This blog is dedicated to securing safe the release of WI prisoners who are parole eligible, rehabilitated and ready to be good citizens. These are the "Old Law Prisoners". The existence of these 2800 plus prisoners and the waste of lives and taxpayers' money their continued incarceration causes is a closely held secret. We intend to help expose this debacle and help fix a broken parole system. Much here for good learning, Read on.
which the Parole Commission operates. Before Truth in
Sentencing (TIS) was enacted,
these rules were sufficient to allow for timely release of rehabilitated old
law prisoners. For inmates who were
convicted of crimes committed before 1999, the mandated portion of their sentence was 25%
or 13 V2 years for those given life sentences. (WI Statutes 304.06) After that mandated portion of their sentence, they were eligible for parole based on conduct while in prison and the normal procedure WAS release soon
after 25 % of their sentence was served.
This is no longer the case and in
this documents we will
supply the proofs and details of why these new
rules are needed. First, if you look at the
present PAC rules at right, you will notice few of the many
criteria listed give any factors that can be measured objectively. It is the vague and subjective
nature of the present rules we intend to address.
Here are two of the worst examples:
Pac 1.06 (16) (b) The
inmate has served sufficient time so that release would not depreciate
the seriousness of the offense. (what IS sufficient time?)
PAC 1. 06(1 6) (h) The inmate has reached a
point at which the commission concludes that
release would not pose an unreasonable risk
to the public and would be in the interests
ofjustice. (Completely subjective)
•PAC 1.06(16) (16) A recommendation for a parole
release to extended supervision order may
be made after consideration of all the following criteria:
1.06(1 6) (a) (a) The inmate has become parole
or release to extended supervision eligible under
s. 304.06, Stats., ands. PAC 1.05.
•PAC 1. 06(16)(b) (b) The inmate has
time so that release would not depreciate the seriousness
of the offense.
•PAC 1. 06(16)(c) (c) The inmate has
adjustment to the institution.
06(1 6) (d) (d) The inmate has not refused or
to perform required or assigned duties.
1.06(16)(e) (e) The inmate has participated in
and has demonstrated sufficient efforts in required or
recommended programs which have been made available by demonstrating one of the following:
1.0606)(01. 1. The inmate has gained
benefit from programs.
PAC]. 0016)(e)2. 2. The inmate can complete
in the community witho ut presenting an undue risk.
•FAG 1.0606)(03. 3. The inmate has not been able to
gain entry into programming and release would not
present an undue risk
1. 06(1 6) (1) The inmate has developed an
•PA1.06(1 6) (g) (g) The inmate is subject to a
sentence of confinement in another state or is in
the United States illegally and may
•FAG 1. 06(16)(h)) The inmate has
reached a point at
Commissioner concludes that release would
not pose an unreasonable risk to the public and would be in the
PAC 1.06(17) (17) The commission shall provide an opportunity for a victim to provide direct input
and to attend the interview.
PAC]. 06(18) (18) The commission shall perm it
any office or person to submit a written statement for consideration in its decision-m aking process.
2) THE NATURE OF THE REQUESTED RULES
petitioners respectfully ask the Department of Corrections
to promulgate changes to PAC 106 that fulfill the intent
both of the
when statute 304.06 was passed regarding prisoners
before 1999, which we are calling "old Law Prisoners", and
of the judges when they sentenced these old law prisoners.
The general ideas of what we feel are necessary are listed
below. We will then expand them to
include the details that are needed so they fit into the present PAC rule.
Our aim here
is to bring in specific, measureable criteria that gives both the parole commission and the old law prisoners goals to aim
for. In addition, we feel that opening
up the hearing process to allow more testimony both for and against parole will make sure the more subjective criteria will
also be considered.
Here are the broad outlines of what we would like to
WISCONSIN'S OLD LAW INMATES
1)For inmates sentenced for crimes committed prior to
December 31st, 1999, the mandated 25% of their sentence
shall be considered sufficient time for punishment. Afterwards, release
on parole shall be granted, absent substantive extenuating circumstances, based
on conduct and accomplishments while incarcerated.
2)If parole is not granted, the Parole Board must
state in written detail the specific requirements an eligible inmate must meet to be
granted parole. This cannot contain a catch-all provision that might allow the
decision-maker to base his or her decision on a factor of which the inmate has
no control such as "insufficient time for punishment" or
"seriousness of the crime". Also, there is no statutory requirement that a prisoner be
transitioned to a minimum security Institution that he/she has a work release job or
must work outside the prison before release from prison. Yet unwritten rules often
require these steps and the chronic lack of space in lower security prisons,
lack ofjobs near the prisons and paucity of work release jobs leave many parole ready
inmates and their families waiting years for the next transition. We hope our new
rules make it clear that although these steps are laudable, they are not essential and the
lack of availability on the part of the prison system shall not be used to keep
the inmate from rejoining his or her community.
3)Availability of programs and prison overcrowding
cannot be a factor in determining release eligibility. The Department of Corrections
and Community Supervision shall provide parole eligible inmates access to the
programs/facilities necessary to complete the requirements for their parole release
within 90 days of denial of parole for reasons of programming. If this is not possible,
the prisoner will be allowed to complete the program in the community or the
requirement will be waived.
4)The Parole Board shall have the widest possible
view of the prisoner. In addition to allowing victims and victim advocates to testify
at the hearing, prisoners shall be able to invite family members and advocates. Also,
the prisoners shall be allowed to submit letters of recommendation by WIDOC staff and
WTDOC volunteers who have worked with him/her. Staff and community members
who are against the release shall be allowed to speak.
5)The decision whether to release an inmate shall be
made based on testimony at the hearing and documents in the prisoner's file only
and the prisoner shall be able to view and contest contents of his/her file
THE PROPOSED RULES
Here we have expanded and added details in
order to fold the new rule proposals into the existing PAC rules
Below is a Rewriting of PAC 106 (16) through
(20) with proposed changes inserted PAC 1.06(16) (16)
RECOMMENDATION FOR A PAROLE GRANT OR RELEASE TO EXTENDED SUPERVISION ORDER MAY BE MADE AFTER CONSIDERATION OF ALL THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
(NEW RULES IN BOLD PRINT)
1.06(16)(a) The inmate has become parole or release to extended supervision
eligible under s. 304.06,
Stats., and s. PAC 1.05.
PAC 1.06(16)(b) Once a prisoner has served the
statutorily imposed minimum amount of time necessary to become parole-eligible,
the Parole Commission shall recognize that the prisoner has served the
"sufficient time for punishment" portion of his/her sentence. ) For
inmates sentenced for crimes committed prior to December
31s, 1999, the mandated 25% of their sentence shall be
considered sufficient time for punishment, for those with life sentences, it is
13 /2 years. For prisoners sentenced pre-1981, parole eligibility for those
serving life sentences started at 11 yrs, 3
(c) The inmate has demonstrated satisfactory adjustment to the institution.
(d) The inmate has not refused or neglected to perform required or assigned
1.06(16)(e) The inmate has participated in and has demonstrated sufficient
efforts in required or recommended
programs which have been made available by demonstrating one of the following:
PAC 1.06(16)(e)(1) P.A.C.1.06 (16)(e) 1.1
Inmate has participated in required programs satisfactorily, OR
PAC 1.06(16)(e)(2.) The inmate can complete
programming in the community OR
PAC 1.06(16)(e)(3) The inmate has not been able
to gain entry into programming because
the program was not available at his
institution. In cases where the inmate is in administrative confinement, a non
punitive status, all efforts shall be made to see that programming required for
release is successfully taken. If the inmate requests such programming and a good
faith attempt to supply it is not made, this lack of programming shall not be used against
the inmate when deciding readiness for release.
PAC 1.06(16)(e)(4) Where such inmate chances to
obtain favorable parole is contingent upon his
completion or participation in such program or treatment, the Parole
Commission and Program Review Committee, shall work together
in securing an inmate a space in required programs and treatment, as
required by DOC 302.15 (4)(9) WI Adm. Code.
1.06(16)(f) The inmate has developed an adequate release plan.
1.06(16)(g) The inmate is subject to a sentence of confinement in another state
or is in the United States
illegally and may be deported.
PAC 1.06 (16)(h)Inmates who
committed their crimes before 1999 who were ordered by the judge to be deported upon
release, shall, if permission is given by the host country and the inmate, be deported to his or her
country of origin.
PAC 1.06(16)(i)In order to
assess whether or not release would pose an unreasonable risk to the public and
would be in the interest of justice , the Parole Commission
shall be afforded the widest possible view of the prisoner.
PAC 106(16)(i)(1) In addition to permitting victims and
victim advocates the opportunity to be heard at each hearing, the Parole
Commission shall permit interested parties to speak at parole hearings on
behalf of the prisoner. These interested parties may consist of family,
friends, members of the prisoner's support group, clergy, employers or other
advocates as well as prison staff who support release.
PAC 106(16)(i)(2) The Parole Commission shall also permit
two institutional staff and/or community members who voice opposition to
release to speak at the hearing. In addition, Correctional staff or any person
in the community will be allowed to submit written testimony in opposition to
PAC 106 (16)(i)(3) The commission may use the independently
scored findings of evidence-based-practice evaluations used initially to
identify essential program needs during the Assessment & Evaluation process
and subsequently used to evaluate current dangerousness to the community in
preparation for release. IF these test scores are used in the assessment,
copies of the questions, answers and test results shall be made available to
the prisoners before the parole hearing. He/she shall be able to comment on
test process and fairness.
PAC 106(16)0)All documents used in accessing whether to
release an inmate shall be made available to the prisoner.
PAC 1. 06 (19)If parole is not granted, the Parole
Commissioner must detail in writing, exactly what specific, achievable
requirements the prisoner needs to satisfy to become suitable for release.
These requirements cannot contain any highly subjective, catch-all provisions
that might allow a decision-maker to base his or her decision on immutable
factors over which neither the prisoner nor the Parole Commission has any
control such as "seriousness of the offense" or "unreasonable
risk to the community" without detailing exactly what achievable
requirements the prisoner needs to satisfy to become suitable for release. Any
such requirements shall then be endorsed for prompt implementation/action in
the written decision of the hearing in which they were made.
PAC 1.06 (20) Once the prisoner has been issued a deferment,
the Parole Commission shall not increase or repeat that deferment for any
reason other than the following:
• The prisoner's negative institution conduct based upon a
lawful finding of guilt made by Department of Corrections personnel authorized
by rule to make such findings;
• The prisoner's refusal to participate in essential
programming mandated by the court or • The negative removal of the prisoner
from such essential programming during the current deferment period for a well
PAC 1.06 (21)In every case, each Parole Commissioner shall
be required to maintain continuity in the decision making process by continuing
with the case plan set forth in any written decision which was made subsequent
to the implementation of these proposed rules.
IN addition we add this rule which honors the education
effort made by many old law prisoners. A similar provision was in the 1989-90
statutes (304.06(lr) (a) (2):
PAC 1.06 (22) a parole eligible prisoner who came into
prison without a high school diploma, GED or HSED, and has attained his HSED or
GED shall be paroled unless the prisoner has received a major provable behavior
conduct report within the last one year or if his current parole review that
indicates his or her release would post a significant risk to the public. Also
a prisoner who gained a college degree or completed a vocational course while
in prison shall be paroled if there is no provable evidence within the last one
year to show that his or her release would pose a significant risk to the