Bridge Of voices NEWSLETTER may 2012

Bridge of voices
Newsletter of Forum for Understanding Prisons (FFUP)
May thru July 2012
printed on 100 % recycled paper                        

Groups seek to reduce Wisconsin's prison population
Religious leaders: Inmate count should be halved
  From one of many news articles early March announcing the campaign “11-by-15 For a Safer, Healthier Wisconsin
GREEN BAY — Two faith-based organizations want lawmakers to create new policies that would reduce the number of state prison inmates by 50 percent in less than four years.
ESTHER-Faith Communities United for Justice and JOSHUA this week announced the statewide campaign called 11x15 on the steps of the Brown County Courthouse in downtown Green Bay. The goal is to reduce the prison population — now at 21,590 — to 11,000 inmates by the end of 2015.
The number of prison inmates in Wisconsin has nearly doubled since 1995 and the cost for the state Department of Corrections was more than $1.3 billion last year, a 15 percent jump from 1990, the groups said.
"We believe our state prison system is broken," said Edward Winney, a member of Green Bay-based JOSHUA. "We believe in treatment instead of prison for nonviolent offenders."
The Department of Corrections reported 12,364 inmates in state adult prisons in the middle of 1995.
"We would support anything that would work towards reducing recidivism," department spokesman Tim LeMonds said of the organizations' campaign, adding the department has no official partnership with the two groups.
The advocacy groups plan to send letters to state legislators asking for new policies and new sentencing guidelines, said Stephanie Gyldenvand, organizer for Neenah-based ESTHER. The groups are looking for support from judges and are planning presentations in the coming months to inform the community about the campaign.
"If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail," said the Rev. Charles Mize of Union Congregational Church in Green Bay. "We need to expand our toolbox in regards to nonviolent offenders."
The groups said many prison inmates have no history of violence, suffer from mental illness or have addictions to drugs or alcohol. Taxpayer funds spent to house inmates could be better used on treatment programs, they argued.
"We're not working on helping people with whatever issues got them in trouble in the first place. We're just locking them away," Mize said. "We don't have a corrections system. We have a punishment system."
Since 2009, Brown County has operated a special drug court, which helps some offenders get treatment and supervision instead of incarceration. A court system for military veterans has been approved, which would offer treatment options for offenders with issues that may have been caused by post-traumatic stress.
— Charles Davis writes for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
From one of many news articles early March announcing the campaign “11-by-15 For a Safer, Healthier Wisconsin:             

                                                  Statements from "11X15" pamphlet:

11XI5 ("eleven by fifteen") is a small name for a big campaign. The longer name is:
11X15 For Safer, Healthier Communities. It is our challenge to the state of Wisconsin to reduce the prison population from its current size (about 22,000) to 11,000 by the end of the year 2015. It is a big goal, but not an impossible one.
      Initially, 11X15 is about creating awareness that our current criminal justice system is an expensive failure. It is expensive in terms of money, lives and opportunities that are wasted. It is a failure in that it does not achieve the goals of public safety or of rehabilitation.
    On the flip side, 11X15 communicates that there are alternatives to incarceration that are appropriate for many (not all) people who have been sent to prison. These alternatives are proven. They are more effective in promoting safety and health, and they are more just.
      11X15 will create the movement needed in our state to reduce our bloated prison population, to end the racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and to treat mental health and addiction problems as public health issues, not cause for punishment.


                                                       TELL YOUR  FAMILIES!!!
You can learn more about 11x15 at www.prayforjusticeinwi.org
There are many things you can do to be part of the 11X15 campaign.
1.   Go to www.pravforiusticeinwi.org to learn more about the campaign.
2.   Call 414-831-2070, or e-mail wisdoniwi@sbcglobal.net to get on the list for updates.
3.   Ask for someone to make a presentation to your organization, congregation, group or class.
4.   Make a donation to help pay for 11X15 materials and events.
5.   Join a local 11X15 committee; be part of local forums; visits elected officials, etc.
6.   Pray for our leaders, that they might have wisdom and prudence; and pray for the people of Wisconsin that we might have the courage and energy to demand justice.
7.   Plan to join the "March in March" of 2013, when more than 1,000 Wisconsinites will go to Madison in support of 11X15.
Contact: * David Liners at 414-736-2099, Rev. Joseph Ellwanger at 414-736-2480

                                                        YOUR STORIES NEEDED/PLEASE HELP
11  x 15   Update by Ramiah Whiteside
     The 11 X 15 campaign is diligently trying to put human faces on the side of this problem that people would otherwise not be aware of. To this end, the 11 X 15 campaign needs your stories and people need to know your plight.? The 11 X 15 campaign is spearheading this project, but it cannot proceed without your stories. These stories will be shared with Wisconsin political representatives, community organizers and those within the DOC who are receptive to putting an earnest effort into making this system more cost effective in its efforts towards the treatment and rehabilitation of its prisoner population and towards reducing recidivism. Family mem­bers of incarcerated individuals can also share their stories. This campaign is not about politics. It is about reform.

There are two kinds of stories wanted.
Here are instructions from the campaign director:
1) stories related to the campaigns goal of treatment , no incarceration for low risk offenders:
“All we ask is that stories be brief (aiming for about 150 words), that they be about lived experience (not opinion), that they be true, and that they are somehow related to the 11x15 campaign’s aims (i.e. related to the call for far less incarceration of low-risk offenders -- highlighting the need for alternative programs, restorative justice, etc…). We are looking for stories from offenders, from family members, from crime victims, law enforcement, treatment providers…”

            2) stories related to inability to get programs: (submitted by Standing Bear (SCI ) also)
The 11 x1 5 campaign would like to hear from any and all prisoners who have experienced the "hurry up & wait" syndroms and who are willing to enroll in treatment programs, but are not being allowed to. The stories shared with 11 x 15 must be true and you must be willing to have your story shared with others, such as legislators, DOC officials and community representatives. These stories must be fact-based, not opinions and 150 words or less.

Send your stories to:
David Liners, Director/ Wisdom  11x15 Campaign,
3195 S. Superior St., Suite #310; Milwaukee, WI 53207

This is a collective effort that is designed to benefit the many, not just any particular individual. Some of you may have offenses that perhaps exclude you from consideration in terms of release, but other initiatives included within this project could very well assist you in receiving quality treat­ment programs as you continue to work towards your preparation for release, or transition to lower custody levels... sometimes all we can get is a bite of the pie instead of a whole piece.
Thank you for your time. Get involved. What do you have to lose?
Respectfully, Sincerely Yours, Ramiah Whiteside

                                                                  from: A Second Chance at Life  by A. David Dahmer/ January 12, 2012/Progressive
                 “There's hope. But you have to believe and you have to take the risk,” Oman says in   an  interview with The Madison Times. “It's inside of you. I'm telling you that there are millions of us who have changed. The only person that has to take a risk to try is you — even if you don't believe. Pick up the phone right now and do something different than what you've been doing. Risk this moment right now of being scared and uncertain and uncomfortable. I guarantee you that it will get better. It's already better [because of] the fact that you have stood up and valued yourself enough to get up and do something. The problem is that we don't believe that it will get better.                                                                                   

Once addicted to crack cocaine for 15 years and in and out of trouble with the law, Oman is currently the human services program coordinator recovery support specialist at the Wisconsin Resource Center, a state mental health treatment facility classified as a prison. Once part of the problem, Oman now is an intricate and important part of the solution.
Last fall, Oman was honored with the Visionary Award as Voices Beyond Bars (VBB) hosted an awards banquet Sept. 29 attended by hundreds at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. “I was so honored to receive that award,” Oman says. “It really meant the world to me because my passion and my heart and my life had really become worth something of value.

        “Voices Beyond Bars was there for me when I got out of the prison,” continues Oman, who is now co-chair and outreach coordinator for VBB. “The day I met [VBB Executive Director] Jerome Dilliard I will never forget. I went through the Returning Prisoners Simulation and when I got done I just kinda lost it. I was like, 'Oh, my God. There are people out here who know where I've been and what I’ve been through.' What really touched me was that there were ex-offenders sitting in that room willing to reach their hand out to me and to help me.”
Oman is so happy to be involved with an organization like VBB.
         The reason that VBB still exists is because we believe so deeply that all of our stories can be helpful to somebody else,” Oman says. “So to get that award — for me — was awesome. But it wasn't even the award; it was standing up there in a crowded room
saying to every other person who believes that they don't deserve it or that they aren't valuable enough to take a risk to get rid of the facade.“Everybody wants to be loved and we have given our heart and soul every day for nine years at Voices Beyond Bars — we answer phone calls at 3 a.m. in the morning, we pick up people from the homeless shelter, we will go when most people say, 'Sorry, our offices are closed.' To get that award from that group of people, just made me want to do more,” she adds.
          Nobody grows up wanting to be a crack addict. “Crack addiction is probably the most lonely, empty, awful feeling I've ever had in my life,” Oman admits. But Oman’s adult addiction problems had roots in her childhood. She grew up in a small town in Indiana in a household with an alcoholic father who was both verbally and physically abusive. “I kinda checked out a long time ago,” Oman remembers. “I just didn't see the possibilities for life that maybe somebody who grew up in a household without consistent abuse did.”
         At her lowest point in her life, Oman was facing 87 years in prison. She ended up with an eight-year prison sentence. “I actually ended up being 2-and-a-half years. People reading this will think, 'She didn't do no time!' Guess what? One day behind bars is enough time for anybody,” Oman says. “I hear a lot of people saying they want respect. 'Gimme some respect!!!' Look in the mirror and respect yourself. Respect comes from you no longer harming yourself... [when] you get done raping your own soul.”
          As crazy as it sounds, Oman started to have that respect for herself in prison. Incarceration, she says, most assuredly saved her life.
“At the end of my addiction I wanted to die and I was so mad at God for not taking me. I had been shot at, stabbed, beaten, and left for dead in the projects. I should not be alive,” Oman says. “But if I wasn't going to die. If that wasn't the plan for me, I felt like God couldn’t possibly only want me to be a worthless failure ... so I prayed to him to help me get on living.
“The last night on my drive to Allied Drive — drunk with a bunch of money to get more cocaine — my prayer was ‘Please, God, do for me what I can't do for myself,’” she adds. “And he did. But the answer for me was prison... not exactly what I was picturing. The blessing was that he gave me enough time from the alcohol and drugs to really start over and live the way I wanted to live.
 “But once I got what I needed — 8 years — that was enough for me,” Oman continues. “For some people, it's 50 [years]. Others, it's less. The question is: Can you face yourself? Can you forgive yourself? Can you forgive others? Can you never be that way again and start to work to make the world better right where you are now?”
      Today, Oman works with the Department of Corrections helping prepare incarcerated individuals for their release.
“My job was created over a three-year period based on recovery/mental health model,” she says. “Trying to find people who have experienced similar situations that many of the clientele do that could come in and be helpful to the people who live there to try and develop better wellness plans or get people to start preparing for their future. Finding ways to have wellness. Who better to share that experience than somebody who has walked that path?”
       While Oman works in her daily life to help get people on the right path, she hopes her own personal story can be an inspiration to others.
“I've been given new life; can I take that new life and give it to others?” she asks. “Can I share hope? That started for me in prison. I knew that God left me alive. I should not be here. There should be no reason I'm sitting here doing this interview with you, except that He had a plan for me.”
Oman says that you are guaranteed to get what you always got if you keep doing what you've always did. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
“Get up now and do something different. Do whatever you have to do right now — right this minute,” she says. “Get up and go get it. You hustled to get drunk and you hustled to get high... so I know that you have that hustle in your life to straighten up and be successful. I am living proof that you can do it.”

Morning prayer,
Good morning Lord, I ask you into my life, to be my savior and forgive me of all my sins as I forgive others. To create in me a pure heart and mind and to remove all ungodly thoughts and behaviors from me. I fully surrender and submit my life and will to you and ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit of truth, thru faith, so that all my thoughts words and actions come from you today. I desire your will, kingdom and righteousness both now and forevermore and ask you to lead, guide and direct me in all I think say and do with the strengh to carry it out, so that I live, in full obedience to you and that all I say and do today glorifies you and your name, according to your will for me, for my good, by the power of the Holy Spirit for your glory, while hearing you and your word, through sowing all good fruit of the spirit. In Christ Jesus I ask, thank, love and pray. Amen.
Submitted by Jason Kurtz 445483, WSPF

The following is from someone  who like to share the wisdoms of the program called 12 STEP. The method, good for all, is to take one of these sayings a day and think about it at odd moments throughout the day. The process is life changing. More next newsl.
Heard on a Spiritual Walk
God loves you.
With Divine Help I will accept what I cannot change.
All glory comes from daring to begin. .   .
The highest form of wisdom is kindness.
Nothing can give you peace hut yourself.
As long as you live, keep learning how to live.
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine.
Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.
Don't give up on your hopes and dreams.
When you bring things out into the light, they lose their power over you.
Self-discipline is self-caring.
No one ever found serenity through hatred.
By releasing resentment, I set myself free.
Participation Is the key to harmony.
You don't have to understand everything.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
The more light we generate for others, the better we can see ourselves.
Self-forgiveness often clears the path to forgiving others.
An expectation is a premeditated resentment.
Change your thoughts and you change your world.
The truly wise solution may lie in improving yourself.
Relax your mind and open your heart.
Peace Is a natural outgrowth of acceptance.
Look to yourself- it is there that all your answers are found.
Put your will and life into God's care.
Learn to trust the peace.
Trust that you are being restored to sanity.
Acceptance is a challenging but rewarding spiritual discipline.
You cannot hurt others without hurting yourself.
Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised.
Ask for willingness from your higher power.
Happiness is an inside job.
If we supply the willingness, God supplies the power.
I dwell in Faith, not Fear.
Each man's life represents a road toward himself.
You are an individual with the right to a good life.
You have choices.
The steps are a guide to total good living.
Peace is a natural outgrowth of acceptance.
Keep the focus on yourself.
Nothing is either good or bad, if s thinking that makes it so.
Success and failure are a matter of perspective.
The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Law   Supreme court broadens right to counsel for plea-bargaining process/2 articles..

LATIMES:Supreme Court: Defendants have right to an attorney on plea deals\
By David G. Savage;March 21, 2012, 10:23 a.m.
Reporting from Washington—
The Supreme Court, noting that virtually all criminal cases are settled through plea deals, has ruled for the first time that defendants have a right to competent advice from a lawyer on whether to accept an offer to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. At a minimum, the court said, the defendant must be told of any formal offers from a prosecutor that would result in a favorable deal.The pair of 5-4 decisions handed down Wednesday could have a broad impact on the nation’s criminal justice system because of the importance of plea deals.
"Ours for the most part is a system of pleas, not a system of trials," said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The "simple reality" is that 97% of federal convictions and 94% of state convictions result from guilty pleas, he said.
For that reason, it is crucial, he said, that the constitutional right to a competent lawyer is not limited to trials alone, but also to the back-and-forth of plea deals.The justices ruled in favor of two men who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but who could have served less time had they agreed to plea deals offered by the prosecutor.
One case, from Missouri, involved a repeat drunk driver who was offered a deal in writing to plead guilty and receive a recommended 90-day sentence. Galin Frye's lawyer did not tell him of the offer, and he later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison.
In Missouri vs. Frye, Kennedy said the lawyer’s failure violated Frye's rights.
"This Court now holds that, as a general rule, defense counsel has the duty to communicate formal offers from the prosecution to accept a plea on terms and conditions that may be favorable to the accused," he wrote. The defendant also has a right to a new hearing or the lower sentence if there is a "reasonable probability" the deal would have gone through had the defendant known of the offer, he added.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined to form the majority.
In a second case, from Michigan, Anthony Cooper was charged with attempted murder, but turned down an offer to plead guilty if the prosecutor asked for a sentence of about five to seven years in prison. Cooper relied on bad advice from his lawyer who supposedly said he would not be convicted of murder because he did not shoot the female victim above the waist.
Cooper went to trial, the jury convicted him on all counts, and he was sentenced to between 15 and 30 years in prison.
In Lafler vs. Cooper, Kennedy and the court agreed that the defendant had been denied his right to a competent attorney, and sent the case back to a Michigan judge to decide on a new sentence.
Justice Antonin Scalia sharply dissented in both cases. "Until today, no one has thought that there is a constitutional right to a plea bargain," he said, predicting the decisions will lead to endless litigation over the details.
He was joined in dissent by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
 A Broader Right to Counsel
March 22, 2012 from the NYTimes
         The right to a jury trial is extolled as a fixture of American justice, but a vast majority of people charged with crimes never see a trial. Plea bargaining defines the criminal justice system: 97 percent of federal convictions and 94 percent of state convictions come through guilty pleas negotiated between prosecutors and offenders.
        The Supreme Court has previously ruled that the Sixth Amendment gives a criminal defendant a right to an effective lawyer during plea-bargain negotiations and when the defendant gives up the right to a trial and accepts a plea offer. In two related 5-to-4 decisions this week, the court extended that constitutional guarantee to cases in which the defendant rejects a favorable plea offer - and goes to trial - because of ineffective counsel.
       In Missouri v. Frye, the prosecutor sent a letter to the defense counsel, offering the defendant a 90-day sentence for driving with a revoked license. The lawyer did not tell the defendant about the offer, and he later received a three-year prison sentence.
      In Lafler v. Cooper, the prosecutor offered the defendant a 51-to-85-month sentence for a guilty plea in a case of assault with intent to murder. But the defendant turned it down after his lawyer said he could not be found guilty on that charge because the victim was shot below the waist. The defendant was convicted and given a mandatory minimum of 185 to 360 months. If the lawyer had counseled him well, he would have taken the shorter sentence.
     A plea bargain is "almost always the critical point for a defendant," said Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court's majority in both cases. Without constitutional protection, this stage of the criminal proceeding has been unregulated, heavily favoring prosecutors who have more power and generally more resources.
    In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the majority for opening "a whole new field of constitutionalized criminal procedure: plea-bargaining law," by raising bargaining from "a necessary evil to a constitutional entitlement." He cautioned that the consequences of allowing defendants to reopen a plea offer after rejecting it are unclear and will surely lead to more litigation.
    To win a challenge under the new standard, a defendant must show that with effective counsel, he would have taken a plea offer, the judge would have approved it and the deal would have been more favorable than the case's outcome.
    There is no constitutional right to a plea bargain, and these cases do not change that fact. But if prosecutors make a plea offer, the court now requires that defendants have effective counsel in considering the offer. With this new standard, judges are more likely to require prosecutors to make plea offers in writing or in open court so that there is no dispute about the offer and no doubt that the defendants understood what they rejected.
    The Supreme Court has long made clear that the right to effective counsel exists in all parts of a criminal proceeding. The court has strengthened that right, and improved American justice, by applying it to the entire plea-bargaining process.
 FFUP has transcripts of decisions in the two cases
Missouri-vs-Frye, 132  S Ct 1399, 182 L.Ed.2d 379 (2012)
Lafler-vs –Cooper, 132 S Ct. 1376, 182 L.Ed.2d 379 (2012)

Re: Rejection of prisoners' complaints for noncompliance with chain of Command
In State ex rel. Shafiq Imani v Gregory Grams, et al., Case No. 09-CV-156, the Dane County Circuit Court Judge Sarah B. O'Brien issued order on September 29, 2009, wherein she stated the following:
Imani's next argument is that the ICE exceeded his authority with his conclusion that Imani's complaint was not within the scope of the ICRS pursuant to WIS.Admin. Code doc §310.08. The record shows that the refiled complaint was rejected for uncooperative conduct as set forth at page 2, above. However uncooperative conduct is not a legal ground for rejecting a complaint. Perhaps acknowledging this, the ICE inserted as the Rejection Code the word "scope". Imani argues that the ICE cannot reject a complaint based on the fact that the complainant failed to adhere to WIS. Admin. Code DOC §310.09(4), the administrative code provision allowing the ICE to direct an inmate to resolve an issue informally. Similarly, Imani contends that his complaint does not fall within WIS. Admin. Code DOC 310.11(5). The respondents have not responded  to these arguments.
After quoting 310.11(5) for purposes of showing when an ICE has the authority to reject complaints, the court stated:
As shown above, Wis. Admin. Code DOC § 310.11(5) clearly sets forth the circumstances in which a complaint may be rejected. However, there is no provision in Wis. Admin. Code DOC §310.11(5) granting the authority to reject a complaint for failure to informally resolve the complaint or follow directions. Government agencies are bound by the rules which they have promulgated. State ex rel. Anderson-El v Cooke, 2000 WI 40, 16-17, 234 Wis.2d 626, 636-37, 610 N.W.2d 821 (2000). Here, the respondents failed to abide by the administrative rules when rejecting Imani1s complaint. Therefore, the decision of the respondents must be reversed.
It is the responsibility of all prisoners to research information that they receive to make sure not only that it is legit and updated, but also so that we can pass it along to other prisoners with confidence that we have an effective tool at our disposal to make the DOC follow its own rules. I am grateful for Brother Imani for having the courage-to challenge the DOC when it acted outside of its authority. Truly it is an inspiration for all concerned.Submitted by: Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo -aka- Mr. Rufus West
Re: Legal News by Nate Lindell #303724:
Re: Denial of Maps: Welcome Rose stated in her CCE Report for My 1C #WSPF-2010-5335 (Wisconsin prisoners can cite this):
“The blanket denial of all maps under both the former WSPF rule and the former DAI Policy ... had been improper. The DAI policy has again been revised and changed to now allow maps, except for those maps ... 'that may compromise the security of the facility, safety of the public or safety of staff....{Sic throughout)
Re: Denials of Photos from Out-of-State Prisoners: “Welcome Rose stated in her CCE Report for my IC #WSPF-2011 -9447 (Wisconsin prisoners can cite this}:
The photo had been inappropriately denied. A. photo sent to a State of Wisconsin inmate from an inmate in another state is not unauthorized transfer of property under Chapter DOC 303 administrative rules. A photo received for an inmate must be approved or denied under the administrative rules governing mail in Chapter DOC 309.
EVIDENCE of rethinking?

Dementia Behind Bars; March 25, 2012 from the NYTimes
     The get-tough-on-crime and mandatory sentencing policies that swept America beginning in the 1970s did more than drive up the inmate population and prison costs. They also ensured that inmates who once might have been seen as rehabilitated and given parole would grow old and even die behind bars. As a result, prisons are struggling to furnish costly, specialized care to ever more inmates who suffer from age-related infirmities, especially dementia.
    According to a report from Human Rights Watch, in 2010 roughly 125,000 of the nation's 1.5 million inmates were 55 years of age and over. This represented a 282 percent increase between 1995 and 2010, compared with a 42 percent increase in the overall inmate population. If the elderly inmate population keeps growing at the current rate, as is likely, the prison system could soon find itself overwhelmed with chronic medical needs.
     There is no official count of how many inmates suffer from dementia. But some gerontologists say the current caseload represents the trickle before the deluge. They say the risk of the disease is higher behind bars because inmates are sicker to start with - with higher rates of depression, diabetes, hypertension, H.I.V./AIDS and head trauma. Given these risk factors, the dementia rate in prison could well grow at two or three times that of the world outside.
    This is a daunting prospect for prison officials whose difficulties in keeping pace with the present dementia caseload were underscored in a recent report by The Times's Pam Belluck. The article portrayed officials in crowded, understaffed correctional facilities scrambling to care for ailing inmates who can no longer feed, dress or clean themselves and who create conflict and disorder because they can no longer follow simple commands.
     The Human Rights Watch study said the cost of providing medical care to elderly inmates is between three and nine times the cost for younger ones. Another study found that the annual average health care cost per prisoner
is about $5,500; about $11,000 for inmates aged 55 to 59 and $40,000 for inmates 80 or older. A specialized unit for cognitively impaired inmates in the New York State system costs more than $90,000 per bed per year, more than twice the figure for general inmates.
     Many inmates, obviously, can never be released, and they will continue to require special care. But the states must pursue other avenues as well. They can foster partnerships between prisons and nursing homes to improve the quality of care; consider compassionate release programs for frail inmates who no longer present a threat to public safety; and, no less important, revisit the mandatory sentencing policies that did away with judicial discretion and filled the prisons to bursting in the first place.                      Law continued Page 8 bottom

We have had many requests for articles about the Walker recall. One of the more interesting aspects of the Walker news is his ties to ALEC .Below is part of an in depth article including how ALEC architected our truth in sentencing laws. This is just part/scrunched- for more, contact FFUP.  

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
By Brendan Fischer  the  Center for Media and Democracy's law fellow and a returned Peace Corps Volunteer - El Salvador
ALEC Disbands Most Insidious Task Force After Public Pressure and Loss of Sponsors
      Under growing public pressure and the departure of multiple corporate members, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has announced it is disbanding the Task Force that has been responsible for some of the organization's most controversial pieces of legislation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced several bills approved by that Task Force when he was a legislator in the 1990s and early 2000s.
       For at least three decades, the corporations, special interest groups, and legislators on the ALEC Public Safety & Elections Task Force (known as the Criminal Justice Task Force until 2009) have approved model bills that promote for-profit prisons and lengthen prison sentences, criminalize immigrants, expand the "war on drugs," thwart evidence-based pre-trial release programs in favor of for-profit bail-bonding, and many other policies.
            In recent weeks, ALEC has been under increasing scrutiny for that Task Force's role in advancing laws that promote voter suppression, and for adopting the so-called Stand Your Ground law, which in Florida had been cited to prevent the prosecution of the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
Corporate Exodus Leads to Disbanding Task Force
As the result of a campaign by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way, CREDO, and others, a stampede of ALEC member corporations have announced they are severing their ties from the organization. ALEC had been replying to the campaign by bemaonng what they called an "intimidation campaign."
         As Mark Schmitt of the Roosevelt Institute notes in the New Republic, "far from 'intimidation,' what the boycott threat did was force the companies to make a more careful, deliberate choice about what kind of political speech it actually wanted to support and put its reputation behind." And companies like McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and others apparently do not want to be associated with policies like those coming out of the Public Safety & Elections Task Force.”
Criminal Justice / Public Safety & Elections Task Force
As CMD has reported, the NRA conceived the so-called Stand Your Ground law in Florida, promoted its passage, then brought it to the ALEC in 2005, where the legislators and corporate lobbyists on the Criminal Justice Task Force voted unanimously to adopt it as a "model bill." At the time, Wal-Mart was the Task Force co-chair, and the NRA led the Task Force in subsequent years. Since becoming an ALEC model it has become law in dozens of other states, and the number of homicides classified as "justifiable" has dramatically increased in many states (and jumped 300 percent in Florida). In 2009, members of the same Task Force approved the model "Voter ID Act", versions of which were introduced in a majority of states in 2011.Members of the Task Force have included for-profit prison providers like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which has also served as the co-chair. The ALEC Criminal Justice / Public Safety & Elections Task Force has created model bills that lengthen sentences, which have dramatically increased incarceration rates, and bills that privatize prisons, putting more of those inmates under the control of for-profit corporations, as well as many other policies.
Walker's Ties to ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force
Scott Walker was a proud ALEC member when he was in the state legislature, and introduced several ALEC bills approved by the Criminal Justice Task Force. Since becoming governor, he has continued to push these ALEC-supported "criminal justice" efforts.
In 1997, then-Representative Walker introduced (and the legislature passed) the ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force - approved "Truth in Sentencing" act, which requires inmates to serve their full sentence without options for parole or supervised release. The law takes away incentives for prisoners to reduce prison time through good behavior and participation in counseling, and eliminates the ability for judges and parole boards to decide that the financial and social costs of keeping a particular person incarcerated no longer furthers public safety goals.
The state estimated that the first 21 months after the law took effect would cost taxpayers an extra $41 million, as 990 inmates would have to be incarcerated for an additional 18,384 months. Wisconsin's prison population increased 14 percent in the seven years after the law took effect, with no correlative public safety benefit or additional decline in crime rates. The annual budget for the state prison system jumped from $700 million in 1999 to $1.2 billion in 2009, becoming the third-largest expenditure in the 2009-2011 state budget.During this period of growing prison populations, then-Representative Scott Walker introduced several bills between 1997 and 1999 that would allow private prisons in Wisconsin, privatize state prison operations , and private corrections companies to open prisons in Wisconsin to house inmates from other states. While those bills did not pass, some inmates were contracted-out to private prisons in other states, and CCA has registered lobbyists in the state ever since. Walker said that he and fellow ALEC members relied on an ALEC report crediting Virginia's Truth-in-Sentencing law with a five-year drop in crime, but crime dropped in ALL states in the 1990s, regardless of whether a state passed a tough-on-crime law like Truth-in-Sentencing.The Wisconsin state legislature apparently recognized the folly of Truth in Sentencing and rolled-back aspects of the law between 2001 and 2009. When Scott Walker became governor, he reversed this progress and pushed for legislation fully restoring the ALEC Truth in Sentencing, despite the costs to taxpayers and despite claiming Wisconsin was "broke."
In early July, Governor Walker's office released a statement supporting expanded use of prison labor, another idea promoted in ALEC bills approved by the ALEC Criminal  Justice Task Force. (much more>no room here)

A report from the Recall Road
      Written by Tom Crofton , of Richland County, especially for this newsletter
     Over a year ago the now Governor Walker made his move to build fame and fortune. He wanted his “Berlin Wall” moment, a chance to be remembered for eternity. I remember his early campaign and wondered how anyone could be supporting this clownish figure with the “way too simplistic” lines. The fact that a more moderate Republican was polling so much more poorly was my first inkling that something was going to hit the fan.
     My second reason to wonder, and the first cold shiver up my spine, occurred the day before the inauguration when it was reported that he was going to get the National Guard ready in case trouble developed when State employees discovered his plans for them. Really?
     The Act 10 Budget repair bill did more than paint State employees as villains. The number of assaults on the regular working folks of this State started with Act 10 and continuing through this session has been astounding. 70 years of efforts to save American business from its own excesses and to provide a minimum of security for those at the bottom of the ladder have been systematically shredded, starting with the work of lobbyists for the big businesses that caused the first depression as soon as they got back on their feet in the 30’s, continuing through the Reagan years of fighting air traffic controllers and creating the largest deficits in history in the name of making government ineffective, and now culminating with the efforts of the WI Republicans to demonize all workers and the national Republicans to take away  the freedom of choice, contraception, rights of workers, and voting rights of working people all over the country.
     The “Alice in Wonderland” nature of this attack comes from its well planned misuse of the language and outright lies of its rhetoric. Pro-life means you can’t do something because someone else says so. Stand your ground means you can go on the offense. Contribute to your pension and health care means you take a wage cut.  The list of attacks organized by conservative think tanks and funded by billionaires is too long to include in detail here. The bottom line is that to them, we working people are stupid sheep who can be led to slaughter by divisive, racist, wedge issue attacks.   But we who care about each other are fighting back, and I hope those of you who can spread these words to family and friends can recognize the commonality of our struggle.
     We recalled two State Senators and caused the balance of power in the State Senate to shift. We had the highest turnout in the State in rural edges of districts that tend to be less active politically. The grassroots nature of this breaks all recent records.
      We had tens of thousands show up day after day at the Capitol, culminating in 150,000 the day the Democratic minority came back to the State after blocking the business of the rampaging Republican majority by denying a quorum. Union members who had no direct stake in the struggle saw their position threatened and came out in droves.
       We had a tremendous outpouring of volunteers filling up twice as many petition lines as we needed in the Walker Recall. Drive-Up Recall Petition signing with the slogan “it should be as easy to recall someone as to get French fries at McDonalds”, a “Dump Walker” dump truck float for parades, and miles of door to door canvassing did the trick.
  Now we are in the final push to pick a candidate and to elect her/him to turn back the tide. The scary thing is that Democrats had the majorities in 2010 and did not prevent this tide from sweeping over us. I believe we are in this fight for the rest of our lives. The perpetual campaign for basic human decency goes beyond parties. This is one we need to remain strong for, and keep working at every level to build for, forever.

Law continued from page 6

Sentencing for Juvenile Offenders To the Editor:
 1) The Op-Ed article by Gail Garinger, a former juvenile court judge ("Juveniles Don't Deserve Life Sentences," March 15), resonates with me in a deeply personal way.Twenty-five years ago, my world was forever changed when my beloved daughter Cathy,then pregnant with her second child, was murdered by two teenagers.  When my own pain felt unbearable, I became a grief counselor, eventually working with programs that bring together victims of crimes and offenders. As I opened my mind and heart to young prisoners who expressed remorse and wanted to change, I began to experience my own healing - and came to the belief that it is senseless to condemn juveniles to a permanent punishment of life in prison without parole.    I have met and come to know the man who, in his youth, committed the unspeakable crime that took my daughter's life. He deeply regrets his actions and has dedicated his life to being a positive influence in his community. He is proof of the incredible growth young people are capable of.  By allowing for sentence review after years have passed, we give juveniles something to hope for. We give them a reason to strive to be better. I know Cathy would want young people to have that chance.3/15/12
 2) To the Editor: Re "Cruel and Unusual Punishment for 14-Year-Olds" (editorial, March 21):
           This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases dealing with life without parole for juvenile offenders.
            In recent opinions, the justices have acknowledged what all parents know: kids are not just little adults. They think, act and respond in fundamentally different ways. Research using functional magnetic resonance imaging has demonstrated that brain development continues throughout the teenage years. Studies have also shown that the more primitive, instinctual part of the brain develops first, followed by the more advanced regions that control judgment and reasoning. As a result, adolescents are more likely to act on impulse and be less able to stop, modify their behavior or fully consider the consequences of their actions.
         The court recognized these differences in its previous decisions concerning sentences for crimes committed by juveniles. One hopes that its review of the current cases will again be informed by our contemporary understanding of adolescent brain development.
DAVID FASSLER,Burlington, Vt., March 21, 2012;The writer is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont

Call for Stories from Children of Incarcerated Parents Are you an adult who experienced the incarceration of your parent as a child? Do you have an adult child who experienced your incarceration? We are editing a book of life stories by adults who had a parent in jail and/or prison when they were growing up. The book will describe adult perspectives on parental incarceration. This will not be a book ABOUT children of incarcerated parents, it will be a book BY adults who experienced the incarceration of a parent as children. There is no requirement that contributors have ever lived with their incarcerated parent. There is no requirement that contributors have ever had an active relationship with their parent who has been in jail or prison. We are particularly interested in stories from individuals who have been involved in the juvenile or criminal justice systems themselves. We will provide editorial assistance to help contributors write the story they want to tell. Contributors can send us their written work electronically or by mail. Individuals who are interested in sharing their stories and participating in this important project can email or write to us at:cipstories@gmail.com OR Denise Johnston & Megan Sullivan ;c/o Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents;Box 41-286;Eagle Rock, California 90041 Please contact us by June 30, 2012. We look forward to hearing from you!
FFUP stuff /NOTES  and how you can help
Goals for this year:
I Connect with 11 X15 campaign
 1)Support them in their efforts to created alternatives to incarceration , release of prisoners convicted of nonviolent offences
                Needed: please submit stories as requested by 11X15 campaign. FFUP will maintain close contact .
  2) Expand discussion to include people ready for release:
                 a)Old Law prisoners
                 b)elderly, those who have served 15 + years
                 c) juveniles, Kids who were waived into adult court before age 18 who have served 15+ years.
             Needed: This is golden opportunity to instill in people the idea that people do change, that revenge forever does not work. We have bills near ready to submit to legislators  and need letters to the editors, pamphlets, a general public education campaign that lets people know of the waste of lives , energy and money that the present DOC policy of no parole represents. This must be done slowly and surely, in tandum with the 11X15 campaign _ a slow opening up of hearts and minds. Prisoners and families- please contact FFUP if you would like to help.
II Campaign against overuse and abuse of seg/ create solid, focused, sharing committee.
The Wisconsin effort is called WCEHTP( Wisconsin Committee for the Humane and Ethical Treatment of Prisoners) but because most of the help is coming from the web, it includes people from anywhere.  We have started a private blog where we gather documents and members will be working together to attract experts and others to advocate on individual cases and to get independent testing and evaluation of prisoners. Through communications by email, web and phone, families of the mentally ill and otherwise wrongly segregated prisoners can support each other, get advice and basically form a strong coalition for change. Cases will be evaluated for legal action and as the 8th amendment against cruel and unusual treatment has been weakened in this country, we expect to be finally to the world court. Our long term goal is to get the community involved in the treatment of the mentally ill , to force the building either within the DOC or in the community, of adequate treatment facilities and the creation of healing community alternatives to the present mass warehousing of the mentally ill . The other leg of the seg project is to investigate the cases of those who are kept on administrative confinement because of alleged gang activity. Through independent testing, litigation and advocacy we will help stop the arbitrary confinement of prisoners who's leadership capabilities are deemed a threat to the status quo but who are not violent and are not dangerous in any other way.
Needed:  concerned citizens, families members with loved ones caught in seg, people with expertise in psychology, social work, law, or other related fields.  This is new ground- contact FFUP if you want to know more or want to share on this adventure. 
III MORE   $$$$ and misc help- an hour here and there
FFUP has no paid staff and operates on personal funds and a few donations. She(FFUP) is slowly getting  a board- 3 members now, and are testing the waters but mostly FFUP is many focused and helpful  prisoners, one intake worker, generally getting more than thirty letters a week and struggling, and  lots of outside informal allies and well wishers. ere are some volunteer positions ready for filling > 
These require as little as one hour a week , the jobs can be done without any contact with prisoners, by working with intake worker.
1)      We have a facebook account. needed: someone with highspeed internet willing to keep it updated .
2)      We cannot handle penpal requests at his time without more help typing and posting.
 As usual, HELP NEEDED. We would like to put this newsletter out four times a year. Need donations for that- go to ink and paper. If you want this newsletter to be regular, pleas contribute if you can- state on your donation "newsletter"
           Also:FFUP keeps a lot of prisoners in envelopes, hygiene , glasses and the like and would like to   expand the giving to larger needed items and to more prisoners.  Donations  needed for this also. 
                                  Transport to the prisons: Please spread the word about these services
At present FFUP knows of two services going from Milwaukee to most of Wisconsin's prisons.  You must call for an appointment and prices vary.
                    Voices to the Prisons; Ms. Boyd ;  1-414-687-9828; voices2theprisons@yahoo.com 
"Your family unification/re-unification program ministering to heal, connect and build families through transportation and support group settings."   Servicing Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and more. Please  share this information with yourr families and ask them to contact me. If they  don't get an answer, they should  leave name, institution, phone number and a call will be returned."    P.O.H. Family Transportation Services; Robin Saffold ; 414-395-7413; 414-350-8571 pohtransportation@gmail.com
                        "Our #1 priority is keeping families with children connected"  

Let’s stop the cycle:
Monkey bars to prison bars.
                                                                                          Drawing by DarRen Morris