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.