and needs to be changed. A policy must be put into place, retroactively, for old and new law prisoners, that have "reached (or would) 25% of their sentence, to cease the arbitrary discretionary parole board and allow 25% of a sentence to be sufficient time served for punishment, along with
1. a parole plan,
2. satisfactory record based on the last year (as they do now) before the current earing
3. no logical evidence showing that you are or would be a risk to the public,
4. an attempt to complete A&B programs before 25% of your sentence is up.

This way it is on the prisoner to show by evidence and facts, that they have served sufficient time, pose no threat to the public and have done all that they can to complete all necessary programs before they have reached 25% of their sentence.

SPECIAL ACTION PAROLE RELEASE, SEC. 304.02
The department shall use a special release program to relieve crowding in state prison by releasing certain prisoners to parole supervision using a procedure other than mandatory release under sec. 302.11 or release under sec. 304.06 (1) (b). Most prisoners under old and new law are in prison for homicide related cases and this is why granting parole is routinely denied. However, if viewed in its full context, most of these parole eligible prisoners were in their youth (teens and early 20*s) when these crimes occurred and now have spent their 20 's and part of their 30's (and some of them 40's, 50's and part of their 60's-prison). Thus they are no longer in their youth but mature adults that view the world differently, value life and want to contribute to society. The crimes are not excused because they were committed in their youth, and/or out of ignorance. However, it explains that the person that they were in their youth and now, are two totally different people. And to perpetually punish them for a crime done in their youth, and/or out of ignorance, serves no purpose to justice or to a so-called civilized society, when that 'person has changed and is positive now. Thus the department should use this special release program statue to release old and new law prisoners based on their conduct now, not their past crime, or based on who they ware 10, 15 or 20 years ago, to relieve prison overcrowding.

CONCLUSION
Therefore, the above facts are to be taken into consideration for a more uniformed approach to parole in any given case. Parole should be mandatory at 25% with satisfactory conduct for all old and new law prisoners, based on their behavior for the Last year prior to the parole hearing. To perpetually incarcerate changed people is inane and serves no purpose in the scheme of justice or restorative justice.

By: Marvin D Wilson

GBCI 297343
P.O. box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307

POPS the Project for Older Prisoners


POPS THE PROJECT FOR OLDER PRISONERS

POPS, which originated at George Washington University, is committed to the reduction of prison overcrowding. The objective is to identify through background investigations older inmates who pose little or no risk of recidivism and help procure their early release.
Students volunteer as caseworkers and lobbyists. Caseworkers conduct thorough investigations into the prisoner's history by interviewing the prisoner, reviewing the prison records, searching past criminal and medical histories, and contacting crime victims.
Lobbyists research and help implement legislation in North Carolina that is consistent with the goals of POPS.
Through active participation, POPSs is instrumental in the reduction of prison overcrowding and in saving the taxpayers' money.


From Jonathon Turley piece POPS founder
THE PROJECT FOR OLDER PRISONERS
In 1989, I established POPS to work on the problems associated with the growing population of older offenders. POPS began with a single prisoner, Quenton Brown, who was incarcerated at the Angola Prison in Louisiana. On June 7, 1973, then 50 years old and homeless, Brown walked into a bread store in Louisiana and, at gunpoint, stole $100 and a 15-cent pie. He then crawled under a nearby house where he remained until the police arrived. After his arrest, Louisiana determined that Mr. Brown had an I.Q. of 51—the intelligence of a three-year-old child. After a one-day trial, Mr. Brown was given a 30-year sentence without chance of parole. He had served 16 years when I first met him.
In a matter of weeks, I was deluged by letters from close to one hundred older and geriatric prisoners, who heard I was representing an older prisoner for free. This number was striking in a state with such extreme overcrowding that it had to rent out cells in local jails for a significant percentage of its population. With the help of my students, POPS was born. We set out to develop new approaches to this population, including evaluative measures to isolate low-risk prisoners and policies to reduce the costs of this population while improving care for individual prisoners.
POPS works on both national and local aspects of this problem, and POPS continues to gather data on the special costs and necessities of this population. Hundreds of law students have been trained in POPS and are now practicing attorneys. All that is required is for a state to request such a program, give POPS researchers access to the prison population, and enlist the participation of one or more law schools. POPS/DC will help any law school establish an academic program and regional office for work in a given state. POPS largely performs three functions in this area: individual case evaluations, state reports and recommendations for reform, and legislative drafting.
POPS students work without compensation and the project does not charge for its services. When assigned a case, POPS students first interview prisoners over the age of 55. Each prisoner is then evaluated according to a long, comprehensive questionnaire that explores the prisoner’s criminal history, chemical dependence history, health, employment background, and family background. This information is generally taken from interviews with the inmate, review of the prison files, interviews with the correctional staff, and a search of all courts and news files available on LEXIS/NEXIS and Westlaw. POPS generally uses two different recidivism tests to gauge the risk of an individual inmate. If the inmate appears low risk on both tests, the student presents the case to the other POPS students.
If the students vote to go forward, the student then attempts to contact any victims or surviving family members as part of our victim consultation stage. POPS was one of the first organizations to make such interviews mandatory. Victim interviews can reveal inconsistencies in an inmate’s account or simply show a level of violence or aggression that does not appear in a written record. In states allowing conditional paroles, victims are asked what conditions would make them feel more comfortable with a release.
Assuming the inmate’s case is still viable, the case worker then proceeds to determine how a prisoner will live upon release. Specifically, the student confirms any benefits, such as veteran’s benefits or social security payments, which the inmate may be entitled to receive. If the prisoner has a supportive family offering long-term housing, the student confirms who owns the house, who lives in the house, and the space available for the prisoner. The student further confirms whether anyone in the house has a criminal record. Finally, if the prisoner is able to work, the student works with any family or friends to confirm employment upon release.
Once all of these facts have been ascertained, the case is presented a final time to the POPS members. If approved, the student then submits the comprehensive findings and recommendations to the appropriate parole or pardon board. The POPS model has been endorsed by leaders from both parties and state commissions in states like California.
http://www.law.gwu.edu/Academics/EL/clinics/Pages/POPS.aspx
The Project for Older Prisoners
________________________________________
The George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, NW
Washington DC, 20052
Phone: (202) 994-6261 | Fax: (202) 994-8980






POPS
POPS, which originated at George Washington University, is committed to the reduction of prison overcrowding. The objective is to identify through background investigations older inmates who pose little or no risk of recidivism and help procure their early release.
Students volunteer as caseworkers and lobbyists. Caseworkers conduct thorough investigations into the prisoner's history by interviewing the prisoner, reviewing the prison records, searching past criminal and medical histories, and contacting crime victims.
Lobbyists research and help implement legislation in North Carolina that is consistent with the goals of POPS.
Through active participation, POPSs is instrumental in the reduction of prison overcrowding and in saving the taxpayers' money.


From Jonathon Turley piece POPS founder
THE PROJECT FOR OLDER PRISONERS
In 1989, I established POPS to work on the problems associated with the growing population of older offenders. POPS began with a single prisoner, Quenton Brown, who was incarcerated at the Angola Prison in Louisiana. On June 7, 1973, then 50 years old and homeless, Brown walked into a bread store in Louisiana and, at gunpoint, stole $100 and a 15-cent pie. He then crawled under a nearby house where he remained until the police arrived. After his arrest, Louisiana determined that Mr. Brown had an I.Q. of 51—the intelligence of a three-year-old child. After a one-day trial, Mr. Brown was given a 30-year sentence without chance of parole. He had served 16 years when I first met him.
In a matter of weeks, I was deluged by letters from close to one hundred older and geriatric prisoners, who heard I was representing an older prisoner for free. This number was striking in a state with such extreme overcrowding that it had to rent out cells in local jails for a significant percentage of its population. With the help of my students, POPS was born. We set out to develop new approaches to this population, including evaluative measures to isolate low-risk prisoners and policies to reduce the costs of this population while improving care for individual prisoners.
POPS works on both national and local aspects of this problem, and POPS continues to gather data on the special costs and necessities of this population. Hundreds of law students have been trained in POPS and are now practicing attorneys. All that is required is for a state to request such a program, give POPS researchers access to the prison population, and enlist the participation of one or more law schools. POPS/DC will help any law school establish an academic program and regional office for work in a given state. POPS largely performs three functions in this area: individual case evaluations, state reports and recommendations for reform, and legislative drafting.
POPS students work without compensation and the project does not charge for its services. When assigned a case, POPS students first interview prisoners over the age of 55. Each prisoner is then evaluated according to a long, comprehensive questionnaire that explores the prisoner’s criminal history, chemical dependence history, health, employment background, and family background. This information is generally taken from interviews with the inmate, review of the prison files, interviews with the correctional staff, and a search of all courts and news files available on LEXIS/NEXIS and Westlaw. POPS generally uses two different recidivism tests to gauge the risk of an individual inmate. If the inmate appears low risk on both tests, the student presents the case to the other POPS students.
If the students vote to go forward, the student then attempts to contact any victims or surviving family members as part of our victim consultation stage. POPS was one of the first organizations to make such interviews mandatory. Victim interviews can reveal inconsistencies in an inmate’s account or simply show a level of violence or aggression that does not appear in a written record. In states allowing conditional paroles, victims are asked what conditions would make them feel more comfortable with a release.
Assuming the inmate’s case is still viable, the case worker then proceeds to determine how a prisoner will live upon release. Specifically, the student confirms any benefits, such as veteran’s benefits or social security payments, which the inmate may be entitled to receive. If the prisoner has a supportive family offering long-term housing, the student confirms who owns the house, who lives in the house, and the space available for the prisoner. The student further confirms whether anyone in the house has a criminal record. Finally, if the prisoner is able to work, the student works with any family or friends to confirm employment upon release.
Once all of these facts have been ascertained, the case is presented a final time to the POPS members. If approved, the student then submits the comprehensive findings and recommendations to the appropriate parole or pardon board. The POPS model has been endorsed by leaders from both parties and state commissions in states like California.


Sunday

Criminal Behavior 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

Number of Older Inmates Grows, Stressing Prisons

Number of Older Inmates Grows, Stressing Prisons
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: January 26, 2012
The number of Americans in prison older than 55 is growing at a faster rate than the group’s share of the population at large, and many prisons are unprepared to provide them with health care, which can cost as much as nine times more than for younger inmates, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Friday.
Related
The complications in handling the swelling number of aging prisoners range from making allowances for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia and finding sufficient ground-floor cells for inmates in wheelchairs to ensuring that older prisoners are not exploited or robbed by younger inmates.
“Age should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card, but when prisoners are so old and infirm that they are not a threat to public safety, they should be released under supervision,” said Jamie Fellner, the author of the study. “Failing that, legislatures are going to have to pony up a lot more money to pay for proper care for them behind bars.”
The report found that the number of imprisoned men and women 65 years and older grew by more than 90 times the rate of the total prison population from 2007 to 2010. While the number of those older inmates increased by 63 percent, the number of all inmates rose by just 0.7 percent.
State or federal prisons now hold about 26,200 people 65 years and older, and about 124,000 inmates older than 55, the report said. The number of incarcerated people who are older than 55 has grown at a rate six times that of the rest of the prison population.
While most elderly inmates have been in prison for years, the number of older people just entering has also been increasing — along with the cost of their care.
In Michigan, the annual cost of health care for the average inmate was $5,800, according to the study, a figure that increased to $11,000 for prisoners aged 55 to 59. The cost spiraled to $40,000 a year for inmates 80 years and older.
“Prison officials look at the projected increase in aging prisoners in their systems and realize in the very near future they will need to operate specialized geriatric facilities,” the report said. “Some already do.”
California, which is under federal court order to reduce overcrowding in its prisons, has seen the percentage of its inmates older than 50 increase to 17 percent in 2010, from 4 percent in 1990, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
“We have an awful lot of people who are probably going to die in prison,” said Nancy J. Kincaid, spokeswoman for the state’s Correctional Health Care Services. “There are people with 40-year sentences, 30-year sentences. We have to figure out how to care for these people.”
The state’s prison health care system has been in federal receivership since 2006, when a court ruled that the state was failing to provide inmates with adequate access to health care services.
Ms. Kincaid said that as the prison population had aged, so had the incidence of chronic diseases among inmates, including hypertension and diabetes. And because the state has only three hospitals for prisoners — about 120 beds — it must contract with private operators for inpatient care. The cost of a hospitalized inmate in such a facility is about $850,000 a year.
“We have guys who are comatose shackled to beds with a guard in the room,” she said.
To reduce costs, the state is building a $750 million medical center for inmates in Stockton that will have 1,772 beds, and include a pharmacy and dialysis clinic. It will be single story to ease mobility problems among what is expected to be a large number of older patients.
A version of this article appeared in print on January 27, 2012, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Number of Older Inmates Grows, Stressing Prisons.

Life without Parole As Cruel and Unusual


By Luis J. Rodriguez
Luis J Rodriguez's latest book is "It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing," by Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster. A forthcoming book on life without the possibility of parole, "Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough, " edited by Kenneth E. Hartman, will be published by the Other Death Penalty Project.
Don't Throw Away the Key/ Why Life Without Parole Is Cruel and Unusual
The Progressive october 2011

MANY BELIEVE THAT THE DEATH penalty is the worst of a judicial system, but there is a fate worse than death. It's known as the other death penalty—life without the possibility of parole. How can life be worse than death? Imagine living a life without a point, a reason, or a direction, breathing but never living. . , . It is my testimony that being sentenced to life with¬out the possibility of parole is even more cruel and unusual than the death penalty.
These words were in an essay written by a prison¬er in Connecticut who participated in a writing con¬test sponsored by "The Other Death Penalty Project." This project invited prisoners and non-prisoners alike to address ending life without the possibility of parole, a sentence meted out to people who commit murders and other violent acts. Its a sentence often given in lieu of the death penalty, sometimes even to juveniles tried as adults.
This spring, I was the final judge for this contest. I read essays, poems, and fiction pieces by finalists, including prisoners incarcerated in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, and Tennessee.
What I read while judging the contest proved to be moving and insightful. The thoughts expressed in these works challenge the thinking of most anti-death penalty advocates, who for years have pushed life with¬out the possibility of parole as the alternative to executions.
I was asked to participate by fellow writer Kenneth E. Hartman, whose book about being raised by the California foster care, juvenile, and correctional systems is a must-read (Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars). Hartman has been in prison since 1980, when he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of a homeless man he beat to death as a teenager. I met Hartman last year when I spent ten Sundays, for eight hours a day, facilitating a writing program at a maximum-security unit of the California State Prison in Lancaster.
"I am a lot older, to be sure, and I am so far removed from the reality of the free world," Hartman wrote in a 2009 issue of Journal of Prisoners on Prison. "Truthfully, though I accept full responsibility for my predicament, and feel a crushing sense of remorse and guilt, I can barely remember the details of that terrible night all those years ago. Years that have moved on, stained by tears dried up in the hot wasteland of a life misspent. My own family abandoned me early on, perhaps sensing the torment that lay ahead. Both of my parents have passed, and with them my hope of reconciliation. I have watched the world change so radically as to be unrecognizable. I have also watched, and suffered, as the prison system turned the screws on life without parole prisoners, gradually and inexorably squeezing us into a corner— not simply denying us release, but annihilating possibility itself."
As Hartman and others have writ¬ten, there is only one way to leave prison when one is sentenced either to life without the possibility of parole or to the death penalty: in a coffin.
I talked to one anti-death penalty person—a writer and former prisoner—who argued that the first step in stopping state-sponsored executions is life without the possibility of parole. He felt that without this, ending the death penalty would be a harder hill to climb.
"This was always a strategy, not a principle," he said.
But with more and more convicts getting life without the possibility of parole in the United States—life without parole sentences have more than tripled since 1992—it's time to revisit this strategy.
Look at how many people are living out their lives under this sentence. In California, the number is now close to 3,700; in Louisiana, it's 4,200; Pennsylvania, 4,500; and Florida, 6,500.
You can see how life without the possibility of parole can appear to be the right tool in ending the death penalty. Public fears—fomented by politicians and the media, of convict¬ed murderers being let out early— may not allow another answer for a long time to come. But we must still hear these voices:I do not want to end like this; I do not want to die in here', 1 do not want to die alone.A California prisoner's lament.
As I was writing this, prisoners in a third of the state's correctional facilities were refusing state-issued meals in solidarity with maximum-security inmates at Pelican Bay, home to one of California's most notorious security housing units, supposedly containing the "worst of the worst." Some of these prisoners were in for life.
The Pelican Bay hunger strike began on July 1 when prisoners refused meals "in protest of conditions that they contend are cruel and inhumane," according to Sam Quinones of the Los Angeles Times.
Like many anti-death penalty adherents, I once thought that life 'without the possibility of parole
was a good alternative to the death penalty. . . . All too many of those working to end the death penalty share the misconceptions and faulty reasoning I once used. They are in support of an abstract idea, not the people who suffer the ideas of others. ... If you lock up a sizable number of young men for life, someday you are going to have a whole lot of middle-aged and older men who are no longer a threat to anyone, and it's going to cost a fortune to continue incarceration until death. And we will have cheated ourselves out of the potential contributions of all those who could well have been released after a fair sentence.
Here non-prisoner and contest writer Joan Leslie Taylor posed an interesting proposition: that violent felons, including murderers, can still make positive and meaningful contributions to society. What if rehabilitation and recovery and post-release support could be part and parcel of any sentencing? What if communities welcome back those who have wronged us by establishing an environment where they won't hurt others or themselves, but instead, through a properly initiated and renewed life, can help give back and enhance community?
The United States already has 25 percent of the world's prison population, although we are only 5 percent of the world's population. In the past three decades, an estimated $60 billion a year has been spent to keep people behind bars for longer and longer periods of time, with little-to-no resources to help prisoners come out balanced, healthy, and crime free.
There always has been crime; there always will be crime. It is a part of some people as breathing is, and even any form of death penalty will not deter them. Read your Bible—Jesus was crucified with two thieves. We still have thieves today. The Romans left crucified bodies hanging, as a warning of Roman strength, power, and the law. Today we use our jam-packed to over¬flowing prisons and life without the possibility of parole the same way. It didn't
work then, and it doesn't work today. Our elected leaders need to realize that crime is inherent to society, and that there should be punishment, but not such punishment that it makes punishment useless. Life without the possibility of parole has become useless punishment. These were the insights of a Kansas prisoner. Punishment with no aim of healing for the person and the community only makes things untenable for everyone.
"Truth be told, there is no scientific foundation to America's sentencing patterns," wrote Dortell Williams, a California prisoner who took first place in the writing contest. "In reality, it isn't necessarily how much time an offender does, but the quality of his incarceration that can determine if he is redeemable or not. This fact is fre¬quently lost in the fog of demagoguery that competes to see who can be tougher on crime in lieu of being smarter, wasting valuable prison space and scarce financial resources."
We need to ask ourselves: What kind of society might accept change, redemption, and ivstorition among its most violent citizens. Williams in his essay made the case that life without the possibility of parole is unheard of in. many other countries that do not allow sentences to exceed thirty years. Williams also cited an address earlier this year by Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who claimed U.S. sentences in general are eight times longer than in European courts.
"It's true that a death sentence is unique in its severity and irrevocability, yet life without the possibility of parole sentences share some common characteristics with death that are shared by no other sentence," Williams quoted Kennedy. Life with¬out the possibility of parole "deprives the convict of the most basic liberties without giving hope."
“ life without the possibility of parole women are no more incorrigible than those serving a fraction of our time, in fact,the prison depends on old lifers to guide and calm the rest. We are the stable, nonviolent mothers in camp—women who have been heaved into the landfill-of incarceration to rot, not worth the time or trouble to recycle.
Society judges women with a hard eye. If a judge or jury decides we are beyond redemption, there is no reason to look back. So here I exist at sixty, grandmother of ten, still struggling to get the truth out, that the sentence of life without the possibility of parole is a cruel and unnecessary punishment.
A female convict in Missouri wrote this. Life without the possibility of parole has struck male and female, the young and the old, the guilty and innocent, the reformed and the ones still too young to feel the weight of what they've done. It's the same answer given to a myriad of problems, an answer that cares nothing for root causes or unfair trials or the possibility of rehabilitation. It's an answer that says only: "It doesn't matter what's possible with them; it's what they've already done that must forever seal their fate."
Unfortunately, many of those being thrown away are young—there are 2,500 juvenile offenders serving life without parole sentences in the Unit¬ed States. There are none in the rest of the world. More than half of those juveniles are African Americans. In fact, African American youths are ten times more likely to be sentenced to life without parole than white youths.
The disparities and irrationalities make life without parole sentences contemptible, which is why the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child expressly prohibits such sentences for youths. Only two countries have refused to ratify this document—Somalia and the United States.

Can we envision a seed of good?
There is another way of seeing. Human beings are a cauldron of possibilities, abundant with creativity, hope, transformative energies, and transcendence. Most people won't have to confront their worse selves, their worst moments of rage or addiction or depravity. But when someone does, can we envision a seed of good, of positive, in all that bad? The Earth regenerates itself after natural disasters—it's a law of nature. Even dogs and horses that have been abused can be brought back to health and reconnection. And humans have qualities of intelligence and inventiveness that most animals don't possess.
We need to align with nature's ten¬dency to be bountiful, beautiful, and revitalizing despite some ugly and terrible acts, inactions, decisions, and indecisions.
When you’re serving life with out the possibility of parole,it's as if you're experiencing the broken heart of knowing you'll never love or be loved again in any normal sense of the word, while simultaneously mourning the death of the man you could have been and should have been. The difference is that you never recover, and can move on from neither the heartbreak nor the death because the pain is renewed each morning you wake up to realize that you're still here, sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.It's a fresh day of utter despair, lived over and over for an entire lifetime.
These were the words of an inmate in a "supermax" prison in Illinois. As a society, we're good at coming up with ways to discard people, to stop their growth, to push them—and perhaps our own unreconciled depths of pains, sorrows, and rages—behind fences, borders, or razor wire. The price for this, I submit, is more crime, more fear, more of the same, costing us billions without remedy. This is a powerful enough reason to stop life without the possibility of parole for anyone. , *
The Progressive october 2011

Monday

Parole Fakery Explained

These are the excuses parole eligible men hear decade after decade.

PAROLE ISSUES
1. YOU HAVE NOT SERVED SUFFICIENT TIME FOR PUNISHMENT.
The Wisconsin parole board gives out 12, 24, 36 and 48 month defers. Thus is the equivalent of sentencing the parole seeker to 1 co 4 additional years in prison even though the parole board isn't even a judge.
The common statement used by the parole board to deny parole is: "You have not served sufficient time for punishment." However the •board has not, nor has anyone, documented what is "sufficient time for punishment." Thus what is sufficient time served for punishment?
Wisconsin law sets parole dates for prisoners after they have serve:! 25% of their sentence and when sentenced by the judge, the judge had this in mind. Hence, if 25% of a sentence makes the prisoner eligible for release, thus 25% must be. Sufficient time for punishment. However, the parole board has been allowed to act as de facto court of law, de facto jury, de facto prosecutor and de facto sentencing judge, in the parole boards reconvicting and sentencing a prisoner to 1 to 4 additional years and denying parole, with the statement 'that: "You have not served, sufficient, time for punishment." Under Wisconsin law, that statement would be true only if the prisoner petitioned to see the parole board before completing 25% of his or her sentence. Thus 25% is sufficient time to serve for punishment under Wisconsin law.

The facts remain that the parole commissioner and parole board does not belong to the Wisconsin Bar Association of the state of Wisconsin, thus has not been licensed by the state of Wisconsin to act in the capacity of a prosecutor, jury, judge and court of law to Take a determination that after a prisoner under old or new law, has served 25% of their sentence, the prisoner has not served sufficient time for punishment and re-convict and sentence the prisoner to 1 to 4 additional years. When that judge sentenced the prisoner, the judge had the 25% parole date in mind and did not mean for the parole board to re convict and re-sentence the prisoner after he or she has done 25% of their sentence. Again, if 25% of a sentence is sufficient time to make the prisoner eligible for release according to Wisconsin law, then 25% must be sufficient time served for punishment. Or Wisconsin's parole law of 25% is just smoke and mirrors.

So what is the percentage of Wisconsin parole eligible prisoners that get out after doing 25% of their sentence? Or in other words, what percentage gets out the first time they see the parole board? If the percentage is not 90% or more, then the 25% parole hearing date is a legislative waste and a false hope for the prisoner. Thus is a violation of Due Process Rights.

Wisconsin law states that sufficient time has 'been served when old and new law prisoners have completed 25% of their sentence. The parole boards use of the statement: "You have not served sufficient time for punishment" is too loosely used. For it is a routine statement that is used in every case. So what is sufficient time served for punishment? If the prisoner has reached 25% of their sentence and the parole -board admits, or prison records show that the prisoner has had satisfactory behavior upon reaching- 25%, then that is sufficient time, served for punishment. If serving 25% of a sentence is sufficient time to be "eligible" for release, then why is 25% not sufficient time served for punishment? It appears that Wisconsin's 25% parole law is only a theory and not an actual practice because records show that no one is being released, at 25% of their sentence i.e. their first parole hearing date. So lets put this theory into practice.

The parole board saying an old or new law prisoner, has not served sufficient time for punishment is semantics and a play of words because if the statement was true, the prisoner could not have met with the parole board if that prisoner had not served sufficient time for punishment. The prisoner could not see the parole board before he or she has completed 25%of the sentence because the prisoner had not completed sufficient time for punishment i.e. 25% of their sentence, according to Wisconsin law of 25% of the sentence must be completed before parole can be given.

However, the parole board has not defined, on a consistent bases, what a "sufficient time to serve for punishment" is. Though it is well defined in Wisconsin law, but not practiced, that sufficient time for punishment is 25% of a sentence, it that is the use to set a parole 'date at 25% of a sentence but don't let ANYONE out at 25% of a sentence and the parole board says serving 25% of a sentence is not sufficient time served for punishment? It is a catch-22. The parole board is essentially saying that they are the prosecutor, jury, judge and court of law and can re-convict and re-sentence a prisoner to 1 to 4 more years at a time or in some cases MR.

In the days of parole commissioner John Huss in the early 1990's, prisoners had a hope of being paroled after serving 25% (or soon after) no matter the arias they were in prison for. Thus Wisconsin's prisons were less crowded.

2. RELEASE AT THIS TIME WOULD INVOLVE AN UNREASONABLE RISK TO THE PUBLIC
Another common term of the parole board is: Release at this time would involve an unreasonable risk, to the public." However, the parole board does not even present any reasonable evidence, or evidence at all, from the prisoners prison file to backup this statement. Thus the statement is just routine and not of any factual bases if it is used on all prisoners. The parole board member, on average, meets with a prisoner for less than an hour and can not reasonably determine if the prisoner is a risk to society based- on a one time meeting. For a person that never met you before to say you are an unreasonable risk to the public is unreasonable.
If a person is sentenced to 40 years in prison, under old or new law, that would mean he or she had to do 10 years (25%) before having a parole hearing. Ten years is a long time and for the most part, the prisoner has completed HSED/GED, a vocational trade class, ME programming and took sane time out for self-improvement and maturing. Thus the prisoner is not and unreasonable risk to the community in whence he or she came from, or any community, but rather a more mature person that has made sane accomplishments even in an adverse place like prison.
For prison in itself is a community, with populations reaching over one thousand, and if the prisoner has not been convicted of a crime in over ten years of incarceration, then the prisoner has consistently shown for years on end that he or she poses no threat to the "outer" community. Thus how can the parole board truthfully and reasonably state that the prisoner is -an unreasonable risk to the public? The parole board members have used this routine statement to place themselves as a god or fortuneteller to be able to foresee the future to determine that a person who served 25% of their sentence would be an unreasonable risk to the public if released. Thus statement violates Due- Process and constitutional rights.

3. YOUR PROGRAM PARTICIPATION HAS NOT BEEN SATISFACTORY
Further, the parole board uses: "Your program participation has not been satisfactory" to deny release. When a prisoner has had his Assessment and Evaluation (A&E) he is given certain programs to complete such as HSED, vocational training and anger management. However, once he gets to his designated prison, it is up to the program directors to allow him into the program such as anger management, AODA and CGIP regardless if he request to complete the program. So the person with the 40 year sentence can request the anger management program as soon as he gets into the prison but he will be denied access due to his sentence length. The programs director will state, "Due to the length of your sentence, prisoners with shorter time have priority to this program. Request again when you get closer to your mandatory release date." Which is 26 years (or 2/3 of the 4-0 year sentence). This, in itself, makes the A&E process obsolete if the prisoner is parole eligible at 25% their sentence but can't take certain programs until their mandatory release date. Three things stand out here.
1. If the prisoner is being denied access to needed anger management programming, the DOC is not preparing the prisoner for release at 25% of that sentence. A person that has a parole date should have the same priority to a program as a person with a short sentence, because in theory, the person should get out once 25% of their sentence is completed. If the prisoner is in and out of the hole for fighting, the denial of programming is a factor because the DOC has previously assessed him, at A&E, with an anger problem but won't address it promptly by getting him the needed programming.
2. If the DOC is denying the prisoner access to a program, the parole board will use this against the prisoner as program participation not being satisfactory, even though it is documented that the prisoner has tried to complete all recommended programs before his 25% has been served.
3. If the prisoner has 40 years but being denied anger management until mandatory release, that would mean that he will have to be in prison for 26 years with this untreated anger problem, that the DOC assessed that ha has 26 years ago, before he can get in the program and it gets treated. What is the logic behind this? None! Prisoners with parole dates should have priority to programs to prepare them for release at 25% of their sentence. If not, the DOC is either saying that, he has to self-treat an anger problem that he don't understand why he has for 26 years until the DOC is ready to treat it, the DOC is using denial of programs to keep prisons packed or there really is no anger problem, the DOC just put anger management on A&E routinely, so the parole board has something to use against releasing prisoners at 25%(or at any point)

The crux of the matter is, it is not the prisoner who is "refusing" the program, that is a different matter. It is the DOC who is refusing to allow the prisoner access to complete the program. If a prisoner has reached 25% of their sentence and has not refused any programs, and the DOC has denied him access to programs that ME said are necessary, then the prisoner has done no wrong in that regard, as such he should be released.

RECOMMENDED CHANGES
What use is it to have a parole hearing date at 25% of the sentence, by law, and have a, parole board that says 25% is not sufficient time served for punishment, contrary to law? The parole board is above the law. These two, theories and practices, conflict. One or the other is unconstitutional. And we can rationalize that it is the parole board's practices. With the Wisconsin law of 25% being sufficient time served to be released, it makes the parole board obsolete. The law of parole hearing date at 25% of the sentence and the prison record should be enough in determining if someone should be released. It would make things that much easier and ease the overcrowding prisons and save tax-payers money if parole eligible prisoners were released on paroles.

By serving 25% of a sentence not being sufficient time served for punishment according to the parole board and granting parole is now discretionary, it becomes a system of how the parole board member feels on any given day or how the member feels about a certain individual or the alleged crime, on whether to release that prisoner or not. Thus serving 25% of a sentence before a parole hearing and granting parole based on how the parole board member feels about you in a 30 minute meeting, is a conflict. If the judge sentenced a person to 40 years, the judge had it in mind that in 10 years (25%) that person would have completed programs and matured, thus should be released.

If a prisoner reached 25% of their sentence, and the parole board has no logical, not theoretical, evidence that release at this time would involve an unreasonable risk to the public, and the prisoner has tried to take recommended programs and the DOC denied him access, the prisoner should be released. It can not be a system of the prisoner meets Wisconsin's law of 25% but the parole board overrules Wisconsin state law and says, 25% is not sufficient time served for punishment. Or the prisoner readies 25% but the parole board denies release based on a risk to the public with no evidence to support that. Or the prisoner gets to 25% but the parole board denies release based on programs not being completed when it is the DOC that denies access to programming. It is all a catch-22 and needs to be changed. A policy must be put into place, retroactively, for old and new law prisoners, that have "reached (or would) 25% of their sentence, to cease the arbitrary discretionary parole board and allow 25% of a sentence to be sufficient time served for punishment, along with
1. a parole plan,
2. satisfactory record based on the last year (as they do now) before the current earing
3. no logical evidence showing that you are or would be a risk to the public,
4. an attempt to complete A&B programs before 25% of your sentence is up.

This way it is on the prisoner to show by evidence and facts, that they have served sufficient time, pose no threat to the public and have done all that they can to complete all necessary programs before they have reached 25% of their sentence.

SPECIAL ACTION PAROLE RELEASE, SEC. 304.02
The department shall use a special release program to relieve crowding in state prison by releasing certain prisoners to parole supervision using a procedure other than mandatory release under sec. 302.11 or release under sec. 304.06 (1) (b). Most prisoners under old and new law are in prison for homicide related cases and this is why granting parole is routinely denied. However, if viewed in its full context, most of these parole eligible prisoners were in their youth (teens and early 20*s) when these crimes occurred and now have spent their 20 's and part of their 30's (and some of them 40's, 50's and part of their 60's-prison). Thus they are no longer in their youth but mature adults that view the world differently, value life and want to contribute to society. The crimes are not excused because they were committed in their youth, and/or out of ignorance. However, it explains that the person that they were in their youth and now, are two totally different people. And to perpetually punish them for a crime done in their youth, and/or out of ignorance, serves no purpose to justice or to a so-called civilized society, when that 'person has changed and is positive now. Thus the department should use this special release program statue to release old and new law prisoners based on their conduct now, not their past crime, or based on who they ware 10, 15 or 20 years ago, to relieve prison overcrowding.

CONCLUSION
Therefore, the above facts are to be taken into consideration for a more uniformed approach to parole in any given case. Parole should be mandatory at 25% with satisfactory conduct for all old and new law prisoners, based on their behavior for the Last year prior to the parole hearing. To perpetually incarcerate changed people is inane and serves no purpose in the scheme of justice or restorative justice.

By: Marvin D Wilson

GBCI 297343
P.O. box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307

Saturday

A Mother and Son Speak

"Why Doesn't Anyone Know About the Secret of Parole Abuse"
Did you know that there are parole eligible men (truly rehabilitated men) who are being denied parole year after year?
One need not to be a professor in crime and punishment or change and rehabilitation to consider the following: If a man has shown clear signs of rehabilitation and has reached his predetermined (by the judge) parole eligibility date, then why exactly is the Wisconsin department of probation and parole's hidden agenda to constantly keep denying a man parole year after year?
I'm not implying we should not be tough on crime, Absolutely not! We all need to be safe from being victimized. Who so ever breaks me law should be sought after, captured, and held accountable.
However, we're not talking about an 18-year-old who committed a crime yesterday or last week, and doesn't even understand how selfish and terrifying he is to his own community and family.
For those kinds of people need to be captured and rehabilitated.
The travesty we're talking about are those once 18-year-old's who have been incarcerated for 15 or 20 years so far, and have been parole eligible for the last 5 or more of those years, yet they're purposely being denied parole year after year.
We're talking about men who have matured, developed an adult's perspective on life, and can clearly be seen as rehabilitated even by the most untrained eye.
Men who have been model-inmates, completing several educational, vocational and life enhancing programs.
Paroling rehabilitated men who have proven themselves deserving of a second chance will
1.) ease the over-crowding.
2.) give a changed man a second chance,
3.) most importantly, create room for those who are committing serious crimes as you read these very words!

There are rehabilitated men who need help, opportunity, and support.
They have family, friends, and jobs that are lined up awaiting their arrival, but the secret hidden agenda of parole abuse is prolonging (year after year) the second chance of countless, changed, rehabilitated men who have no voice! (a prisoner in oakhill)

Wrongheaded punishment
Punishment for the incarcerated is to seclude them from the so-called -free world. To be separated from family members, friends, loved ones is punishment all by itself but to have to suffer and be denied the simple things they are entitled to is an inhuman act by officials. Examples of such acts of brutality include:
1) keeping a person in solitary confinement longer than needed
2) not caring for the sick, no "proper attention"
3) Not allowing education programs that will help them once they are mainstreamed back into society
4) Keeping a person after they have become parole eligible, sometimes for 10 or more years, after they have met all requirements, have made significant change, been a model prisoner and have a good conduct report.
5) Over stuffing our prison with people that deserve a second chance instead of releasing them. Officials do not care about any of the above as long as they receive their pay check. So, is it ALL about the money, or what?"

"Dead Time" explained by Prisoner


Below are three short excerpts by prisoner who tries to make it clear what it means when he is told he has 40 years ”dead time”

We feel strongly that our treatment here is inhumane and we are all desperate for change. We openly express this desperation for change in our lives as well as our current condition of confinement & stagnation to the social worker and we are consistently told "you've still got dead time to do" These words are psychologically traumatizing to us. Our lives are equated with death. To equate aBelow are three short excerpts by prisoner who tries to make it clear what it means when he is told he has 40 years ”dead time”
man's life with death is the ultimate- show of hopelessness. This practice is very harmful to us as it is used to justify to us, why we are being told to be idle. You have dead time to do because you are not recommended to take part in sanctioned rehabilitative programming unless you are 6 months prior to you mandatory release (MR) to the date they projected you would be released.


Rehabilitation is a frequently used word, but the truth is that there is no real rehabilitation built into this system. What we are experiencing is a system of oppression. It is inconceivable that men can be rehabilitated when they are denied work, school and school programs because the dates fall outside the next 6-24 months


We all want to be better men that we were when we came to prison. However the condition we currently live under here are truly the antithesis to this growth. If rehabilitation is to take place, then it must not only between the hearts and minds of men who are incarcerated. It must also be in the interests of those in authority. Because it is these people who can cultivate men and point them in the right direction. So many of us Men have such wonderful talents here. There are award winning artists here, there are also great rappers, musicians, poets, authors,, educators and athletes and the list goes on and on. What is sad is that a lot of the these talents in our situation are considered be nesciences and threats to good order of the institution. These talents are often discouraged, thus removing the self-satisfaction and sense of purpose and achievement men get from seeing and hearing the creativity manifest a itself.

Here is the letter with all relevant parts included:
"Dead Time" and Ideas for Change
Dear Representative Grigsby & Investigator Tates:
This letter is from the "nobodies" who have been told to wait. We feel like there is no alternative for us other than to reach out to you, our State Representative & Civil Rights investigator, in a positive A sincere effort to present our "bodies", as a means of laying our case before ears that will hopefully listen.
We feel strongly that our treatment here is inhumane and we are all desperate for change. We openly express this desperation for change in our lives as well as our current condition of confinement & stagnation to the social worker and we are consistently told "you've still got dead time to do" These words are psychologically traumatizing to us. Our lives are equated with death. To equate a man's life with death is the ultimate- show of hopelessness. This practice is very harmful to us as it is used to justify to us, why we are being told to be idle.
You have dead time to do because you are not recommended to take part in sanctioned rehabilitative programming unless you are 6 months prior to you mandatory release (MR) to the date they projected you would be released.
Prison is filled with ways to distract ones minds from the reality of his present condition. There are hundreds to thousands decks of playing cards, domino games, different recreation games like basketball and soft ball and men spend their days submerged in these games because here, in these little games is the only place they can feel alive. So they play these games for 12 hours a day, but after awhile a man says to himself, "it is time to stop this nonsense and do something with my time.
Once this decision is made he will then seek help from where he is told that it resides, with the social worker. He'll then be told, not because of a lack of self-motivation or eagerness, but because he has more than 6 months until the time he is to be released that he has to do "dead time" Death and denial are associated Here at RGCI, learning is highly emphasized and in some cases enforced.
In addition to the HSED programs offered here, the institution has a Microsoft vocational program. It also offers the IYO college program. And a B of the Arts Degree program through Milwaukee area technical college, but these programs are inaccessible for those who are over the age of 26. These programs are operated under the 6 to 24 months rule. Men who's projected release for prison exceeds this time frame are met with a shrug of the shoulders and told they are not eligible yet.
It is counter productive that our requests for program placements are denied. Our request for placement and recognize treatment needs and educational needs are continuously denied.
Our complaints about the wrongs that are done to us are unjustly denied, and in the end we feel denied. Rehabilitation is a frequently used word, but the truth is that there is no real rehabilitation built into this system. What we are experiencing is a system of oppression. It is inconceivable that men can be rehabilitated when they are denied work, school and school programs because the dates fall outside the next 6-24 months.
The made-up policy of not allowing willing men to participate in treatment or school programs and telling us to do dead time, is counter rehabilitative. It is seen by some that this is actually the design of the system as a whole. If white men are statistically given lesser sentences in the court room than minorities, than the policy of choosing inmates for treatment and programs with 6-24 months is most beneficial to those with shorter sentences. Further more, men who apply for TIS sentence adjustment near the completion of their sentences are deemed unfit because they have not taken part in any recognized DOC rehabilitation programs. The DOC of course does not explain that these programs were denied. If they did explain, the whole world would see that the DOC intends to dictate the release the date of the men despite any other legal authority.
This magic authority the DOC assumes manifests itself in other ways too. For example, men who have been deemed by the sentencing courts to be eligible for the early release program, or for the boot camp, are frequently told by the DOC that due to some dynamic of their offense they are not going to be permitted to participate. We have tried to see a copy of the law books from which the DOC works, but they are inaccessible to us. Therefore, how the DOC can override the judicial branch remains a mystery to us all.
We all want to be better men were when we came to prison. However the condition we currently live under here are truly the antithesis to this growth. If rehabilitation is to take place, then it must not only between the hearts and minds of men who are incarcerated. It must also be in the interests of those in authority. Because it is these people who can cultivate men and point them in the right direction. So many of us Men have such wonderful talents here. There are award winning artists here, there are also great rappers, musicians, poets, authors,, educators and athletes and the list goes on and on.
What is sad is that a lot of the these talents in our situation are considered be nesciences and threats to good order of the institution. These talents are often discouraged, thus removing the self-satisfaction and sense of purpose and achievement men get from seeing and hearing the creativity manifest a itself.
There is a saying that goes "the best person to design a house alarm is a burglar." And I believe wholeheartedly that the form of rehabilitative programming will come from the hearts and minds of those, who are or have been, incarcerated themselves. Incarcerated individuals see clearly the flaws and roadblocks to rehabilitation first hand. Therefore they are the best situated to effectively point out to others and give helpful and productive suggestions on how to overcome these obstacles.
The first step in this process would be to realistic expectations from everyone involved in the rehabilitation process. The staff/ inmate relationship must remain professional and discipline must be firmly set in place in order to create a safe working and living environment for everyone.
It is well know that a student cannot learn if he has safety and security on his mind. It must be acknowledged that due to the ethnocentric difference between staff & inmates, staff must be culturally literate and adept to dealing with men of diverse backgrounds. This literacy if learned & demonstrated by the staff will be taught to the men quite naturally. The staff will be respectful and in return the Men will I treat them as they are treated.
The way it is now, we are respectful & the staff does as they please. This training would best be given to the staff from a group of former inmates, as they can convoy exactly what needs to be known about dealing with culturally diverse men in a prison setting.
Another idea would be to design programs for inmate's whose projected release dates exceeds 24 months & allow men to accomplish things. programming should be set in place for Men who refuse to sit in a coffin while he's still alive..
There is nothing better under confinement condition for a prior bad act than the feeling of accomplishing something positive. These programs would give the Social Workers a chance to get to know the M«n & this would give the men an a "meaningful" opportunity to be known. This will also place the Social Worker in a better position to help the men, because by knowing us, she can prescribe accurate & efficient help for us. This type of programming is critical to men who are incarcerated.
Not all of us here are fortunate enough to have a strong family support network & these programs would be a way for men to see that some one does care about their lives, someone wants them to change. Through the implementation of new programs, such as "Coming into Manhood", Men in prison can be taught proper ideas about manhood. As it is now,There is no teaching. Men who are not religiously affiliated or in a search for that type of inspiration should be provided with another association group which they can be a part of, one of men who are of the same or ethnic backgrounds It would be very healthy for men to be shown the accomplishments of great men who have come before them.
From here Men will be able to draw inspiration from these examples of success or failure. Men who are culturally aware of themselves are greater assets to their cultural community, and in many communities, these Men are the leaders.
It is essential to the interest of the community to have prospective leaders who are incarcerated to return to their communities rehabilitated, so that one day they can assume their roles in that community. From here, we see that so much can be done to cultivate great men from behind these walls of madness, but there is so little faith in change. The staff have this a "walking Dead" philosophy, where they either see us as inanimate or without the attributes that are normally associated with living people, such as feelings, families and goals.Men have been crying for help, but no one seems to hear us, those screams echo here.
We need you to hear us. We want to be given a chance to turn our lives around and be productive citizens and loving, caring, teaching and providing fathers. We want rehabilitation. We need this chance and we ask that you see that we get it.. There is a saying that goes "the best person to design a house alarm is a burglar." And I believe wholeheartedly that the form of rehabilitative programming will come from the hearts and minds of those, who are or have been, incarcerated themselves. Incarcerated individuals see clearly the flaws and roadblocks to rehabilitation first hand. Therefore they are the best situated to effectively point out to others and give helpful and productive suggestions on how to overcome these obstacles.

Friday

The "How" of NO Parole

TOMMY THOMPSON"S SECRET ORDER

























Scan:
from :TOMMY G. THOMPSON
Governor State of Wisconsin
April 28, 1994' '

To: Sec. Michael J. SullivanDepartment of Corrections
149 east Wilson StreetMadison,
Wi 53707-7925

Dear Secretary Sullivan, '

I write to you today regarding the administration of Wisconsin's mandatory release law.I recently proposed and subsequently signed into law a bill to end mandatory parole for violent offenders. In enacting this important change, legal council advised that any retroactive change in the law would be unconstitutional.Therefore, although I have ended mandatory release for violent offenders, there are some inmates in prison who are still governed by the old release law.I believe that mandatory release of violent criminals is wrong. That is why I called a special legislative session of the legislature in 1987 to pass the "life means life" sentencing bill, and that is why I moved to end the mandatory parole for violent offenders this year.In order to implement this policy as fully as possible, I hereby direct the Department of Corrections to pursue any and all available legal avenues to block the release of violent offenders who have reached their mandatory release date.The policy of this Administration is to keep violent offenders in prison as long possible under the law.Thank you for your immediate attention to this important issue.


Sincerely,Tommy G Thompson
Governor


Sullivan to Thompson




























one example of playing with the law




Thursday

follow the money

Follow the money to the why of no parole

1994 Violence Control Act
Paid For The Prison Building Boom : This act built this countries Supermaxes and continues to provide the funding for Keeping prisons stuffed.

This is the part of the act that has allowed Wisconsin to recieve money for the new prisons and helped take away the incentive for rehabilitation of prisoners.
Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth-in-Sentencing
(VOI/TIS) Incentive Grants Program


As part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
of 1994, Public Law 103-322 ("1994 Crime Bill"), Congress enacted
the Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth-in-Sentencing
(VOI/TIS) Incentive Grants Program, 42 U.S.C. 13701 et. seq.,
which offered prison construction grants and other institutional
improvement funding to encourage States to adopt tougher
sentencing policies for violent offenders.
In the FY 1996 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Public Law 104-
134,
Congress significantly amended this legislation by changing
the formula for distribution of grant funds and limiting the
types of construction projects for which State recipients could
use the grant money. Currently, the VOI/TIS program provides
funds for eligible States to build or expand permanent or
temporary correctional facilities in order to increase secure
confinement space for violent offenders
. Grant funds may also be
used to build or expand local jails and juvenile correctional
facilities, and for the privatization of facilities.

State applicants for VOI/TIS grants must provide assurances
that funds received under the program will be used to supplement,
not supplant, other federal, state, and local funds. Awards are
made to States and Territories whose correctional policies,
programs and truth-in-sentencing statutes meet the VOI/TIS grant
eligibility requirements. Eligible states may make sub-awards to
State agencies and units of local government.
for look at full justice deparment summary of VOI/TIS

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

U.S. Department of Justice
Fact Sheet

for look at full justice deparment summary of VOI/TIS Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 click here(make link)

Below are the pictures of the documents we have obtained , grants and assurances, and large print translations made.


1)translation:Statutory Assurance Violent Offender Incarceration Program—Tier 1
The State/Territory of Wisconsin assures that it has implemented, or will implement, correctional policies and programs, including Truth-in-Sentencing laws that ensure that violent offenders serve a substantial portion of the sentences imposed, that are designed to provide sufficiently severe punishment for violent offenders, including violent juvenile offenders, and that the prison time served is appropriately related to the determination that the inmate is a violent offender and for a period of time deemed necessary to protect the public.
Certifying Official .
Signature
2/25/97
























2)translation of important paragraphs:
Michael Sullivan. Secretary
P.O. Box 7925 Madison, Wl 53707-7925
May 2, 1997

Dear Mr Sullivan,
I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the supplemental award to the Wisconsin Department of
Correction; under the FY 1997 Violent Offender Incarceration/Truth-in-Sentencing Incentive (VOI/TIS) Grant Program. The amount of this award is 1,502,767 to assist your State in developing additional prison and jail capacity for violent offenders. This base allocation is awarded for having met the tier I eligibility requirement of the program. Office of Justice Programs
Office of the Assistant Attorney General
Laurie Robinson
























3)In 1998 our document shows a supplemental grant of 1,121,802, again , the same wording.























4)And IN 1999, it was 3,425,694. And then Mr Robinson states:"To date your state has receive $12,476,558 through the VOI/TIS program...."

national disgrace

DID YOU KNOW?? NATIONAL DISGRACE

1)The United States has less than 5% of the world's population. But it has almost a quar­ter of the world’s prisoners. The United States leads the world in producing prison­ers
2)A generation of growth has produced prison populations that are now eight times what they were in 1970. And there is no end to the growth under current policies.
3)For the same crimes, American prisoners receive sentences twice as long as English prisoners, three times as long as Canadian prisoners, four times as long as Dutch prisoners, five to 10 times as long as French prisoners, and five times as long as Swedish prisoners. Yet these countries’ rates of violent crime are lower than ours, and their rates of property crime are comparable.
4) By far the major reason for the increase in prison populations at least since 1990 has been longer lengths of imprisonment. according to the Department of Justice’s own study, between 1990 and 1997, the numbers of prison admissions increased by only 17% while the prison population increased by 60% . This larger increase in the prison population can only be caused by a longer length of stay.
5) It costs about $25,000 a year to house a person in prison. Between 1985 and 2000, spending on corrections rose at six times the rate of spending for higher education. Essentially, policymakers are faced with a choice of whether they wish to contribute to an expanded prison system or provide vital social services. They can no longer do both.

Monday

"good time"explained

Should Wisconsin Department of Corrections re-enact "Good Time" for Offenders
an exploration of the effects of no parole
by Wisconsin prisoner
Prior to the 1983 Wisconsin Act 528, which became effective June 1, 1984 the Wisconsin Legislative body in conjunction with the Former Health & Social Service Department, now known as the Department of Corrections, did away with the concept of "good time", replacing it with the failed system of "mandatory release" which has been the subject of many complaints and legal actions.
Under the old "good time" system prisoners who lost their good time credits through disciplinary actions due to bad misbehavior reports were given an incentive to be good as a way of earning back time that they lost, further, some states like Illinois, a sister state to Wisconsin gave other incentive for prisoners to do good, they had a system where the inmate serve what is known as "half time" the inmate who was sentenced to ten years would automatically have an projected release date of five years. The prisoner was allowed to earn "good time" for going to school and earning a G.D. or HSED of 90 days which move the release date of the prisoner.

While many proponents that oppose "good time" for "mandatory release" those proponents who advocate for longer sentencing did not and they have not considered the damage that the prison budget has done to states budgets overall. In fact, recent news report showed eight states : Rhode Island, New Jersey, Michigan, Wyoming to name a few have pushed for their legislature to release violent offenders.

Wisconsin's current "Mandatory Release" system does not work because the parole board system is fractured and has been since the Former Governor Tommy G. Thompson forced out then Parole Board Chairman John Husz. Time and politics have teamed up to alter reality, with the present state of affairs resulting in minimal parole releases, and the climate which has created a significant increase in penalties handed down under truth-in-sentencing laws we must go back to rewarding incentive based programs such as awarding "good time" for rehabilitative prisoners or those whom has rehabilitated themselves.

"Good Time" can not only serve to ease overcrowding in the states prisons, but relieve some of the burden off taxpayers to foot these enormous billion dollar ("yes") billion dollar budgets to operate the states prison system. Many offenders throughout Wisconsin prisons has had their stay prolonged due to loss of their mandatory release dates, time that they can not get back no matter how good they become. So why not reward these inmates for their good behavior by restoring their loss time and implementing programs that will reward the offender good conduct credits for completion thereof.