BOV to prisoners April 2011

Bridge Of Voices
Newsletter of Forum For Understanding Prisons (FFUP), a 501c3 non profit
Corrections Department not embracing plan to scale back Meals/STEVEN ELBOW | The Capital Times 3/24 /11

State Department of Corrections officials appear lukewarm over a Democratic lawmaker's proposal to scale back inmate meals to two a day."Generally, there would be some concerns about the climate that might create within the institutions," says DOC spokesman Tim LeMonds, "and any health risks that might be involved."
Rep. Mark Radcliffe, D-Black River Falls, is seeking co-sponsors for his proposal to cut state inmate meals from three to two a day. He also plans to introduce a bill that would require prisoners to pay part of the cost of medications they receive.
LeMonds says DOC officials have yet to review Radcliffe's proposals, but in elaborate, but dissatisfaction with food is a common cause of prison riots, and hungry inmates are likely to be irritable inmates.
A similar proposal in Tennessee died last year after critics said it would make inmates unruly and increase the possibility for prison violence as inmates grappled over scarcer amounts of food.
Radcliffe didn't return a phone message on Wednesday, and attempts to reach him Thursday were unsuccessful.
But he told the Janesville Gazette that his proposal to cut one meal a day from the DOC's budget would save $5 million a year.
Donna Weihofen, a senior nutritionist with UW Hospital and Clinics and former dietary consultant at the federal prison in Oxford, says the proposal could work, "as long as you can prove that you meet the nutritional needs of adult men, and I think you can easily do that in two meals." But she says prisons would need to offer something for breakfast, like a granola bar and juice or milk, that could be served to inmates in their cells, which would save money because it wouldn't require the staffing of a dining facility. "It's not a bad idea because not everybody has to eat three meals a day," she says. "That's just sort of our social custom."
But Carol Seaborn, a professor of food and nutritional sciences at UW-Stout, has a different take. Even if standards for calories can be met, she says, "we all tend to get hungry every four to six hours. It's in our nature."And hunger makes people unmanageable. "You can go to an elementary school to see that," she says. "You can't control students before lunchtime."
According to LeMonds, the DOC has already cut food service costs to the tune of $2 million a year by consolidating food services systemwide. As of last fall, the department offers the same fare for each meal at all DOC institutions.
"That allowed us to buy things in bulk, and preparation is easier and cheaper," he says. County jails would be exempt, but they would have the option to scale back meals. But some are locked into contracts with vendors to provide three meals a day, according to an e-mail to legislators looking to drum up support for the proposal.
Dane County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Teuscher, who administers the jail, says the jail already has cut costs by delivering cold breakfasts to cell blocks and serving most lunches cold. He says jails could meet caloric guidelines in two meals, but doing that would disrupt power dynamics between jail staff and the inmates. "Food is an inmate management tool," he says. "If people are behaving well they get the regular meal like everyone else. If they're in segregation sometimes the meal's different." And inmates would not likely take kindly to the change.
"There's not a lot to look forward to," he says of people in lock-up. "Mealtime is one of those times."
Radcliffe's proposal would allow a third meal for medical reasons, but Teuscher says that, too, creates a potential problem.
"There's a real possibility that you could get an increase in requests for special diets," he says. "Each one has to be analyzed and you have to verify that whatever their diet needs are is being done. That would be a workload issue."
LeMonds says the state's prison dietary guidelines, which call for three meals a day, meet joint nutrition standards by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. But they are also designed to provide "sustained energy for manual labor."
The state runs numerous prison labor enterprises, including printing, furniture manufacturing, textile production and laundry services. Corrections also runs agricultural enterprises that include two dairy farms, a state-of-the-art creamery, a feed lot and cash cropping. LeMonds had no comment on Radcliffe's proposal to require inmates to pay part of the costs of their medication because DOC officials had not reviewed the proposal. In a memo, Radcliffe says no inmates would be denied medications if they can't pay, but they would have to pay after their release or through their canteen accounts.

News: we are always looking for concrete news about what is/will happen prison-wise and ask for your help on page 2. Here are some facts we have:
Earned release is gone as is Parole Chair man Alfonso Graham. Acting chair is Steve S Landreman.
Lena Taylor is no longer on Justice Committee and new members are listed page 2. We are working to get liaison with at least one to have our juvenile and elderly bills introduced.
April 28 update from one legislative aide:
1)The two meals measure was introduced by Representative Radcliff. However, he failed to advance the meal measure in the last legislative session. He also offered the bill as an amendment to the budget repair bill, but it was not accepted. Gary Bies, the chairman of the committee on criminal justice and corrections, does not support the bill. As of now, he will not give the bill a hearing and it won't make it out of the committee. Additionally, many sheriffs and other DOC officials do not support that measure. So, it is very unlikely that will happen.
2) According to a DOC spokesman, privatization of prisons is not included in the governor's budget. Also, the Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin does not support privatization. So, it looks like that will not be an issue, at least not until later in the future.

SLAVERY By Another Name by Mansa Lutalo lyapo -aka- Rufus West.
(Verse #1 ) In the end it's the same song - name gone, replaced with digits to go along with a sentence. - That you will never finish - it's long as hell, you'll die of natural causes before they let you out of jail. People tell to avoid jail cells by any means, honor among thieves and G's (Man please!). If you didn't know these are the sign of the times, a time where signs dictate subliminal minds. - So they can't rise - because to rise is to grow, above what they've dubbed "Psychological Jim Crow." These dudes in the game are slow - fast lane wheels spinning in the sand, because they don't understand.
(Chorus) Slavery by another name - these slaves are penitentiary slaves, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen. Slavery by another name - these days are penitentiary days, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen.
(Verse #2) Where the age of a slave is pre-teenage, the "Birth of A Nation" of inner-city slaves. Where they break people's hopes and belief in God, believe me Home Team - I've seen it all. I've seen families broken - dreams straight shattered, people of color treated like our life don't matter. It's time to break this pattern - don't let no one, put you in a predicament where you will go from - Plantation to ghetto - from pyramids to projects, from drugs to prisons to the cemetery - what's next? A generation under siege (Man please!), third eye is blind therefore they can't see.
(Chorus) Slavery by another name - these slaves are penitentiary slaves, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen. Slavery by another name - these days are penitentiary days, time to peep game. Rearrange everything so you can win, because right now all roads lead to the pen.
Mr. Rufus West, #225213;P.O. Box 900 (CCI);Portage,WI 53901

Legal and Political Notice and Bulletin
RE: Information and assistance
Information is needed for marshalling and preparation for a class action- like suit, meaning it will be filed for all similarly seated, however filed by one or two people as plaintiffs. The information we need and what we need prisoners to send us and look out for is as follows:
1) Policies, laws, codes etc. that require the executive, legislative branches of government and the DOC to provide adequate notice to prisoners of laws that effect them. An example of this is the new laws concerning prisoners proposed by the Walker administration: what are they and why are not we notified?
2) Any information on the new laws and bills:What particulars in the bill/law affect prisoners and how are they affected? What law or bill do you think we should have to insure we are notified of impending legislation that affects us directly?
3) We have a constitutional right to participate in the legislative process. However, all the time we learn of these laws only after they have passed and are going into affect.
4) Our right to petition this government must be heard. This is a peaceful call for collective voices. Let us not be mute.
5) You can help by researching and finding ideas and operative ways to strengthen this suit and the rights at hand. The better the research, the more the suit will get traction. We want to file something soon but will wait till we have the right data and laws supporting us.
6) Send all helpful stuff to: FFUP or Prince Atum-Ra Uhuru Mutawakkil; (Mr Norman Green#228971;WSPF, PO Box 9900; Boscobel. Wi 53805 ________________________________________________________________________________
NEW ADDRESSES First, Lena Taylor is no longer on judiciary committee. We will have to establish new ties.
Here are some to try.
Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities,
Commerce, and Government Operations
Senator Zipperer (R)(Chair)
Senator Neil Kedzie(R) (Vice-Chair)
Senator Pam Galloway (R)
Senator Fred Risser (D)
Senator Jon Erpenbach (D)
Address for all: Senator's name;
Senator's name; P.O. Box 7882;Madison, WI 53707-7882

Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections
Representative Gary Bies (Chair)R ;
Representative Andre Jacques (Vice Chair)R
Rep Steve Kestell R
Rep Ed Brooks R
Rep Scott Krug R
Rep Frederick Kessler D
Rep Robert Turner D
Mailing Address: PO Box 8952 (Reps A-L) or PO Box 8953 (Reps M-Z), Madison, WI 53708

FFUP stuff
Names and Addresses Needed : Due to frustrating arbitrary denials of parole and programming for so many deserving prisoners, we have started a letter writing network in which concerned citizens and prisoners’ family members send letters for 3 prisoners a month to the powers that be .It grows slowly but it does grow - About 30 fliers have been sent out that ask for letters for the first three prisoners. The members copy the letters, sign and send. This is how Amnesty International does their political prisoner support network and it works . We need names and addresses of folks you know that would like to see a strong prisoner support coalition and would be willing to put in about a half hour's worth of work a month to get it. We are starting with parole issues but can tackle any issue.

Researchers needed: We are looking for examples of programs, bills, ideas that work and people to do research on these programs and bills so that we can connect people to implement them for WI. If any one wants to help with research and/or help us inform WI legislature on possibilities , let FFUP know and we will see you get the literature/docs. One such program is POPS program in MA (see below . In another, the majority of prisons in England and Wales now have a 'Listener' scheme. Prisoners are trained by a group called “Samaritans “ to be “listeners” and help prevent suicides by listening to the problems of inmates suffering from depression and (2) the “listeners”get support as they do this. In Maryland, a group of bills have been introduced which would considerably reduce incarceration and save money thru reform of the practice of reincarceration for non felony parole law violations and thru several other laws and these MD bills are getting bipartisan support. Other research ideas are below. FFUP has much lterature and can get more. We just need more hands and brains on the job. .
Research ideas for WI
Dreaming: George Washington University Law School The Project for Older Prisoners (POPS) encompasses a number of prison projects in which students are involved as volunteers or work for academic credit. Some students assist individual low-risk prisoners over the age of 55 to help them obtain paroles, pardons, or alternative forms of incarceration. In a typical case, a student will prepare an extensive background report on a prisoner to determine the likelihood of recidivism. If the risk is low, the student will then locate housing and support for the prisoner and help prepare the case for a parole hearing. Other students are involved in a Prison Environmentalism project that is working to introduce recycling and environmental industries in prisons. POPS also runs a "Books for Crooks" program to help build prison libraries, while another project involves students in a study of the federal prison system and the sentencing guidelines for the U.S. Sentencing Commission.How about POP for UW Law students? Again, FFUP has the data, research /contacting help needed- this was done in WA through the legislature.

Recidivism’s High Cost and a Way to Cut It April 27, 2011 Editorial from the NYTimes
Corrections costs for the states have quadrupled in the last 20 years — to about $52 billion a year nationally — making prison spending their second-fastest growing budget item after Medicaid. To cut those costs, the states must first rethink parole and probation policies that drive hundreds of thousands of people back to prison every year, not for new crimes, but for technical violations that present no threat to public safety. According to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States, 43 percent of prisoners nationally return to the lockup within three years. The authors estimate that the 41 states covered in the study would reap a significant savings — $635 million in the first year — if they managed to cut their recidivism rates by just 10 percent. For California’s hugely costly prison system, that would mean $233 million in savings; for New York, $42 million; and for Texas, $33.6 million.
The study, which looked at prisoner release data in 1999 and 2004, found recidivism rates varied widely. Some of the highest rates were in California (57.8 percent) and Missouri (54.4). New York is slightly under the national average (39.9 percent). Oregon had the lowest: only 22.8 percent of inmates released in 2004 returned within three years. Crime has also declined significantly.
In the 1990s, the Oregon Legislature created a rating system that allows parole officers to employ a range of sanctions — short of a return to prison — for offenders whose infractions were minor and did not present a danger. A parolee who fails a drug test can be sent to residential drug treatment or sentenced to house arrest or community service. In 2003, the state passed a law requiring all state-financed correctional treatment programs to use methods that have been shown to improve client compliance and to reduce recidivism.
Pressured by the dismal economy, many states, including New York, are looking for ways to cut recidivism. The wise approach would be to adopt the programs that have proved so successful in Oregon.
Fixing the Mistake With Young Offenders April 3, 2011 from the NYTimes
There is new evidence that state governments are finally understanding what a tragic mistake they made during the 1990s when they began trying ever larger numbers of children as adults instead of sending them to the juvenile justice system.
Prosecutors argued that harsh sentencing would protect the public from violent, youthful predators. But it has since turned out that most young people who spend time in jails and prisons are charged with nonviolent offenses. As many as half are never convicted of anything at all. In addition, research has shown that these young people are vulnerable to battery and rape at the hands of adult inmates and more likely to become violent, lifelong criminals than those who are held in juvenile custody.
A new study by the Campaign for Youth Justice, a Washington advocacy group, shows that state legislatures across the country are getting the message. In the last five years, the authors say, 15 states have passed nearly 30 pieces of legislation aimed at reversing policies that funnel a quarter of a million children into the adult justice system each year.
Ten states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana and Nevada, have cut the number of offenses that get youthful offenders automatically transferred to adult courts. Three states have expanded the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts, so that children under 18 are no long automatically prosecuted as adults. And several states have limited the circumstances under which young people can be housed in adult lock-ups before or after conviction. Momentum is building for similar reforms all across the country. For example, Nebraska is considering a bill that would give people sentenced as juveniles to life without parole an opportunity to petition for reductions.
Far too many children are still being sentenced by adult courts and confined to adult prisons. But this study shows that the tide has begun to turn.

Disclaimer: FFUP usually sounds like an immense organization- it is big in dreams only. We started as a medium sized group and our numbers have dwindled to founder and a few allies and lots of prisoner coworkers. This goes forward because of prisoner involvement and we work very hard at getting more of the rest of the community also involved but the that is slow. So keep in mind that the grunt work is done by one old lady. Penpals are done last so do not pass FFUP name around as a penpal project. We advertise that all prisoners on our blogs and web want penpals. Also, I am particularly swamped at this time and funds are very limited. Finally,as noted above,I will be out of state attending a family emergency from May 11 at least til end of May and will not be answering many letters. As always, Donations and help neededd.

2 excerpts from Comments on our Juvenile Blog
Comments come anonymously on blogs, we cannot communicate directly usually. But the blogs are educating and getting your message out there.
1)My son was convicted as an adult at age 15. Adopted, he spent the first 5 years of his life neglected and abused. When placed in a foster home, he was also abused. He has Reactive Attatchment Disorder and several other emotional disorders. His emotional age at(3)
the time of his conviction was about 10-12 years of age. I believe strongly that he has poor legal council, was forced into a plea and has recieved a sentence that went way overboard. He has spent the last one and a half year in a lock-up/treatment facility, will spent 5 years on probation, will be on the sex offender list for as least 25 years and will be a felon for life. We are treating chidren with mental/emotinal disorder in lock-up facilities. More private facilities are starting, so you will be seeing more kids being put in these poorly run hell holes. Most of the children that I see in my son's facility, do not belong there. They belong with their families and in some community based program. We are making bad criminals out of them. We are not making our communities safer. Please read the research that is out their on this subject. It is clear, our courts are making some big mistakes with our children. January 3, 2010
2)I have never known what to do or how to help my son other than to pray keep the faith and wait. Until this evening after praying, I literally Googled unfair sentencing given to youths and found this link. Wow! cases just like my son David .1st time offender at the age of 15. A Troubled teen with learning disabilities 3rd grade reading level at the time. Is now 29 years old. His paid attorney continued/rescheduled every court date each month or just didn't show up and would send a representative from his office to continue/reschedule. This went on for 3 years. Until David was 18.. His attorney literally did not represent him not on 1 single court date. We have tried a few things but to no avail it lead to nowhere. Somebody please tell me where do we go from here. I have always been an advocate for my son regarding his learning dificulties up until that dreadful day. Maybe someone can teach me how to be an advocate in this situation. Because I can hear the fight on this page. FYI David has had a good behavior for the past 14 years. Has awards and certificates, reads and speaks 4 different languages. Swahili,French,English and teaches inmates who have deaf family members sign language. Our legal system is throwing away our children like Tuesday mornings trash pick up days. Where does their concern lie, asleep I guess. January 15, 2011
Prison is no place for people with mental illnesses
By DarRen Morris 12/2010
Today is international human rights day, and one thing we can do in the United States to honor it is to stop incarcerating persons with disabilities.
I was the young, urban teen ribbed for wearing thick glasses and hearing aids. I was placed in special education classes. I fought a lot. And I ended up in the juvenile justice system, where about 70 percent of us had mental health disorders.
I am now a man with a floating diagnosis of schizophrenia and bi-polarity.And at age 17, I was sentenced to life in prison and quickly ended up in solitary confinement, a condition that added to my mental suspicions, my fears and my frustration at not being able to hear or see well.
You, as a taxpayer, now pay $30,000 a year for my care. Early, effective community mental health and diversion programs could have helped me become a non-threatening, productive member of society — and could have saved you a lot of money.
I don't deny that I should be punished for my crime. I do contend it did not need to happen.
We need to provide access to treatment services for all people. We need to evaluate disabilities early and help families understand the need to get help for their special- needs children. We need programs to help these families pay for the treatment and glasses or hearing aids or other adaptations that their children need.
We need to step beyond the stigmas of mental illness and disability. We need better communication among treatment providers, our courts and corrections.
If, as Dostoevsky wrote, "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," then we have a long way to go.
Let us start by acknowledging that incarceration is not the answer for persons with disabilities. Treatment is a human right for people with disabilities. On international human rights day, we can at least affirm that.
DarRen Morris is an inmate in Wisconsin. He wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues Posted: 12/10/2010 01:00:00 AM MST (DarRen Morris #236425; CCI)

Some case summaries by Lorenzo Balli #238265; GBCI,
Dole v. Chandler,438 f.3d 804(7th cir.2006)
Dole appeals the U.S. Dist. Dourt of the Southern Dist. of IL. when it granted summary judgment to defendants for plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Dole claimed he strictly complied with all regulations when he filed grievances and claimed he was beaten by prison guards in retaliation for punching an assistant warden & did all that he was capable of doing to assure his complaint reached the administrative review board. that, he claimed should have been enough to constitute exhaustion under the PLRA. The inmate fully complied with the strict compliance requirement since he filed suit in the place and at the time required by prison administrative rules, but his complaint remained unresolved through no apparent fault of his own. The prison authorities could not employ their (4)
own mistake to shield them from possible liability, relaying upon the likelihood that the inmate would not know what to do when a timely appeal was never received. The district courts judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings on the merits of the inmates claims. Before Honorable Justices Flaum, Bauer, & Evens.

Delaney v. Detella, 256 f.3d 679 (u.s.ct. of apps. 7th cir.2001) Plaintiff, prisoner sued defendants, prison officials alleging an 8th amendment violation for being denied all out of cell exercise
opportunities for six months. The US. district court for the northern dist. of IL., denied the defendants motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. The 7th circuit held the district court properly denied defendants summary judgment. When the inmate posed no special security risk, and he was being housed in a cell the size of a phone booth, his allegations that defendants denied him all out of cell exercise opportunities for six months alleged a violation of his 8th amendment rights. The prisoner filed numerous complaints and requests to the defendants giving the proper (4) notice of the unconstitutional conditions and yet the defendants failed to act sufficiently to clearly established deliberate indifference

Allen v. Sakai, 48 f. 3d 1082 (9th cir. 1994)Defendants, state officials appealed a denial of summary judgment on their claim of qualified immunity, when prisoner brought a civil suit for being deprived adequate recreation opportunities, use of a pen, and access to photocopies which resulted in a denial of access to the courts. The 9th cir. held that plaintiff alleged deprivations of a basic human
need. A fact finder could determine defendants acted with deliberate indifference for plaintiff's basic human needs by placing inconsequential logistical concerns above plaintiff's need for exercise, and access to the courts.Thus, the court affirmed the district courts denial of summary judgment finding plaintiff alleged conduct, if true, violated established constitutional rights which defeats defendants qualified immunity claims.

Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 f.3d 1422 (7th cir.1996)
Plaintiff, a prisoner in a county jail filed a civil rights suit. The district court for the northern district of IL., dismissed the suit outright, plaintiff appealed. The 7th cir. held that 1.) remand was required to determine if the plaintiff provided the marshals enough information to allow them to serve defendants, or if the marshals failed in their duty to serve the defendants.2.) Sheriffs and jail director could not be held personally responsible for local, and not wide spread violations. 3.) Alle¬gations that plaintiff was forced to sleep on the floor for one night, that jail staff took his personal property, that lock downs were arbitrary and capricious, of denial of access to the courts, of denial of opportunities to take rehabilitative programs to earn good time credits failed to state a claim, and, Allegations of deliberate indifference to prolonged pest infestation of the jail cells, of interference with plaintiff's mail, of ransid & nutritionally deficient food, of inadequate exercise, denial of mental & physical health treatment & necessary medication, of excessive noise, and that discriminatory motives were the reason of the placement in lock downs were enough to state a claim. The case was sent back to the district court to address these claims.

Dole V. Chandler,438 f.3d 804(7th cir.2006)
Dole appeals the U.S. Dist. Court of the Southern Distr.of. of IL. when it granted summary judgment to defendants for plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Dole claimed he strictly complied with all regulations when he filed grievances and claimed he was beaten by prison guards in retailation for punching an assistant warden & did all that he was capable of doing to assure his complaint reached the administrative review board. That,he claimed should have been enough to constitute exhaustion under the PLRA. The inmate fully complied with the strict compliance requirement since he filed suit in the place and at the time required by prison administrative rules, but his complaint remained unresolved through no apparent fault of his own. The prison authorities could not employ their own mistake to shield them from possible liability, relaying upon the likelihood that the inmate would not know what to do when a timely appeal was never recieved. The district courts judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings on the merits of the inmates claims. before: Honorable Justices Flaum, Bauer, & Evens.

(Favorite Place)

Each person has a specific place that holds more luster and mistique than all the others that they have been to, of this I'm positive. I myself have a mystical place of favor and it can only be found in my dreams. Not my hopes, goals, and asperations. I mean Dreams in the literal sense.
You see this world, the world I lifelessly live in, holds little or no mystery. Every morning at 7:00 a.m. a trap on my cold steel door is noisily opened and a tray that hold insufficient food shoved in the gaping wound of the inpenatrable steel door, once I take the tray from the slot that wound is mended by a bang and a key to secure it in place. After half an hour slowly ticks by that wound is once again exposed only to engulfed the now empty tray and be mended in the same fashion as before.
This process of mended wounds is repeated at both 11:00 am and 4:00 pm with equally unsatisfactory food and the sounds of the clashing of steel on steel. At approximately 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm a correctional officer walks down the tier with a stack of mail as inmates stand at their door and pray for a letter in that stack to bear their name and prison number. I am one of the fortunate that, on ocasion, gets a letter slid under my door.. And this is the high light of our day. Now most would be happy, estatic even, to receive mail, I am not one of those eager mail worshipers.
Mail only bring me news of the activities that are going on in the outside world and reminds me that I am not a part of them and I won't be for quite some time. This reminder is not a necessary one for I'm reminded every time I glance at my distorted reflection in the steel mirror, that is dented from years of unleash frustration, and bears the engravings of long lost gang members and their coat of arms, that is bolted to the concrete wall.
Now there are others who yell and bang on their doors for the pure satisfaction of hearing himself so he knows he is alive. Others tell lies to each other and hope that there is not a "Real Nigga" on the tier to catch their ficticious life stories. Others sit in there cells and play with their pet insects. Some contemplate on life and who they are, these are the ones that keep the C.Os busy trying to save their unwanted lives.
These contemplators of understanding can not face who they truely are so they try to escape through means of suicide. With all this activity I sit in my solitude and allow my thoughts to roam my mind as it please. My stomach is in constant agony from the lack of nutrition. My feet suffer sharp pains with every step, due to lack of shoes, yet I still pace my cell for unknown hours at a time. All the while I grimace in pain with a smile, thankful for the undying hunger and lightning bolt pains for they are my reminder that I am still alive. With out pain we would not know what joy is when it comes along..
Now I have a question for you. If this was your life wouldn't your favorite place lie in your Dreams???
By: Mario savage #406307 CCI, PO Box 9900; Portage, Wi 53901
Below is a summary of several articles on the infamous Stanford Experiment by Juan Quentin Ward. We will be using this in (6) our educational newsletter for the general public but it is a cautionary tale for all.
“The Experimentation of America’s Prisons”
In 1971 a team of researchers led by psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo, at Stanford University, conducted an experiment of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner and or prison guard. Twenty four undergraduates were selected out of 75 to play the roles of both guards and prisoners and become residents in a mock prison in the basement of the psychology building.
These roles were randomly assigned and the cast adapted to their roles well beyond that which were expected, so much so, that many of the characters playing guards became authoritarian in their demeanors, displaying draconian measures. Their action and conduct became so real, that a couple of participants quit the experiment quite early. Thus leading to the experiment being put on hold only after 6 days.
Many found themselves disturbed by the experiment and even held that it was too controversial to allow it to continue. The news media and all of America was outraged over the torture and abuse of prisoners al Abu Ghraib but surprisingly no one is outraged over the mistreatment and manufacturing of conduct reports, violation of constitutional rights, denial of parole of prisoners who are rehabilitated, and the continuous promoting of dehumanization of Americans locked behind these walls and gates.
In Zimbardo’s study, he was overheard telling the guards, “ you can create in the prisoners feelings of boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you can even create a notion of arbitrariness that their life is totally controlled by us, by the system, you, me, and they’ll have no privacy… We’re going to take away their individuality in various ways.”
This practice can be seen today where prisoners are forced to feel this sense of powerlessness.” That is, because of their incarceration, the guards and the administration have all the power and prisoners have none.”
Much like the study at Stanford University which grew out of hand, prisoners all over the country have suffered, and been forced to accept sadistic and humiliating treatment from guards.
Unfortunately the high level of stress and anxiety progressively has led from rebellion to inhibition and mental breakdown as men began showing severe emotional disturbances. My own experience in various institution segregation units I’ve seen men begin to smear feces all over their bodies. I have witnessed men begin to scream, to curse, to go into fits of rage having lost all sense of control. As a prisoner myself, I can only become angry and frustrated at the conditions which excascerbate these symptoms and cause these men to want death over life. Even here at Racine Correctional Institution, there are guards who use the knowledge of prisoner’s mental illness and another method to harass prisoners.
Sanitary conditions decline rapidly, made worse by some prisoners who are suffering from mental illness that urinate and defecate on the floors, beds, walls and doors of the cells. And as punishment guards punish these mentally ill prisoners by removing their mattress, leaving them to sleep on slabs of concrete, or rubber floor mats – Some are even forced to go nude for days and fed their meals off the floor as a method of degradation, as they are ordered to the back of the cell, directed to face the wall and to kneel down.
I have witnessed many new guards come in with some sense of humanity and after the probationary period grow increasingly cruel--- at least half of the prison guards exhibit genuine sadistic tendencies and racial predjudices for blacks and gay males.
The Stanford experiment ended on August 20, 1971, only six days after it began instead of the fourteen it was supposed to have lasted. Professor Zimbardo, reported his findings in 1971 to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary.
Many would probably argue that such a study as that which was held in 1971 would not be conducted today. However, the truth is these acts are carried out daily in prison all around the state, here in Wisconsin. All too often tyrannical leadership and arbitrariness and capriciousness is a reality for men and women locked inside these Correctional Institutions.
And yet, Wisconsinites are not angered or outraged by the mistreatment and abuse that haunts many who already come from abusive backgrounds, mental illness, as well as alcohol and drug addictions by Juan Ward#275760; WCI

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note
For Kellie Jones, born 16 May 1959

Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus . ..

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night, I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there ...
Only she on her knees, peeking into
Her own clasped hands.
By Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones)

I know this man through email only and his blog- which is well done and seeks to tell the prisoners’ story . He is an ex prisoner and seems to want to help. Let me know how his services are.

The Free Prisoner
PO Box 92, Deep Gap, NC 28618

Receive emails from friends thru regular mail: $2.50/email (up to 4 pages)
Have friends email to:
Must include your name/inst.#/address and their name and address. Send Self-Addressed Stamped Envelopes with purchase.
Send emails to friends thru us: send typed letter $2.00/page or $5.00/ page neatly handwritten. Overly filled pages will not be processed. Remember to include their email addresses.
Internet searches: Any topic permissible to your facility. $1.00/page.You decide how many pages and we will find the most relevant info. (Internet searches may be purchased with Stamps.)
Send Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope with purchase.
Start your own BLOG or Join Pen Pal Sites: $25.00 to start. Send personal info,favorite quotes, essays, photos, artwork, whatever. Seeking relationship?And we will do the rest. $2.00 to check messages up to 4 pages. $5.00 to update with new info, new messages, new friends, etc. Let old friends find you. Find new friends. Meet someone special.
Sell your Artwork and Crafts online: Send photo, size and weight, desired price, and lowest acceptable bid with Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope for pre-approval. We will get the best price for your quality work.
Get FAST duplicates of your prison photos. $7.00 per page. You decide. Sizes: 1 enlarged full page or two 4 x 6 in or five 3.5 x 5 in or 9 wallet.
Affordable Gifts for special occasions: $30.00 includes shipping.Stuffed toy with balloon, candy, and card. Special wrapping.Want something extra special? Contact us in advance.
Order one service or start an account: You or a friend can send a Money Order today.
* Have any interesting prison news which would be good for the Internet or Blogs?
Send it with all the details…REAL prison activism at

FFUP has a new ally in a fun loving, artistically gifted woman who is concerned about the inhumanity in our prison and wants to help. She makes her own card and will sell them through FFUP on commission and is now starting FFUP's own card selling project using prisoner donated art. For a brochure, write FFUP or give your family and friends the address for our sites. All linked to
OR go directly to: for Renee's cards and for cards made from donated prisoner art


Arthur Boose

Heard 'em ask 4
a nurse,
Came late,
So he beckoned
4 a hearse,
Lost the race against
picture the curse.

Try 2 imagine
the gift,
or get lost in
introspection based on
a what if,
what if that was
A hope in the unseen,
dude died this morning
and he asking if they're
passing canteen.

God bless the child
that can hold his own,
what about when the
child become grown?

I said a prayer wit’
my eyes open,
confined and broke
so my day is spent hoping.

Penitentiary unleashed
his spirit,
and like a bird it
has flown,
"Special Count in 5 minutes,"
Damn, I guess
Life goes on....

Dated this 11th day of January, 2011
Mr Todd Jones #333660, CCI

I knew Arthur through occassional letters. He was confused, angry, unhappy. In his first letter he sent me a picture of his cousin, stating it was him. Gradually he told me his story of daily, mindboggling sexual abuse and sent a picture of himself. I do not think the man had ever had the experience of true friendship or love. He needed intensive daily care, love, and patience. He needed to start over. In his last letter he wrote that he was scared, he was going to have his toes amputated because of his diabetes. We know nothing more.
When listening to stories of people in prison I am amazed at the resilience and healing power of people, the ability of so many to become wise and good after so much abuse. But there has to be a window -somewhere in early youth I think- often it seems to be a grandmother that shows real kindness- just the vision of real love and friendship can carry someone through the hell of early years to the time when a growing consciousness can digest experiences. I don' t think Arthur had any windows. He was looking for some at the end. Arthur Boose , died sometime late December, early January. Be at peace, Arthur.

Final tidbits
1)(From PLN) Nationwide PLN Survey Examines Prison Phone Contracts, Kickbacks
by John E. Dannenberg
In a research task never before accomplished, Prison Legal News, using public records laws, secured prison phone
contract information from all 50 states (compiled in 2008-2009 and representing data from 2007-2008). The initial survey
was conducted by PLN contributing writer Mike Rigby, with follow-up research by PLN associate editor Alex Friedmann.
The phone contracts were reviewed to determine the service provider; the kickback percentage; the annual dollar
amount of the kickbacks; and the rates charged for local calls, intrastate calls (within a state based on calls from one Local
Access and Transport Area to another, known as interLATA), and interstate calls (long distance between states). To simplify
this survey, only collect call and daytime rates were analyzed.
With very few exceptions, prison phone contracts contain kickback provisions whereby the service provider agrees to pay “commissions” to the contracting agency based on a percentage of the gross revenue generated by prisoners’ phone calls. These kickbacks are not insignificant. At more than $152 million per year nationwide for state prison systems alone, the commissions dwarf all other considerations and are a controlling factor when awarding prison phone contracts. (FFUP has full PDF report plus chart of all states)

2)From:Georgia Prisoners Strike for Wages, Better Medical Care and Food by Naomi Spencer (PLN)
Prisoners at seven Georgia state prisons called a strike on Decem¬ber 9, 2010 to protest against unpaid labor practices, poor conditions and violations of basic human rights.
Thousands of prisoners participated in the protest by refusing to work and remain¬ing in their cells. Prisoners coordinated the action using contraband cell phones. Black, white and Latino prisoners were unified in the strike, a significant development considering the brutal and fractious racial culture within U.S. prisons
In a press release, the prisoners listed foremost among their demands a wage for their work. Prisoners under the state's Department of Corrections (DOC) are forced to work without pay.Protesting prisoners demanded ac¬cess to educational opportunities beyond General
Equivalency Diploma (GED) certification, improved living conditions, access to medical care, fruit and vegetables in their meals, family visitation and tele¬phone communication rights, just parole decisions, and an end to cruel and unusual punishments.
Initially planned as a one-day protest, prisoners extended the strike when the DOC responded with violence. Prisoners at the Augusta State Prison said at least six prisoners were forcibly removed from their cells by guards and beaten. Several men suffered broken ribs and, according to a press release, prisoners said another was beaten "beyond recognition."
The prisoners' demands reveal the hellish conditions in which some 60,000 Georgians are held for years on end. Pris¬oners are confined in overcrowded cells, with very little heat in the winter months and sweltering heat in the summer. Prisoners protested the fact that the state now prohibits families from sending money through the US postal service; instead, families have to transfer funds through J-Pay, a private company, which skims ten percent of the money spent. Another for-profit firm, Global Tel-Link, controls family telephone communications at the prisons, raking in more than $50 per month per prisoner for weekly 15-minute calls. Many families of prisoners are poor, and such costs effectively prohibit regular contact with incarcerated loved ones. Prisoners also complained that the DOC had stripped them of any opportu¬nity for training in trades, exercise, or other type of self-improvement. The state offers no educational opportunities beyond earn¬ing the equivalent of a high school diploma or training in the Baptist ministry. Instead, prisoners are subjected to extremely long sentences and unpaid work assignments that amount to state enslave¬ment. Prisoners are made to cook and serve meals, clean, and maintain facilities within the prison system. They are also sent to clean, maintain, re-paint and repair other government property, pick up trash, mow and maintain state grounds, and perform other jobs without pay. After serving years behind bars, most prisoners are released with only $25 and a bus ticket. Conditions in U.S. jails and prisons have deteriorated as state budget crises have deepened. Georgia has the highest prison-er-to-resident ratio in the nation, with one in every thirteen people incarcerated or on probation or parole. In all, the state holds 60,000 prisoners and oversees 150,000 people on probation. The state's prison budget for 2010 exceeded $1 billion. Prisoners are serving longer and longer terms in Georgia, with fewer op¬portunities for rehabilitation. This is the product of "tough on crime" judicial policies ushered in by the Clinton admin¬istration, and in Georgia in the 1990s by right-wing Governor Zell Miller. Miller introduced a "Two strikes and you're out" law, and classified certain crimes as deserving of life sentences under the 1.994. "Seven Deadly Sins" law. Update from PLN The non-violent protest by Georgia prisoners extended until December 15, when the DOC began to lift the lock-downs at four state prisons and prisoners said they were ending the work strike. "We needed to come off lockdown so we can go to the law library and start ... the paperwork for a [prison conditions] lawsuit," said one of the prisoners who coordinated the protest. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, planning for the strike began in September 2010 after the DOC banned smoking. The poverty of litigation is that the bulk of the prison¬ers' demands, such as being paid for their labor, are perfectly acceptable under the United States' 18th century constitution.' If DOC officials fail to take action on the prisoners' demands, additional protests may occur.

3)Better Protecting Prisoners- April 6, 2011 Editorial from the NYTimes
The Justice Department is finalizing new rape-prevention policies that will become mandatory for federal prisons and state correctional institutions that receive federal money. The rules, based on recommendations from a Congressionally mandated commission, would be a major improvement. But the department needs to remedy several weaknesses before it issues final regulations.
Rape and other forms of sexual abuse by fellow inmates or correctional officers are a chronic hazard in prisons, jails and juvenile facilities across the country. According to federal estimates, 200,000 adult prisoners and jail inmates suffered some form of sexual abuse during 2008.
That works out to about 4.4 percent of the prison population and 3.1 percent of the jail population. The numbers are even higher in juvenile institutions, with 12 percent of the total population suffering some form of sexual abuse. Statistics showing that some institutions (9)
have higher rates of assault than others are consistent with the finding of the rape commission, which reported that some prisons had successfully created an atmosphere of safety while others tacitly tolerated assaults.
The commission came up with a long and compelling list of rape prevention recommendations, most of which have been adopted by the Justice Department. It is demanding a zero-tolerance approach to rape behind bars and will require better training of staff members, more effective ways to report assaults, more thorough investigations and better medical and psychiatric services for victims. In perhaps the most revolutionary development, prisons would be required to make sexual assault data public so policy makers could get a clear view of how well or how poorly vulnerable inmates were being protected.
Still, there are problems with the Justice Department’s approach. The decision to exclude immigration detention centers holding noncitizens goes against the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which defined a prison as any confinement facility administered by federal, state or local government.
Victims of sexual assault are often too traumatized to immediately speak out. So the provision permitting prisons systems to invalidate most complaints not lodged within 20 days seems arbitrary. Complaints should be taken seriously whenever they are reported. The department has obviously done the right thing by limiting cross-gender strip searches to emergency situations. But it should also set a goal of ending cross-gender pat-down searches.
Finally, the Justice Department needs to adopt the commission’s call for regularly scheduled, independent audits of prison rape prevention programs. That is the only sure way to know whether they are obeying the law. (FFUP has available January initial Justice dept proposal)



Bridge Of Voices #17

Wisconsinites: why spend 20 to 60 thousand a year per prisoner to incarcerate those who are rehabilitated and ready for release?

Here are 3 views of prisons
explanations below:
1)For many rural Wisconsin communities, Prisons have Replaced farming as the major source of income. Prison closings to save money brings fierce opposition.
This is protest of MI prison closing

2)PAW (Prison Action Wisconsin) 2008 protest: “return our loved ones”

3)Teachers, programs are bring dropped all over the country in grade school, high school and colleges. Each prisoner costs the state 20 to 60ooo dollars a year. Tuition for a year at a UW campus costs around 6000.Here, MI students protest cutting scholarship program and the state's spending on prisons

Included in this Newsletter:
Page 1: INTRODUCING: Community Forgiveness and Reconciliation Movement, CFARM
Page 2: Asks with our budgets in crisis, why aren’t we discussing prison spending?
Page 3: The case for second chance of juvenile offenders. Story of Andre Bridges
Page 4: "Congratulations Graduate"
Pages 5: Sampling of studies done by Wisconsin and National groups discussing why US has highest incarceration rate in world and what we can do about it
Page 6, 7: A primer on parole in Wisconsin, by the Milwaukee Journal, why our prison are overflowing.
Page 8: “When the people come together, the people can win” By: Juan Q Ward
Page 9, 10: Survey ; Page 11: Petition for parole for “old Law” prisoners


#17 Jan, 2011 Part one

Bridge of Voices # 17 pages 1 through 3

C = Community
F = Forgiveness
A= And
R = Reconciliation
M = Movement

CFARM movement- Mission statement evolving- A discussion invited.
Lutalo has named us- here is his summary: CFARM is a movement based on the concept of moving the community to partake in its social responsibility to its citizens by
(1) forgiving those who have failed their community, and
(2) working to ensure that the forgiven are given an equal opportunity to be sewn back into the fabric of society upon completion of their sentence. CFARM endeavors to see that prisoners are not kept in prison longer than justice requires.
Non prisoner retort: When I read the word “ forgiveness” the first thing I thought of was that the prisoner also has forgiving to do- Most prisoners come from abused backgrounds, were not well supported by their community or family and had no chance to develop ability to make real choices before being incarcerated : The abused learn to abuse. In order to truly heal and become contributing citizens, he/she has to become more conscious than most in the society he returns to. For me CFARM is as much about society taking responsibility and being accountable as it is about the prisoner’s attitude.
Your input welcome.
Founder’s note: This FFUP newsletter is our first attempt to reach out primarily to the Wisconsinites unfamiliar with the prison world. We try to explain the need to re-examine prison policies as well as conventional attitudes toward those incarcerated. There is a reader survey and petition to encourage legislators to support reasonable prison policies and we have drafted two bills, one for juveniles and one for the elderly, and have been working with a legislator to get them ready for presentation. If you know people who might be interested in receiving this newsletter, please send us their addresses as this is a new venture.
The work progresses. This will be a long term effort. Here we concentrate on a group of prisoners whose incarceration in many cases no longer makes sense: “Old Law” prisoners, juveniles waived into adult court and serving life or near-life sentences, and elderly prisoners who have served 20 or more years and are currently rehabilitated. We need a legitimate pathway for their release and propose several in this newsletter.

For the FFUP mission statement, project information, how to get involved, how to “meet your prisoners,” we invite you to visit our web and use the links to view the many blogs for prisoners: to Mansa Lutalo Iyapo, Prince Atum-Ra Uhuru Mutawakkil and David Rhodes for editing and organizing help and also thanks to the many prisoners who have trusted us with their stories. As always, donations of time, money and ideas are welcome and needed . Donations are tax deductible. Email us at or write 29631,Wild Rose Drive, Blue River, WI 53518. Peg Swan
(This newsletter printed on 100% recycle paper)
(end of page one)

Written shortly before elections, even more relevant today. (Edited for space.)
Prisons: Spending up, results down, but no repercussions

By editor of Cap Times, Paul Fanlund «
With elections looming, it seems there's no political upside to thoughtful conversation
about Wisconsin's corrections policies. Consider an op - ed column last week by
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett. "There is no reason prisoners should
have better health care than working and middle-class families … My plan will save nearly
$10 million per year by cutting Cadillac health care for state prison inmates." (Two years
ago, Cap Times reporter Steven Elbow wrote an investigative story on medical treatment
in a state prison. The Mayo Clinic it wasn't.)
In fairness, Barrett is following a well-worn trend in con¬temporary Wisconsin
politics. His major Republican foes strive to sound even more uncompro¬mising. Anyone
convicted of a crime appears to be the most dependable political target this election year,
outstripping even public employ¬ees.

. The “tough-on-crime” trend gained full force 10 years ago when Wisconsin’s
so-called "truth in sentencing" law eliminated parole for good behavior. In the years since, Wisconsin’s inmate population has risen and its annual correc¬tions budget has exploded from $700 million to $1.2 billion,
equaling state support for the UW System. (For comparison, on July 1st, Minnesota had 9,423 inmates compared to Wisconsin's 22,084, even though overall state populations are similar.) Higher incarceration rates apparently had little effect on Wisconsin’s violent crime rates, however, which increased by 28-percent between 2000 and 2007.
Last year, the state tried a modest early release program for some nonviolent offenders. State Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, quickly proclaimed, "Thousands of dangerous criminals... may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you."
You get the picture.
Enter Joe Parisi, a thoughtful Democratic state representative from Madison's east side. Parisi has embarked on a lonely campaign to bring common sense to corrections policies and would like candidates to back up pronouncements about inmates and prisons with facts. "I see this as an important junction," says Parisi, chair of the Assembly Corrections Committee, in an interview at his Capitol office. "There is a growing move¬ment" of experts drawing attention to the fact that some expensive get-tough policies are ineffective, he says. Yet, "there is an equally strong, if not stronger, force on the other side that has its heels dug in."
Parisi’s effort to inject critical thinking into the corrections debate has in part grown out of his 10 year involvement with Operation Fresh Start, which provides job training for young male offenders. As a former board member and OFS volunteer, he recalls many suc¬cess stories.
Parisi observes: "People who tout themselves as fiscally conservative in all other areas... throw that philosophy out the window when it comes to corrections ... They are stuck in this mind-set that the more you spend on corrections, the safer we are. But that is sim¬ply not borne out by evidence."
Retribution, he says, seems a key motivator for many legislators, and it is not strictly a partisan issue. Some Demo-crats are as stridently "tough on crime" as Republicans. Upbringing and life experience have more to do with determining attitudes than party affiliation, he says. Which brings him to the most sensitive topic: race.
"I think one of the facts that make it easy for politicians to demagogue against felons... is that over 50 percent of the populations in our prisons are African¬-American," quickly adding that he is not calling anyone a racist. Yet race "is the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the room."
He wishes more legislators listened to the real-life experiences of African-American legislators from Milwaukee. He says they "get it" but currently lack a major voice on the issue in the Capitol.
"The facts speak for themselves," he says. "If you are a 16 year-old African-American male in Milwaukee caught smoking pot, you are much more likely to get busted than a 16-year-old white kid living in Middleton. It's just the facts”.
Parisi would like candidates to be challenged: "What are your #1 goals for criminal justice?
I think public safety would come first, he says. But “If people say we have to quit letting criminals out early, what are they basing that on? Is it supported by empirical data?"
So where do you go from there?
"I am just looking for some way to break this logjam and bring some sanity back," he says. "Why do we keep doing this stuff that doesn't work?"
Name any other state budget area where spending could increase by a half -bil¬lion dollars over a few years with no measurable impact and produce no political back¬lash.
No place else I can think of. You? July 14-20,2010 (end of page2)

Andre bridges 248420
CCI; PO Box 900
Portage, Wi 53901

I was the second Milwaukee teenager, 16 years old, to receive a life sentence in 1992. When I become eligible to see the parole board, I’ll be 61.
I take full responsibility for my childhood transgressions. But please do not overlook the fact that I was only 16, misguided, with a world of issues that ultimately caused me to become angry, heartless, and self-destructive. Hence, hurt people, hurt people! Such ultimately caused me to lose my life in the form of institutional death.

The rough streets of Milwaukee proved safer for me than life at home. There, I was nothing more than a punching bag for my drug-addicted mother and a sounding board for her verbal assaults. Why did my mother hate me so? I showered her with the love I hoped she'd one day show me but that day never came. As far as she was concerned, I was good for nothing.
I had what I thought was a true friend, who unfortunately took to sexually molesting me. As bad as that made me feel, I accepted it because, in that, I proved to be good for something. It should come as no surprise that I became a child who couldn't distinguish between love and hate or life and death. Thus I took to hating myself and thereby chased death. Drugs, alcohol, and gangs to the rescue. Gang banging was the road I chose to act out my anger and self-hatred.
It wasn't until ten years or so into my incarceration that I started to “get it”. I took to examining and addressing my turbulent past. In doing so, I developed a real understanding and appreciation for life and everything it has to offer. I love the man I am today but I also feel inadequate, unable to fully experience the life I've come to understand and appreciate. In addition, I'm unable to give back, to work for positive change the way I know I'm capable of.
I am no longer the angry, heartless, misguided, self-destructive child I was 18 years ago. Yet, I must remain in prison and continue to be punished as if I am. This wounds my manhood far more than the abuse I suffered as a child. That's why, with the help of my friend Roy, I put together a proposal entitled Redemptive Re-Entry Program. The purpose of this proposed program would allow child offenders who, like me, were sentenced to life and have served a substantial amount of time and proven to be rehabilitated, to be given a second chance by having their sentences reduced. So that release is timely and we might get out as young adults as opposed to old men and women, I beg you to support efforts like the Redemptive Re-Entry Program or programs and/or campaigns of a similar nature! To read the entire R.R.P. proposal, more about my story, and the stories of other child offenders, please log on to or go to FFUP website
Note: Please fill out the survey on page9. This is one of the ways we can show legislators that forever punishment is not needed and there are ways for prisoners to show themselves ready for release. FFUP is working with a legislative aide to perfect the above mentioned second chance plan and we are combining these ideas with another plan submitted by DarRen Morris.

For a sampling of stories, writing of prisoners waived in adult court as kids: click on second chance for juveniles page or go direct to blog at

Roy Rogers Jose Bonilla Sarah Kruzen Hayes Jackson James Earl Jackson


Post two edition 17 BOV

pages 4 and 5
By anonymous prisoner , waived into adult court as juvenile

Congratulations, you graduated/ but no one will announce your name. There will be no roll call, no acceptance speech. And no, you did not make the deans list. No mother, no father, no sister, no brother to cheer your name. No one came to honor you. You simply graduated.

To receive such a prestigious award, you survived a household of trauma. But there is no blue ribbon because your father left you at an early age. You don't get a Most Courageous of the Year Award Trophy because you lived through the family secret and your mother's shame. At the hands of someone you trusted, they did awful things to you. There is no B.A., no Master's Degree.

Your degrees are third degrees, burns that run from your face to your torso. From hot grease thrown on you because your mother says that every time she looks at you she sees your father. A mathematician could never have seen that in your future. Besides, you are too damn stupid for that. Do you want to be a mathematician? We’ll solve that problem. One mother on crack, minus a father who is not even a part of your life, divided by drugs, alcohol, and dropping out of school. Equals committing a crime, ending up in prison, or dead.

Yeah, say "Congratulations" as you look into the mirror. You have come to hate the guy who stares back at you, because sometimes he believes everything people said about you. You're ugly, will never amount to anything, a mistake. Suck it up. Real men aren't supposed to cry. But the only thing he can remember was when he was this boy. At the age of 33 he is still stuck at 11.

Congratulations on your Graduation.
This time you have made a stand. You are honored for your silent courage. You are praised for your resilience. Not backing down when life smacked you around. Congratulations, you graduated from a school that had no dreams. The teachers all failed but you passed. .
Congratulations you Graduated. You chose not to stay in a box, did not make excuses. You chose not to allow your past to say who you are now. There is no need for a cap and gown, please be proud of who you've become. Hold your head up and stand tall, yeah that's it now smile for the camera. You made it. Not how others think you should have, but you made it......"Congratulations on your Graduation......

This is for anyone who has gone through anything in your life. I want you to understand that you have graduated from a school of life. If you are still in your right mind, I think you should be proud of yourself. Not for the many bad things that happen to you, but for making it this far. It counts for something .Congratulations.
Pam Oliver, UW sociologist and researcher:"I have become convinced that the high incarceration rate of African Americans is one of the great evils of our time. I believe members of the white majority need to educate themselves about what is going on, speak up, and stop supporting politicians who try to win our votes with “tough on crime” rhetoric. At the same time, we must not forget the reality of serious crime, and inform ourselves about what is known about crime prevention as well as the effects of poverty and racial discrimination. With less injustice, we can have more safety and order. We need to let our policies be guided by reason, evidence, compassion and fairness rather than sound-bites, slogans, and political opportunism. "
from: Some Facts About Race and Prison in Wisconsin (
(end of page4)

Some Gleanings from studies: pg5
1) According to Department of Corrections (DOC) estimates, between 2009 and 2019, the state will spend $1.4 billion on new prison construction costs and over $1 billion on operations (
2) New WITax Study says "Study the Minnesota way" (WI is the dark upper line)

Wisconsin spent $1.08 billion on corrections in 2008, compared to $460 million in Minnesota. MI has 12,000 fewer prisoners than WI with similar populations. MN puts its funding into community programs and probation, and has the same crime rate as WI.
Per capita spending here was 23% above the average for the 11 states with violent crime rates comparable within 10% of Wisconsin’s.
Prison 20 times more expensive than Probation The average daily cost of probation or parole supervision in 2008 was $3.42. The average cost of a prison inmate was $78.95. That’s 20 times more than probation/parole. (See whole report at; Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance)
Who’s in prison?
3) According to JFA study, Unlocking America, FEW RELEASED PRISONERS RETURN TO SERIOUS CRIME. RECIDIVISM RATES ARE MOSTLY DUE TO PAROLE RULES VIOLATIONS. Wisconsin is one of the few states in which an ex prisoner does not have to be charged with a felony or tried in court to be re-incarcerated ( on UNLOCKING AMERICA)
4) Increased incarceration rates can be linked, in part, to tripling of drug arrests since 1980, spurred by the Reagan administration’s “war on drugs” policy in 1982. Mandatory sentencing laws enacted in every state over the same period have also increased the average time spent in prison for drug offenses, from 22 months in 1986 to 62 months in 1999. Although one might expect the arrests targeted dangerous and life-threatening drug use, more than 40% of drug arrests in 1999 were for marijuana offenses. From: THE EFFECT OF CHILD SUPPORT AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE ON LOW INCOME FAMILIES” by The Center on Fathers, Families, and Public Policy, CFFPP ;
5) (Also from CFFPP above) In Dane County, Wisconsin, arrest rates for African-Americans have been shown to be 35 times those of white residents. While arrest rates have soared generally, they are staggering for minorities… One-third of African-American males will spend some part of their life in jail compared to one in 20 white American males. When arrests for drug offenses are broken down by race, the disparity becomes yet more evident. In 1999, African-Americans represented 13% of monthly drug users in the United States, but 35% of those arrested for a drug crime, 53% of drug convictions, and 58% of drug-offender prisoners. The study notes remarks given during focus groups:
“You going to go to jail. It’s just like a scientific fact. I mean, you’re jail-bound when you come across the border to Wisconsin.” “You come to Madison on vacation, and leave on probation.”


BOV edition #17 Parole explained

Doyle's parole chief defends tough tack on releases pg6

This was in the Milwaukee Journal several years ago but still provides good primer for understanding issues of “Old Law Prisoners.”

By Jason Shepard

Last summer, Gov. Jim Doyle appointed Alfonso Graham as chair­man of the state's Parole Commission. Soon after, the scheduled parole of many Wisconsin prisoners was revoked.

"There is great frustration throughout the prison system about Al Graham's reversals," says Van den Bosch, a prisoners-rights advo­cate who runs the Prisoner Action Coalition from his home in Montfort, west of Dodgeville. "A lot of these guys are giving up hope that they have any real chance at parole, and families are becoming more and more angry at the system."

Inmate Aaron Greer writes that a commissioner determined last summer that he deserved release, 16 years after he was con­victed of first-degree sexual assault and bur­glary. Greer says he spent years in prison rehabilitation programs, and his family pre­pared a detailed plan to support his reintegration into society Yet Graham, he asserts, overruled his release "without any reasons behind his decision whatsoever."

DeMara Cumby, now serving a 28-year sen­tence for armed robbery, says he was slated to be released last August after a com­missioner recommended his parole. But after returning from a work-release pro­gram, Cumby says he was locked up, trans­ferred, and told Graham had revoked his parole grant and instead ordered him to serve another two years before being reconsidered.

"I haven't had any infractions," Cumby writes. "On the contrary. I've shown positive adjustment over many years, which is sup­posed to be the determining factor."

Letters from other inmates, sent to Van den Bosch and Isthmus over the past year, tell similar stories. Stricter laws, sterner judges and statutory changes like "truth in sentencing" have led to longer state prison sentences across all classes of crimes. This has spiked prison populations and driven corrections spending to nearly $1.1 billion a year. An Isthmus analysis of data from the Department of Corrections confirms what Van den Bosch and state inmates are saying: The tough-on-crime mantra has also thrust itself dramatically into the parole system.

During the first six months of Graham's tenure, the parole-grant rate dropped significantly from what it had been under Graham's predecessor, Lenard Wells. From June 2006 to November 2006, Graham granted parole in 12.5% of possible cases, down from 17.2% from December 2005 through May 2006, when Wells was in charge. In all, of the 4,705 inmates up for parole in 2006, 688 were grant­ed release.

Now more inmates are being denied parole. This increases costs to taxpay­ers — the current annual average in Wisconsin is $29,600 per inmate — while reducing the amount of time that newly-released prisoners are under the watch of parole agents.

For most of the 20th century, parole was a corrections tool used to motivate criminals to "earn" release from prison by bettering themselves through good behavior, rehabilitation programs and education. It also allowed the system to cor­rect for inappropriately harsh judges.

In the 1990s, parole came under attack from politicians who played to fears that criminals were getting released from prison without sufficient punishment, then going on to commit more crimes.

Wisconsin eliminated parole in 2000 as part of one of the nation's harshest overhauls in criminal-justice sentencing. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel projected the move would cost taxpayers $1.8 billion in new spending for inmates admitted through 2025.

At the end of 1999, 94% of Wisconsin's adult prison population had a set parole-eli­gibility date. Now just 4,812 inmates, or 22% of the total population, remain sentenced under the "old law." This means they are eligible for discretionary parole after serving 25% of their sentence, and must be released after serving two-thirds of the sentence.

(Inmates sentenced after Dec. 31, 1999 nev­er see a parole commissioner. Many serve every day of their sentences, although some inmates convicted "of less-serious crimes” are able to petition judges for release after serving three-quarters of their sentence.)

An inmate eligible for parole is granted a hearing before one of five parole commissioners. This person recom­mends or denies parole and sets the next eligi­bility date. Crime victims are allowed to offer outside information; inmates' families, lawyers and advocates are not.

Commissioners weigh several factors: whether the inmate has served "sufficient time for punishment"; shown signs of positive improvement based on treatment and education programs; developed a viable plan for success upon release; and presents an "acceptably reduced level of risk" to the pub­lic.

Graham has overseen the hiring of two of the five commissioners, Danielle LaCost and David White, both in August 2006. LaCost has worked in corrections since 1995, White since 1978. The three other commis­sioners, in order of seniority, are Jayne Hackbarth, a 20-year DOC veteran who was appointed in 1999; Steven Landreman, employed by DOC for 14 years and appoint­ed in 2001; and James Hart, a 32-year DOC employee appointed in 2002.

The chairman of the parole board has the sole authority to accept, reject or modi­fy a decision from a commissioner. (Pg 7)

His deci­sion is final.

Like his predecessor, Al Graham is an African American former Milwaukee police official. In addition to his Milwaukee pen­sion from his days as assistant police chief, Graham has collected a paycheck over the past decade from the state Department of Justice, most recently by working in a unit called the Cannabis Eradication and Sup­pression Effort.

Graham says he calls ' he sees 'em, but concedes that it's a difficult post "I have that hard job of saying, 'No, today we're not going to let this lifer out because of what he's done, based on the facts before me, based on the witnesses

that may be out there protesting, based on the victims, based on the district attorneys and judges."'

This year alone, Graham guesses he's had about 20 cases of recommended releases for inmates convicted of homicide. He estimates he's overturned about 25% of them. "Before I put my signature releasing a person who's been sentenced to life, I'm going to take a hard look at that."

Sometimes, Graham gets intimately involved in the board's decisions. When it came time to release a Marinette County man convicted of attempted homicide 22 years earlier, Graham received a letter from the victim, a man in his 60s who is still dis­abled from the attack. The man was fearful for his life, and said he'd move rather than live in the same town as his released attack-

"Here's a guy who expressed a legitimate concern," Graham says. "He said he's a tax-paying citizen whose safety is being put at risk because of my decision."

And so Graham called the local district attorney, police chief and the man's parole officer to talk about the release, which he granted.

"Do I worry about that one case? Only because it was the first I had where I could not justify in my mind keeping this person any longer. I fight the urge to call the victim and say, 'How are you doing1.'"' But Graham admits to calling the police chief after the release to make sure there hadn't been any problems.

"There are no easy cases," Graham says. "In every case, there are families out there on all sides. There are prosecutors and judges and police officers. There are community organizations. And there's the public, whose safety to me is always the most important fac­tor."

He continues: "Are there some who I could have released who may have gone on to do well? There's a chance. It's a question of the law of averages, reducing the risk, and hoping that community and family support is out there and the inmate is released saying I'm going to do the best I can. If I erred, it was on the side of public safety If I had to go right back to day one, I would do everything the exact same way"

At an April public hearing, dozens of peo­ple testified against Graham's nomination based on his rejections of parole grants. The complaints received scant media attention, with the notable exception of Wisconsin Pub­lic Radio's Gil Halstead.

Following the hearing, lawmakers sought assurances from Graham that he and his staff would work harder to communicate with pris­oners, their families and advocacy groups. Taylor's committee also requested a study of risk-assessment tools used in other states that could reduce the needier discretionary deci­sion-making. (The report was slated for release in July, but Graham says it's not yet ready)

Another concern is the lack of available programs that inmates must complete to be eligible for parole. Some of the programs aren't offered where the prisoners are housed, forcing them to seek transfers to other facili­ties if they have any chance of winning release. Graham admits this is a burden and says it's "a fair concern" that inmates are being denied parole because they haven't com­pleted programming that's not offered at their facility

Van den Bosch worries that postponing parole can undercut an inmate's chances for success upon release. It's yet another exam­ple, he says, of politicians being more tough than smart on crime A smart approach would recognize the importance of rehabilitating criminals, giving them incentives, training and the opportunity to lead productive lives.

"No matter how long you extend some­one's time in prison, you're not automatical­ly going to have a better citizen when he comes out if you don't provide the skills and programs needed," Van den Bosch says. "The costs to society are much greater when you have people who get out and are unable to function."

Between 1987 and 2007, Wisconsin actually cut its support for higher education by 6%. Only 6 states reduced investment in higher education by more. During the same period, Wisconsin increased corrections spending by 251%, 8th national highest, despite an overall declining crime rate. (see chart of all states: from NASBO , National Ass. of State Budget Officers)