LET THOSE PEOPLE GO!!!
Marcus Garvey said, "When all else fails to organize the people - conditions will." The "conditions" relevant to this writing are the deliberately arbitrary practices used to deny parole-eligible prisoners parole. The facilitators of said practices are the Department of Corrections (DOC) and. various state politicians. The unfortunate recipients of said practices are prisoners who fit into 1 of 3 categories: (1) Old Law Parole (pre-April 1994); Old New Law Presumptive Mandatory Release (PMR) date (from 1994 to December.31, 1999); and Truth In Sentencing I (from January 1, 2000 to 2003). Although people have advocated for years to address said practices, those in charge of correcting them repudiated them until they realized- that it was too expensive to continue. The breakdown of said 3 categories are as follows:
1) Old Law Parole (pre-April 1994). Under this law, anyone sentenced to prison would be eligible for parole after serving 25% of his / her prison sentence. Prisoners sentenced to life with parole would be eligible for parole after serving a little more than 13 years. Under this law, a high percentage of prisoners were paroled either by parole grant (with good behavior) or once they've reached their 'laudatory Release (MR) date. Parole defers for non-lifers ware mostly 12 or 24 months, while lifers could, not receive more than 12-month defers (by DOC rules).
2) Old New Law PMR (post April 1994 to December 31, 1999). On April 28, 1994, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson wrote the than DOC Secretary stating in pertinent part:
I recently proposed and subsequently signed, into law a bill to end. mandatory parole for violent offenders in Wisconsin. In enacting that important change, legal counsel advised that any retroactive change in the lav; would be unconstitutional. [...] I believe that mandatory release of violent criminals is wrong. That is why I called, a Special Session of the legislature in 1987 to pass a "life means life" sentencing bill, and that is why I moved to end. mandatory parole for violent offenders this year.
In order to implement this policy as full 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 as possible under the law.
Following the enactment of said law, accompanied by the incessant pressure by the governor's office, prisoners under this law, and said Old Law, began to serve extremely longer sentences despite exhibiting a pattern of behavior deserving of parole. Prisoners who reach their MR dates are categorically denied under the guise of boilerplate reasons that have no ground to stand on. Defers became longer extending to more than 70 months.
Despite this law not being retroactive, recent court records show prisoner litigation alleging that the DOC is applying it retroactively to Old. Law prisoners via giving them defers longer than 12 months, as well as not allowing their families to attend their parole hearings, and not conducting parole hearings before a 3-person panel that considers itself an advocate for the parole applicant society. See Sanders v Graham, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (W.D. Wis. 2009); Sanders v Graham, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23123 (W.D. Wis. 2009).
In short, prisoners are illegally, and arbitrarily being denied the opportunity for early release. In compliance with Tommy Thompson's directive to "block the release" of prisoners is still being practiced today. Such blocks include, but are not limited to, claiming that the prisoner hasn't served "sufficient time;" or the "prisoner has not completed all program needs;" or the prisoner (if in a Maximum Custody prison) has to spend some time in a Medium Custody and Minimum Custody prison prior to release (even though there are no rules stating thus). The first reason is clearly arbitrary.
The second reason is arbitrary because it pushes the responsibility onto the Program Review Committee (PRC), which is a DOC section responsible for approving prisoners' transfers to Medium Custody and Minimum Custody prisons where most of said programs are located, which affects Maximum Custody prisoners the most because they are stuck in Maximum Custody until prisoners in the lower custody prisoners are moved around in order to make bed space.
The last reason is arbitrary because, like in the preceding paragraph, it pushes the responsibility onto PRC in the sense that prisoners can only go to lower custody prisons only with the approval of PRC; the obvious congestion of prisoners being let out of prison prevents prisoners from being moved to lower custody prisons. In other words, a prisoner's transfer to z. lower custody orison defends on whether a person in said orison is either moved to a different prison (by PRC) or paroled by the parole board. To make matters worse, there are prisoners who will be in the lower custody prisons for a long time either because they have a life sentence, or because they have been sentenced, under said Truth In Sentencing Law. Surely said, prisoners deserve to be at said, lower custody prisons, however, their placement of imprisonment should not be able to hinder another ' prisoner ' s progress through the prison system.
3) Truth In Sentencing I (from January 1, 2000 to 2003)
So much has been said, about this issue that I feel that•
everything has already been said, insofar as why this law is not working. I will say that I am in agreement with doing something to allow prisoners an incentive for early release via an effective and fair parole system.
There are currently approximately 22,000 prisoners in Wisconsin. Consequently, it costs approximately $30,000 par year to imprison 1 person. That's $30,OQO that tax payers are forced to pay. As a tax payer, I demand that my money be used in a manner that's designed to rehabilitate prisoners so that they can be a positive asset to our society. Once these prisoners have demonstrated that they are ready to be released, then they should be released, instead of imprisoned as a result of the above arbitrary reasons (or other arbitrary reasons). Understand that using my tax dollars to fund said reasons are in violation of the state's misappropriation laws applicable to any person or persons conspiring, through action or inaction, to facilitate said violations. For starters, I demand that the current Parole Chairman, Alphonso Graham, be replaced with a former Parole Chairman named John Hutsz or someone with the same concept for parole as he has. With a personality like that heading the parole office, all other things will likely fall into place, Next, I demand an investigation into why said arbitrary reasons are being used and no one is doing anything about correcting them. And finally, I demand a comprehensive answer to this communique, not just some perfunctory response. As a tax payer and a voter I have the right to demand that aggressive measures be taken to cure the aforementioned social injustices. I also expect to be made aware of the conclusion to your investigation into said injustices.
Thank you for your time. Your sincere attention to all of the above will be appreciated. .