Thursday, February 24, 2011

essay after denial again

Ron wrote this shortly after being denied parole once again.

I should have accepted the plea bargain for 20 years. After trial the sentencing judge heard all the testimony and saw all the evidence, and intended me to serve 13.6 years on my life sentence. That was the mean average length of time at the time, and if a guy was well-behaved and lived within the rules, he was back on the streets in that time. Incredibly, and without explanation, in June I begin my 37th year of incarceration. And I am by all standards a model prisoner and have corrected the pathology of my offense to assure myself that it could never happen again. I have also claimed three additional college degrees in Geology,Business Administration and Law and even claimed ministerial credentials. My conduct is exemplary, and I always do the absolute best I can with what I have, volunteering for work assignment and helping others at every turn, even saved two lives with the Heimlick maneuver. I participate in Restorative Justice seminars, victim-impact classes, and numerous extracurricular educational activities. I am self-didactic and strive to educate myself and others.

The main trouble I experience is the lack of accountability in the parole apparatus. There is a hard "trust" issue after some 30+ interviews; not one has been forthcoming, truthful and honest. The concepts of due process and fair play no longer apply to the parole commissions' actions; it has become a vapid, hollow charade as the rules, policies and attitudes change on a whim and I am then held to increasingly stringent standards. Sadly, I had a better chance at parole 20 years ago.

My parole saga began when I became parole-eligible in '87. My custody level was reduced to minimum-security in '91 and in '92 the sojourn through minimum custody centers began. With each transfer I worked harder than any 10 guys trying to make a positive showing and work my way out of the system. Each time, however, the parole commission would send a memo and/or make a clandestine phone call resulting in my being returned to higher security.

That occurred five times — the last time in '97. In 2006 parole Chairperson Lenard Wells granted me a parole after considering all relevant criteria, but then reneged for no valid reason, being disingenuous to my supporters.

Also problematic is that the victim in my case has many close friends and relatives throughout the DOC system. The guy's Uncle was the Security Director at Waupun when I arrived, and upon retiring he took a position on the parole commission. That coincided with the above fiasco.

Presently, my parole agent accepted and approved the parole plan for Milwaukee, and had me sign the parole rules. An apartment is being held open for me; two jobs are being held open for me, all resources and support personnel are there to provide transportation to the parole office, and to get a driver's license. Moreover, I was raised in a family of small businesses, have always enjoyed the freedom of self-employment, and have a studied appreciation for business. I am also an accomplished guitarist and song writer, and have people ready to help me publish, copyright and market the many volumes of material I've written over the decades. Am also an avid inventor, and have people eager to explore and patent some of my inventions and ideas. Many believe both ventures could generate considerable employment, stimulating the economy and allowing me to give back to my community. In sum, there is no valid reason not to grant parole in this case. The parole commission should be charged with looking for ways to parole clients but, instead, they are not even trying.

Even more astounding , my co-defendant — who devised the plan for this offense, and who was undeniably the armed-robber and murderer perpetrating this case — was paroled some 19 years ago. I have never understood that, and the parole commission refuses comment.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Brainwashing the Masses

by Ron Schilling #32219; Oakhill Correctional Institution; PO Box 938; oregon, Wi 53575
Ron's story on web:

It's always incredible how an enlightening epiphany can manifest from nowhere in particular and command a vast amount of critical thought, as well as a drawing on past experience and education in the field of psychology
concerning the notion of mass brainwashing. It has certainly explained a LOT about why the prison system is the way it is, as well as why society is the way it is. The gist is that everyone is being programmed to accept what is given them. In prison, in society, it's the same phenomenon at work.
The Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov was on to something more than he ever could have imagined back when. His most notable achievement was probably the methods he used to teach dogs to salivate at the ringing of a bell. That sort of "conditioned response" was fairly impressive, but he did a lot more than that. Before he taught them to respond to the bell, he stressed his dogs to the maximum limits, the maximun cerebral endurance, subjecting them to sleep deprivation, loud sounds, and poor nutrition, would lead them to expect one thing and then do another, and a bunch of other stimuli intended to heighten their stress levels. Dogs become disturbed when stimuli are unnaturally strong; when the interval between a stimulus and the customary response is unduly prolonged and the animal is left in a state of suspense; when the brain is confused by stimuli that run counter to what the dog has learned to expect; when stimuli make no sense within the victim's established frame of reference. After a time dogs naturally recoil from such exposure, retreating to a corner of their cage, for instance. Deliberate induction of fear, rage or anxiety markedly heightens the dog's suggestibility. If these emotions are kept at a high pitch of intensity for a long enough period, they eventually reach their cerebral capacity limits and experience what is called "cerebral shut down." Dogs generally lose consciousness and fall over at that point. Just prior to this point new behavior patterns can be installed with the greatest of ease.
Humans, on the other hand, not only recoil, but their cerebral activity shifts and all portions not dealing directly with the stressful situation are greatly open to suggestibility; new behavior patterns can be easily
Installed while at or near the limit of cerebral endurance. What's interesting is that these new behavior patterns seem to be ineradicable; meaning, the individual cannot be de-conditioned. Whatever is learned in that state remains an integral part of one's psyche. It's the same tactical strategy used on POW's and enemy-combatants to extract information from them. It is generally at that point where the captive will agree or confess to most anything suggested. And since what is learned or conditioned during that time is what remains forever, the practical programmer needs to be mindful not to create a hopeless neurotic of no use to anyone, nor a patient to be institutionalized; or a victim to be taken out and shot. The ultimate goal would be to create a convert who will work or accept whatever is desired.
Present regimes continue to experiment with this phenomenon and are discovering that fatigue, wounds and every form of sickness add drastically to the physical and mental stresses that increase the suggestibility factor.
Likewise, other factors like conducting these matters at night are more effective than during the daytime. Man's willpower revolts with the greatest energy against any attempt at being forced under another's will, opinion or direction; but in the evening they succumb more easily to the dominating force of a stronger will. The fatigue factor is a strong one for increasing suggestibility. Illness is even more effective than fatigue as an
Intensifier of suggestibility. Strong negative emotions tend to heighten suggestibility and facilitate a change of heart after time. Combine these stress factors, prolong them, and it will produce a state of greatly intensified suggestibility after which the victim can emerge from the ordeal with newly instilled behavior patterns ineradicably implanted in their minds and nervous systems. The end-game is that if the indoctrination is given in the right way at the proper stage o£ nervous exhaustion, it does have that effect. And under favorable
conditions practically anybody can be converted to practically anything.
As this concerns the prison population from the moment prisoners are extracted from society, from family, friends and loved ones, they are subjected systematically to many kinds of physical and psychological
stress. Poor nutrition, uncomfortable and often deplorable living conditions, deprived of adequate sleep, non-existent health care, and all the while being kept in a state of suspense, uncertainty and acute apprehension; never alone, always in groups, most living in chronic fear of this dreadful fate, it has a cumulative effect on stress levels. Day upon day and ,especially; night upon night, the value of fatigue is increased. The captors do their best to create a frightening, confusing and bewildering environment. In addition to the rules governing every aspect of life in prison, even the appearance of administrative rules governing things like classification, parole, due process, disciplinary hearings, etc., lead one to expect due process and fair play. And every now and then the system does afford some semblance of fairness, but it is quickly withdrawn, adding even more to the stress levels. The brain and entire nervous system cannot help but be affected by it. After months, years or decades of this prolonged stress, it produces the results which Pavlov's finding would lead one to expect; neurotic and hysterical symptoms make their appearance. Some prisoners overdose on pills, slit their wrists, hang themselves or put their hands in their pockets and nose-dive off the top tier. Those who survive the rigors of the conversion process can emerge with new and ineradicable behavior patterns since all of their ties with the past; family, friends and loved ones, traditional decencies and pieties have been severed. The general aim is to create and fabricate a nightmarish society of informants, compliers, selfless fanatics and basic “sheeple.” And the criminal justice system is abundant with raw human material for the prison industrial complex.
Millions of people, or “sheeple”, are being turned out on an escalating basis, and are growing to accept their newly instilled ways all the time. We are all the products of a more scientific, evolved and harsher indoctrination process; which will doubtless continue to evolve for eons. Current technology has created a hybrid system of techniques, partially dependent upon the systematic use of semiviolent manipulation, partially on skillful psychological manipulation, and partially on environmental and media stimulation. The government is continuing to think new thoughts in response to new situations which impact us all on levels heretofore unimaginable.
Even the people in free society are being subjected to new laws, penalty enhancers, administrative rules, municipal laws and codes all of which intensifies the stress levels in everyday life. Don't fasten your seatbelt,
for instance, and you will be marked in a computer data base and forced to pay a considerable fine. The creation of new boundaries, the restriction of our civil liberties, restricting tree press, monitoring everythinq we read, the threat of secret arrests if we read the wrong book; being held without a crime, without charge, without trial, without counsel, without any recourse or semblance of due process whatever, even the potential for being exiled, all of it adds up to increased stress levels.. Even something as rote as grocery shopping and discovering 60 different kinds of ketchup on the shelf, in some degree, increases the stress. It is an incessant assault on our central nervous systems.
Of those less susceptible to the influences of traditional and provisional techniques are those who might already be deemed psychotic in some measure. They will remain members of a more wild species who can laugh at the stresses. And that wildness makes it possible for them to become heretical; rebellious and otherwise unorthodox and, dare I say ,stand the greatest threat of becoming nonconformist revolutionaries.
What I find most disturbing about the above concerns the ineradicable behaviors learned during the stressed periods. In the prison context, the behaviors that seem to naturally flow from being subjected to such treatment are the same behaviors society deems unacceptable. Prisoners learn to be more conniving and manipulative in their attempts to subvert the influences thrust upon them. They pick up some of the most unsavory habits and patterns of behavior not only sometimes learning to be better criminals but quietly acquiescing to accept defeat at every turn. In the current prison schema, nearly every activity is geared to where the prisoner must consciously relinquish some activity in order to partake in some other activity. For instance, the gym, which has proven to be an enormous stress-reducer, is scheduled to conflict with virtually every other activity. Spiritual and religious services are geared to antagonize with endless and needless restrictions and rules which discourage one from seeking such activity. It occurs too frequently for it not to be intentional, and has the desired effect of suggesting or instilling the acceptance of defeat. And it is an ineradicable acceptance that will stay with the individual forever. It is reflected by the fact these prisoners would rather sit around doing nothing worthwhile, bouncing basketballs, slapping dominoes, gambling, and spewing garrulity, and seem more familiar and comfortable watching television programs geared to keeping people stupefied and stuck on stupidity. Again, those are the patterns that will stick with them upon release.
On the other hand, those who qenuinely and consistently partake of educational endeavors, and otherwise avail themselves to what power they have under the law, learning more about the system in the process, are those who will be less likely to recidivate. And I suspect, this is the true reason for the Pell grants and other college opportunities being legislated into history; because the recidivism rates were close to one or two percent for college educated prisoners, compared to something like 80% of the general prison population. It was simply contrary to the system's penological interests toward unbridled expansion of the prison industrial complex. And one only need examine the statistical data depicting the decrease in funding for schooling and education across the board, and the greater funding for corrections and the prison industry, to see the same phenomenon at work in society as well.
Moreover, with regard to the same disturbing phenomenon at work in society; as people are subjected to increasing levels or stress, they become more susceptible to the influences of suggestibility- In the societal
Context, people become more accepting to whatever their government puts out there for them. Fewer Jobs, lower wages, higher taxes; more laws, restrictions on civil liberties, the patently incredible stories surrounding
the government' s dubious political and global agendas and arguments for war, all of it. It seems more and more people are fast becoming sheeple.
What is even more disturbing is that the vast majority of people, inside and out, have not a clue about how all of the above is dramatically affecting and effecting their lives. And it is the proximate reason prisoners no longer unite on any common issuer and it is also the proximate reason people no longer take a stand on governmental issues. People have been brought to a point where they blindly accept the notion that; beyond their input during the sham electorate processes, they have no voice, no recourse, no power. Of course, this is not true, albeit it might as well be. To be certain, the government is ever mindful of maintaining their absolute power over the masses and they continually develop the methodology, to facilitate that agenda. Sadly, it is at the ultimate expense of a blissfully ignorant populace.

Prison Industrial Complex and American Need For Constant Expansion


There is a cautious class war being waged that is responsible for the prison industrial complex becoming a systemic beast absent any concerns for compassion, health, healing, justice or social responsibility. What I have to say may not set well with some but it is at least an accurate and honest depiction of the prison reality. To be sure, there is a huge problem with America having the highest rate of incarceration in the world. And heavy is the pen exposing this but, honestly assessed, Americans are not that much worse than any other people. clearly, there is a problem with the system itself. At least, the public is not being apprised of the true agenda.
Solution-focused approaches attempting to correct the manifest problems will only morph the symptoms and not necessarily deal with the problems themselves. It further tends to keep people dwelling solely on the symptoms. true solutions stop at the front gate because the system is not designed to accommodate significant change from within. The system is mechanical and unfeeling — grinding up humanity endlessly. The problems remain and get redefined at different times for a myriad of reasons contingent upon societal needs.
Public sentiment is governed in large part through the various media spinning fear by focusing on crime in the lower class of society. When that is scaled back, so too is the public sentiment towards the prison industry as illustrated through the philosophical shifting from punishment to rehabilitation and reentry and back to vengeance and retribution. In every instance the pendulum swings to address the public sentiment and the abject needs of society. Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky touched on the phenomenon exclaiming the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons. And that degree continually fluctuates with public sentiment being influenced by the media which then influences legislators, police and government, laws, civil and criminal rules, philosophical policy shifts in prison administration, all aspects of the alleged war on crime and other wars of convenience.
There is a larger picture that needs to be assessed in terms of the so-called war on crime. The matter has morphed yet again to fill the needs of the nation. That is to say, the only real war being waged is that conflict between class — the haves and have-nots. and it allows for the perpetration of the other so-called "wars" as brought to the public eye via the media. The justice system and prison industrial complex has become superbly designed for maintaining control of the entire lower class. not many would even try to argue the middle ground anymore — you either have it or you don't.
The scope of control of the lower class is vast, and not only encompasses those many millions of people incarcerated, their families and relatives, but also all those who are employed and working within the system — the guards, officials, social workers, mental and physical health care workers, even each of those people who make the toothpaste and toilet paper used by the industry.
MANY MILLIONS OF JOBS ARE CONTROLLED BY the PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. IT further encompasses even the justice workers themselves — judges, lawyers, prosecutors, police of every variety and rank, emergency responders, and such. Each and every one of those positions are governed and controlled by the system, it is vast and far reaching.
Thoughts of the imperial global interests should be in the collective consciousness of this nation more with time. The new imperialism is cloaked in humanitarian theory but it is definitely imperial in practice. And it is creating a situation of subsovereignty where states possess independence in theory but not in fact. The reason USA military forces are in Afghanistan and Iraq, after all, is to maintain imperial order in zones essential to the interest of the USA. We will have a military presence there in perpetuity. by morphing definitions from "freedom fighters" to "evil-doers" and "terrorists." We deem them a threat which allows people to view them differently than those living next door. And that terrorist threat must be stopped at all cost.
The USA is fairly the hardest military state and the last remaining empire and, as such, it has assumed the responsibility for imperial structuring and ordering more analogous to Rome everyday. The bush administration set the stage for global dominance in the "national security strategy of the united states" back in 2002, when announcing "a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy and free enterprise," and the rest of what followed in that document was an open declaration of the goal of strategic dominance over the entire planet for the indefinite future. and any society that rejects the design is destined to fail when deemed a treat to the USA. Noticeably, the USA has been on the offensive ever since, asserting our military presence and building hundreds of prisons and detention centers and over the globe.
Financing the expansion of global reach is awesome; the USA has increased its military spending to the point that it now spends about as much as all other nations of the world combined. Ten trillion dollars in debt is about as vulgar as it gets. It is the systematic result of the entire history and logic of capitalism and corporatism, the objective of the imperialist system is to open up peripheral economies to investment from the core capitalist countries, thus ensuring both a continual supply of raw materials at low prices, and a net outflow of economic surplus from the periphery to the center of the world system. The end game is to assure the economies of the periphery are structured to meet the external needs of the core USA interests rather than their own internal needs. and they will be enslaved forever in the same fashion as the rest of the lower class.
Inevitably, at the end of this power structure are the dehumanizing implications of the class war which, in turn, folds over impacting mainstream society in prevenient ways. it perpetuates the ghettoization of cities, racial polarization, poverty and greater exploitation of workers, the increased spatial concentration of a perpetually unemployed and politically disenfranchised class, an epidemic of homelessness, and many other related social ills. What is fundamentally interesting is that the war has been waged in such imperceptible increments that people fail to perceive the massive increase of social control over the surplus population.
Again, it is all by the logic and design of capitalism and corporate structure which inevitably creates surplus population. The process needs the surplus population despite facing the potential threat of political upheaval and other cultural disruption. this requires a magnificent amount of control over that ever-growing. population which not only is brought to bear upon those within the prison industrial complex, but in society at large as well. And the minds of all are continually being conditioned and coerced to ultimately choose what the elite deem the most economically useful.
As for the prison industrial complex failing to meet purported societal objectives, the statistics rather speak for themselves. It is a great systemic failure which only produces more delinquent behavior, and does not diminish the rate of criminality at all. the design of the system increases recidivism and does not make the streets any safer or more secure. given the facts, the system is not serving the interests of justice or society.
Instead of trying to correct an incorrectable system, a more sound approach is to examine the perennial failure and inquire what true objective it serves, and who profits from it. we also must be mindful that the class of have-nots is required in order for the elitist haves to exist and even prosper. The creation and operation of an ineffective prison industrial complex creates a perpetual space for the haves to administer control and maintain their power and standard of living.
What is more interesting is that the allusion of power is allowed to flourish by the lower class and all those within the belly of the beast. It is ignorance to believe it is about power and non-power. Indeed, if everyone merely put their hands in their pockets the power would shift instantly. But the system is maintained by the lack of awareness of the lower class population within it. In short, the haves need the have-nots to acquiesce that power and control. And they have been slowly conditioned to do just that with thoughts that are now familiar and even comfortable to accept because of the misperception that it has always been that way. Such strategic configurations are not readily apparent to those who serve the inside role and it works perfectly to keep the lower class compliant inside and outside of the system. It is a classic corporate power structure which controls every part of the system and offers those at the top a supreme advantage. It does not occur in a vacuum but has become a reciprocal relationship.
The achievement of a different end from that originally intended comes easily with slight manipulation of architectural tricks in the system's function. As it is, the system does not serve to correct anything but only to control. In relatively recent times society has allowed a drastic change in the attitude of the role of prisons. Exclusive domain has been given to governmental interests and has again been morphed to serve the government agenda by becoming a tagging process for all those of the lower economic and social class. The catalyst for the process is interesting, but the reasons are frightening and sovereign.
The tagging process came into view when examining the federal fisc fueling a huge portion of the prison industrial complex. And that came into view when architectural tricks led to litigation in a federal case challenging illegal prison classification rules on ex post facto grounds — that is, they created punishment beyond the prescribed maximum terms through newly-minted rules.
The first strokes of writing on the wall was when ex-governor Tommy Thompson pulled his architectural masterpiece by issuing a directive to the department of corrections (doc) to block the release of all violent offenders. He also acknowledged it was illegal but directed the doc to find legal ways to affect it. it didn't take long for it to also engulf all prisoners regardless of their offense. It made no sense for him to put himself out-there like that by instructing the doc to create legal ways to perform unlawful acts. the guy is a politician. yet no one asked why he would do that.
Prisoners have been feeling the effects of the rules for some time now, and witnessing the outrageous judicial suppression preventing legal challenges to the process. All prisoners rue the day the obscene truth became undeniable in their lives. The effects of the policies and rules were exposed in letters and document mailings to numerous legislators, state representatives, senators, various agencies supposedly overlooking the madness, and in many legal briefs to the judicial arm during litigation through all the state and federal courts, but the message was seemingly ignored all the way around. And no one questioned why and the bigger picture was not coming into focus yet for most .
The increasing number of complaints about some of the, not being allowed to take treatment programs, the subsequent parole preclusion--shows an awareness of the problems in the way the system was designed to function. But prisoners are not taking notice of the bigger picture nor understanding what it is they are looking at. The bigger picture is nothing short of awesome, and perfectly strategic. and as mentioned earlier it was brought about so subtly that no one caught on until long after the fact.
The catalyst for the individual states comes in the form of federal appropriations statutes(42 usc 13701) which happened to coincide with Thompson issuing his directive to the doc. the statutes provide for billions of dollars in federal grants to the states for doing things like creating parole rules and classification rules which conflict with one another to create a catch-22 which, consequently precludes parole. It also provides grant funding for states to create more administrative rules, municipal laws and codes, penalty enhancers, and other nonsensical statutes like truth in sentencing. same thing for all the counties, cities, towns and villages increasing arrest rates and conviction rates. It also provides for the unbridled expansion of existing prisons — new x-building dormitories, new segregation units, new program facilities, as well as the conversion of existing buildings into prisons. the appropriations statutes do even more than this. and what is even more surprising is that congress is providing all this for a system that has more than proven itself not to work.
One reason is obvious when focusing on the bigger picture; the prison industry is providing a service and very necessary function for congress. they pay big for the states to create more laws, essentially creating crimes where there were none before. these laws even target younger groups of people — truancy laws for school children which allow school officials to refer kids to prosecutors for tagging — and sweeps up all other sorts of people who are not really criminals. All these people are guilty of is not staying in the additional lines designated by the government. and no one is asking why congress would need to have this information on its ordinary citizens.
The "why" has to be kept in context with and attributed to the bottom line governmental political and global agenda, and the fact they realize that the American empire will fall in time. history has taught us that all empires are inherently unstable, mainly because they inspire enemies rather than allies, and people naturally seek to live free of their influence. But empires fall as they must when there is nothing greater to aspire to — examine Rome, Byzantium, the Ottomans, Japan, et al. Those in power need to know who will likely revolt, who has the capacity to organize and motivate, who can use weapons effectively, who has them, who has the resources and wherewithal to finance and sustain opposition. By creating more lines and boundaries the government can and will tag us all. They have to. and it is nothing personal — the empire only recognizes itself, and cannot care one iota about wasting massive mounts of humanity. It has nothing to do with "corrections" or crime, although that is the spin the government has the media put on it.
People need to at least be aware of what is coming at them. They need to educate themselves to the government's own statistics. even the back-door statistics are striking, if not alarming. the number of people released from state prisons each year has been steadily increasing because of the increase of those coming into the system for tagging. in 2007 the numbers will climb to nearly a million releases from prison alone. Moreover, there is an estimated 15 million individuals released annually from jails and other detention facilities in this country alone. The numbers are staggering and the process occurs each and every year. People are being tagged at an unprecedented rate, and as the world population increases so, too, must the government step up the process if they are going to stay on top of their game. no matter the senselessness, no matter the cost in fisc or humanity.
Even with the billions of dollars congress has allocated for the states to expand the tagging industry, there are huge financial problems being realized by each individual state. Those fiscal problems are met with shortsighted solutions at penny-pinching, many of which will make prison life much more intolerable. It is basically open season on prisoners these days. the media continues spinning a negative slant on everything remotely dealing with the notion of crime. Prisoners and their families have no constituency or political clout. Term-limited legislators looking for any chance to appear tough on crime have little to lose . Any idea to cut costs without closing prisons, no matter how insane, will get a hearing. Their purported solutions to the financial problems will all inevitably lead to harsher conditions of confinement. there will soon be massive cuts in wages, food, programs, treatment, health care, and other necessities. And that will inevitably lead to endangered health and safety for all concerned. prisons are destined to become some of the most dysfunctional and dangerous places on the planet — warehouses that evict most convicts unprepared for anything socially constructive or worthy. Responding responsibly to the above will take rare virtues in compassion, politics, common sense and courage.
The reason society has allowed the prison industrial complex to progress this far has been slowly conditioned into the collective psyche for decades. Most do not have a clue about the ever-growing tagging process and, sadly, most have been conditioned to accept it as necessary in the name of national security. But if people are going to fight a thing that is worth fighting they must go for the source of the problem instead of attempting to deal with the symptoms as they have been conditioned to do. The one thing which separates the makers of history and those whose histories are made for them is the power to alter their environments.—
the power of change, people need to educate and de-condition themselves, their children, friends and neighbors. There needs to be more homeschooling-educating people to what matters most in the world, becoming more self-sustaining, growing food and livestock, and becoming free-thinking people of substance with integrity enough to stand against the beast.
ron schilling #32219, oci

petition for a fair parole

We, the undersigned, propose and expect the following enumerated points to be duly considered and implemented as a matter of policy governing the Wisconsin Parole Commission:
••It is a fact that Wisconsin's prisons are being over-filled at an alarming and escalating rate because of the parole policies currently in place.
••It is & fact that prisons promote ill mental health, rage, further criminality, and create individuals who are infantilized for the- most part, and counterproductive and unable to make sensible decisions.
••It is a fact that we are all members of one human race, and that as a society we should be better concerned for one another in compassionate ways that promote healing and wholeness.
••It is a fact that the Department of Corrections manipulates statistics to achieve their own corporate agenda, by ousting parole chairpersons who appear to release too many prisoners — even when the true statistics show quite the contrary is true vis-a-vis the population increases.
••It is a fact that the media yields to the DOC corporate interest and uses the manipulated and inflated statistics to instill a mindset of fear in the public.
••It is a fact that public perception, misperception and sentiment control and influence the legislature and the parole commission policy.
••It is a fact that a truthful and honest assessment of current parole policy is only making things worse for prisons, prisoners, prisoner's families/ the communities from which they were taken and will one day return, and it further renders released prisoners unprepared and incapable of making healthy contributions to society.
••It is a fact that public and prison resources are being stretched to unprecedented limits forcing the stagnation of prisoners across the board, and that this ultimately leads to debilitation and other negative aspects that are counterproductive to the reasonable expectations of society.
••It is a fact that America has the highest incarceration rate of any land on this planet, despite the additional fact that Americans are no worse than any other people.
••It is a fact that the fastest growing segment of prison populations is women and even children, that this is occurring due to the corporate interests of the prison industrial complex, which is ultimately controlling the surplus population of the lower class.
••It is a fact that the norms of society demand the best corrective measures possible for changing and eliminating aberrant behavior.
••It is a fact that the changes espoused herein are the only rational and responsible things to do to correct the many problems caused by the malfunctioning parole apparatus.
••It is fact that it is morally reprehensible and counterproductive to both the individual and to the community at large to continue allowing the system to malfunction as it is.
••It is 3 fact that it is legally unjust and unintended as a matter of legal course to force prisoners, their families and the communities to suffer the consequences of such short-sited draconian parole policies which force prisoners to serve incredibly lengthy periods of time in excess of the intent of the sentencing court.

To all those genuinely concerned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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