Saturday, March 9, 2019

Parole , Pardon, Compassionate Release News Spring 2019


 Pardon /clemency application  and Board Coming.
Here are some tools:
     Lifers were regularly given pardons and clemencies  in the days before Tommy Thompson.
Here are the documents each governor had to supply to the legislature informing of the relief given. We obtained these documents from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau who were very helpful. These pre Walker pardons are important as they include many lifers and show that at that time common belief was that 25% is enough time for punishment.

Harlan Richards wrote a report on the records below and made this alert request in our newsletter:
   1) report on past pardons by H Richards:

   2)Clemency/Pardon In Wisconsin : Action Requested

     Wisconsin has a long history of granting clemency to imprisoned citizens to allow them to be released from prison early. Until the Mass Incarceration Movement hijacked our criminal justice system in the mid-1980s, imprisoned citizens were permitted to request commutation of sentence from the governor. Gov. Thompson created the "extraordinary circumstances" requirement for prisoners which has prevented anyone in prison from receiving clemency in the last 30 years. The standard is virtually impossible to meet.

     Gov. Evers is restarting the clemency process after Gov. Walker shut it down during his time in office. New forms are being created and it is crucial that the "extraordinary circumstances" requirement be abolished. Friends and family should be asked to write to the governor to oppose this requirement. Otherwise, imprisoned citizens will be barred from seeking clemency.

    If you want your name added to the list to receive the new clemency forms, write to:

Corissa Mosher, Asst. Director of Constituent Services/Office of Gov. Tony Evers/P. O. Box 7863/Madison, WI 53707 

Here are scanned documents with the LRB's comments:
  these are the documents submitted by Governors telling legislature of releases they granted
this from LRB senior Librarian, Pat Reichert, 
the reports you are looking for were published in the Senate journals, some of which are available online -- but only back to 1981. 

My colleague from the Wisconsin Historical Society Library sent me this information, in case you want to look at the original documents ; it should be the same information that was published in the journals.  The links are to UW catalog records:

urls executive clemencies 1970 to 1986

Attached is the executive clemency report from Gov. Knowles for Jan. 1969 to Jan. 1971 that the LRB has in its Wisconsin documents collection.  It is 9 pages and on legal size paper (8 ½ x 14”).  I also OCRed the file so you can perform a keyword search within the document (Ctrl-F).  OCR (optical character recognition) is not perfect and if the original is too faint or the paper is too crinkled it can’t recognize the text.

Gov. Lucey pardons from Jan. 1971 to Jan. 1973 as found in the 1973-74 Senate Journals (pages 174-179).  Lucky for me, the journals were smaller back then and I can fit two pages on one 8 ½ x 11” page.  This file is 13 pages long.

Gov. Lucey pardons from Jan. 1973 to Jan. 1975 as found in the 1975-76 Senate Journals (pages 378-409).  This file is 16 pages long.

Gov. Lucey pardons for 1975 as found in the 1975-76 Senate Journals (pages 2300-2315).  From this point on, the report covers calendar years.  This file is 8 pages long.

Gov. Lucey pardons for 1976 as found in the 1977-78 Senate Journals (pages 150-159).  This file is 5 pages long.

Gov. Lucey and Acting Gov. Schreiber pardons for 1977 as found in the 1977-78 Senate Journals (pages 1520-1537).  This file is 9 pages long.

Acting Gov. Schreiber pardons for 1978 as found in the 1979-80 Senate Journals (pages10-19).  This file is 5 pages long.

Gov. Dreyfus pardons for 1979 as found in the 1978-80 Senate Journals (pages 1094-1097).  This file is 2 pages long.

Gov. Dreyfus pardons for 1980 as found in the 1981-82 Senate Journals (pages 140-147).  This file is 4 pages long.

And for good measure, I scanned the 1981 report from Gov. Dreyfus (1981-82 Senate Journals, pages 2046-2053); 4 pages long.

It looks like WHS Archives does have the pardons from the Secretary of State’s office: (“Record includes copies of executive orders to directors of penal institutions listing terms of pardon, name of institution, parolee, and director, court of conviction, length of term, crime, and signatures of the Governor and the Secretary of State. No records exist for 1948-1955.”) 
There is also a catalog record for “Pardon papers” that includes 1970-1976: This record has a finding aid. The record also notes that there are some restrictions because of confidentiality.
Your patron can contact the archives to find the materials and get help accessing them:
Pat Reichert
Senior Legislative Librarian
Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau

Compassionate Release
For Old Law Prisoners, those convicted before 2000, there are three paths for release that are becoming unblocked. We are slowly seeing the disaster our punishment forever ethic has wreaked on our communities and budgets and souls. Recently a very ill and elderly prisoner in TCI got paroled on her second compassionate release try- Nancy Ezell Congratulations! This is the first sign of a new vision for up till now compassionate release was not recognized for Old Law Prisoners:.
        1)Here is link to Executive Order 31, Compassionate Release for old law prisoners.

there are two important facets here:
            a) it is the parole chairman who decides on release, the warden only figures parole eligibility ( OL prisoners are eligible after serving 25% of their original sentence)
                  b)You do not have to be dying to get this- extraordinary circumstances are defined here:
."Extraordinary circumstances" means advanced age, infirmity or dIsability of the Inmate, need for treatment or services not available within the correctional Institution, a sentence to a term of Imprisonment that is substantially disparate from the sentence usually imposed for a particular offence, or other  circumstances warranting an early release which are made known to the sentencing court pursuant to section PAC 105 (1) (a), Wis. Adm Code

       2) LAIP will help old law prisoners prepare their Compassionate release applications . You must go to them and ask for help, either by filling out their application which is supposed to be available in your law Library, OR write them directly with your request: LAIP c/o Frank Remington Center. UW Law School; 975 Bascom Mall, Madison WI 53706.


the “13 questions 

        There is no pardon application yet, no pardon board and no parole chairman. FFUP has been getting hundreds of these “request for serious release consideration” forms and I apologize for the confusion- these are not applications. It was suggested by a member of Evers transition team that I make up a list of “low hanging fruit” so our new governor would see an overview of people ready for release and the obvious fact that these people are not dangerous.  I sent the questions it to a few litigators hoping to update the logs FFUP has and they spread like the proverbial wild fire- a testament to the effectiveness of the grape vine in there when what is passed around is wanted.

       With this wealth of information and combined with the cases FFUP has put online over the years , we will end up with quite a tour of prisoners wrongly held in the WIDOC. I am getting some typing help from IWOC and am getting them up online in a way they can be effectively viewed- IF you have family members who like to mess with websites or are interested in help me get this to work- send them to me- feedback and ideas needed also needed.  They will eventually all be linked here in a way where individuals can be found as well as categories of release need- it may be a good educational tool and force for sanity. 

    Everyone who sent in the form or wrote me requesting it ,will go in a list to Governor Evers and they have links to the second chance blogs and will be repeatedly reminded to view them.

    But actually changing the guideline and /or rules that govern Parole is , I believe , the surest way to ensure that those who are ready for release can be release. And this can be done without drama-. A parole chairman WILL be appointed and we will resubmitting  our parole rule petition right behind it. 
this form newsletter- letters needed in Support-

Parole and resubmitting our parole rule petition using statute 227
 This is ready to go remember it?  We submitted it to the WIDOC a few years ago to a lot of promises and fake action by the WIDOC. NOW may be the time. Either the Guidelines or the rules below would give Governor Evers a way to reinstate parole to the way it was before the infamous Tommy Thompson memo without political drama. It would ensure that those ready would be released while those too dangerous would have a chance at rehabilitation with a new WIDOC which will have a chance to reclaim its rehabilitation mission( population dramatically reduced) .This statute requires that the rules get a good review. The arguments for the new rules have been redone since first submission and the whole thing is about 22 pages and it will be     resubmitted as soon as there is a parole chairman to receive it. Letters in support are needed to go with it- see example at end of this section.                                                                                                                                                                         (8)

FINAL RULES PROPOSED in our Petition for Parole Rule changes using Statute 227
Here are the broad outlines of what we would like to achieve for

1) For inmates sentenced for crimes committed prior to December 3 1st, 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 prison before release. Yet unwritten rules today usually require it and overcrowded conditions leave many parole -ready inmates waiting years for the next transition. If timely transition to a lower level security prison is not possible, prisoner who can otherwise show himself ready for release shall be paroled without regard to the security level of the prison in which he resides. Likewise, working outside the prison before release, although laudable, is not a prerequisite for release as there are many times the applicants for these jobs than there are openings.
3) Also, 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 it 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 beforehand.

THE PROPOSED RULES ( stuff we added to existing rules is in bold)( sorry for the small font but space is precious and this IS readable)
Below is a Rewriting of PAC 106 (16) through (20) with proposed changes inserted                                                     
Here we have expanded and added details in order to fold the new rule proposals into the existing PAC rules
PAC 1.06(16) thru (20)
PAC 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 311t, 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 months.
PAC 1.06(16) (c) The inmate has demonstrated satisfactory adjustment to the institution.
PAC 1.06(16) (d) The inmate has not refused or neglected to perform required or assigned duties.
PAC 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 the community 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.
PAC 1.06(16)(f) The inmate has developed an adequate release plan.
PAC 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. Therefore:
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 the parole.                     (9)
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 and 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.                       (9)
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 documented cause.
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(1 r) (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 public.

We need more supporting letters to include with the petition. Please ask your families to help.
Example of a letter:
template: Name and address; BASICALLY- ask you family member to give a quick summary of your story- here is one example “I Support this parole rule change petition. I have had a loved one in prison for----- years. He has been eligible for parole since --- and each year that he goes in front of the parole commission he is given the same excuse, “has not served enough time for seriousness of crime.” He has completed every program required of him and meets all of the criteria for parole but he is given deferment after deferment which has begun to make him feel hopeless. There is no one that governs the parole commission which means that they are free to make up rules as they see fit. This is unfair and completely discriminatory. It is time for change. It is time for actual justice for these Old Law Prisoners. Out with the old and in with the new!”                                                                                
send letter or email to FFUP via Peg Swan; 29631 Wild Rose Drive, WI 53518. It will be included in the doc that goes to parole chairman and Governor.                                                                     


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