Wednesday, November 6, 2013
P.O. Box 351
Waupun, WI 53963
My name is Tyrone Munson, and I am currently serving my first adult prison sentence of 290 years. I have only a juvenile record of disorderly conduct. I am now incarcerated for Sexual assault, kidnapping, and robbery.
After 15 years I have finally gathered the courage to put down on paper my raw thoughts and emotions. If you are moved in any direction please feel free to respond in honesty. I would like for you to be open as possible. In advance I would like to thank you.
also see: Tyrone Munson blog post one
Tyrone Munson blog post two
At this point in time of my life, out of sheer apathy I lacked the mental and emotional capacity to fully grasp the magnitude of just how much damage I've caused. The heartless boy described by my victims, Ms. Kate Bungi, Ms. Ruby Silvestrini, and Ms. Concette Clemente. Along with others (men not included) to paint a graphic picture of my terrorizing "only" women. When unfortunately my wrath was directed toward everyone outside of me, including my family.
I will not down play, minimize, or make any excuses for my actions. I accept the fullness of responsibility, and because of this I have become a greater man. Please bare with me as I unmask the events that lead up to this point in my life. I recall Ms. Clemente stating in the court room that I still would not admit that I committed these vicious acts against them. She was right, I could not admit it. It was also something else, I couldn't believe it either. The details were brutal, that at my hands these girls had to endure what possibly has been the worst day of their lives. I sexually assaulted, robbed, and kidnapped them.. How could I admit to myself let alone society that I stabbed a woman, beat another one? What person had I become to brutally beat a man, and fight others, all for the fun of it?
No one should ever have to endure the pain I inflicted on these human beings. No one should ever have to live in the terror I caused so many. I now see, in many ways I did commit murder. I killed their innocence, I took away their identity. I robbed them of their security, I humiliated them degraded them, disrespected them, without any remorse. In my conscious mind I now think to myself: What if this happened to my Mother? Or my Niece? Or my Daughter? How would I feel if someone did this to me? I would loath the very sight of them, I would feel less than a man. I would have a hard time trusting people. I would be very apprehensive, and cautious. I would hate them , I would cry and in deep confusion question God. In my response to this I would want whoever did this to me or my family to burn in hell. I to would want them to die in prison. It is my fault that they are struggling to cope. I have to live with what I've done. The manifestation of my actions no doubt has left a grave impact on not only my victims. But my family, and the community as a whole. I am now aware of the ripple effects that I've caused.
This startling revelation has challenged me in every facet of my life. Stripped, as I lay bare the emotions once covered up by the abuse I had to endure. Brought upon the callousness necessary to carry out these ungodly acts.
In the past I blamed drugs and alcohol. These however were not the primary culprits in my demise. Although it lowered my inhibitions, it also enhanced the already negative self-image I entertained. Drugs and alcohol set blaze the inferno I had burning on the inside of me. I was filled with rage from the constant blows of my self-esteem. I did not just wake up with this self destructive attitude. I did however have to face what I thought was facts. God did not make a man to act in the lowest form of human existence. But it happened,it happens even more than ever. So I questioned myself, why did these girls (at the time) have to suffer from my mental and emotional anguish? Then the revelation became clear to me, everybody suffered because I didn't know how to love myself. They suffered because I suffered, I affected society because I was infected. I didn't care about myself, so there was no way that I could care about anyone outside of me.
I remember wanting to die when I was 5 or 6 years old. Normal kids are having fun at this age. But I wanted to die, I was hiding in the closet of our upstairs room. Overcome with fear from my mother and my Brother's father fighting I wished that night that I could die. Little did I know a part of me did die. Little did I know this would jump start the anger I felt towards men. I love my Mother dearly, and although she tried desperately to instill morals and values in me. Her actions spoke louder than her words. She also tried to convey love that was taught to her, but this love would prove faulty in trying to raise 4 boys.
Don't get me wrong we had good times but the good times would soon be over-shadowed by the trauma of my Mother's drug use. I remember getting hit and was told to stop crying before I give you something to cry about. This in turn would stifle my emotions. This along with having to fend for myself in the ghetto pumped my undeveloped mind with venom. At any time in my childhood if I had the mental strength to deal with my emotions the course of my life would be drastically different. Do I blame my Mother? NO! I blame the vicious cycle perpetuated by the lies that plagued my community. Violence was the norm not only in my household but in the infested streets. It would be next to impossible to escape the malady surrounding me. The residue of my poor self-image began to saturate my feeble mind. The nightmares would become a reality. The voices of kids my age in my class telling me that I was an ugly missing tooth, black boy ripped my self confi¬dence into pieces. My three brothers (who all had the same father) would also validate my poor self-image.
I felt rejected, I felt alone, yet I stuffed it. All the mental and emotional abuse I stuffed it. Family members not wanting to take in my brother and I stuffed it. When my Mother would get into fights and I would call the police and they would not come, or they would come too late, I learned not to trust them. Getting bullied in school, I stuffed it. I stuffed the affects of my father dying, moving from place to place. Living in shelters, being judged by society’s standards of what is good enough, I stuffed it. I took every single blow, punch after punch, after punch. The last punch would no doubt make me fight back. When I obtain knowledge of my Mother's drug use. The only person who helplessly tried to keep it together couldn't any longer. Drugs took the one person I loved in my life away from me. I lost it, I lost every sense of control I had. I went from being at the top of my class to dropping out of school. How can you expect for me to be a child when circumstance forces me to grow up quick. All bets were off, the one thread (My Mother) trying to hold everything together snapped, so I snapped! At the age of 11, (although this was not my first time drinking alcohol) I consumed large amounts. Now I am no expert but the quantities of alcohol I was consuming surely outweighed the tolerance of an 11 year old. I gave into the darkness, playing rushing roulette with my already withering life. The overwhelming affects of drugs and alcohol begin to break down the defenses of my morale. I would have unprotected sex with countless women. I would have fights with three or four men at the same time. I would jump out of full speed moving cars. I even had one of my friends Mother come from the bar one night I was asleep, but this did not stop her from trying to unzip my pants. I told her to stop but she didn't, she told me to be quiet. My body would deceive me; I too was intoxicated and tried again to move her. She was much bigger than I was so it wasn't that easy. Because my body had deceived me I gave in. She was 33, and I was 16 years old.
I felt empty inside, the only thing I held on to was the anger and rage I had on the inside of me. Soon the powerful force of self-hatred would give birth to this vicious person displayed in my actions. I wanted out, I didn't want to feel the way I was feeling. I wanted help because I was tired, I was weak, powerless to overcome my demons. In the days of me robbing one woman, raping and brutally beating another, I released every¬thing. Everything I internalized, everything I held inside, from the age I felt betrayed up until it came all out. As tragic as it is, as vicious as it is, these girls were not suppose to be the target. No one was. How do you live with yourself? Sticking bottles in a woman's vagina, hitting her all while laughing. You would have to be sick individual to constantly beat her to the point of her saying "just kill me!" A juvenile would have to be far gone to express these types of behaviors. A person is not in their right mind to go throw with this. I shiver at the very thought of it. Once you become conscious there is no escaping this you don't just get over this. Because I have to face my Mother, I have to face my Daughter and the female friends I have. I have to face myself, I have to live with it.. and it hurts. I wish that I could take it back; I wish that I was strong enough to deal with my issues. I donut want them to hurt, I hate that I am the cause of someone else affliction. For as long as I live this will never sit right with me. I will never feel comfortable knowing that because of me people are suffering.
It has been my sincerest prayer that God help those who I have hurt. So that they don't be infected with the negative energy I generated. I pray that they don't become the hatred I gave to them, the anger I had, the low self-esteem. I plead with God that He restore the beauty I took from them. I struggle with the thought of ever getting out of prison. Do I deserve to get out for what I have done? And the answer is no, I don't deserve to get out of prison. This would be my thoughts hadn't I not taken the necessary steps that I have in becoming a better human being. If I still had a selfish disposition and a total disregard for human life. I wouldn't deserve to get out of prison, yet it still isn't that simple. Because there is an entertaining thought of, if I was to get out of prison what type of person would I be in society? The truth of the matter is that I wouldn't know until I get that opportunity. All I know is the man I am today, being in prison didn't make me bitter it actually made me better. It has given me a chance to confront myself. Iwas able to get the prison out by repetition. Challenging old thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with new ones. A constant theme plays on in my head. "Hurt people," "Hurt People!" Any pain not transformed is transferred The Bible teaches that Godly sorrow produces repentance (turning away) leading to salvation (freedom).
I repent, I was wrong, I was insensitive, young and impulsive. The boy that I was could not accept responsibility however the man that I am can. My words are not based on a hollow surface. I have really put in the work necessary. I have went into the depths of my heart, allowing God to soften every spot. I have taken every treatment offered to me. I attend any event that gives back to the victims, my motto is simply, "NO MORE VICTIMS!" I stand on this principle and I haven't displayed any anger violently in 15 years. I could not have come to this conclusion without being set free first. I was in a prison on the streets just like many are in today. I can’t change the past and if could have dealt with my issues differently than I did, I would have. My heart goes out to all the people that I hurt, and it is my sincerest prayer that at some point they are able to live a life of normalcy. I would like to be physically free one day and I know that my freedom would come at a high price. Just as I am today I have become an active member of help breaking the vicious cycle. By confronting lies, distortions, and toxic emotions. I counsel victims of abuse, I speak to young men, and children who are trapped with the same identity crisis I was once faced with.
I have studied Psychology for 2 years, I have finished school and will further my education. I am a motivational speaker. I have studied/applied Biblical principles to my everyday living. With all I've done the least that I can do is not stay the same. I think that will be the worst thing that I could do is not change. It is possible, I could stay the same. I could self medicate. I could make excuses; I could even drink self made alcohol. There is a way to escape, But God forbid how dare I run from a part of me. I had to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have put in the work but if it wasn't for my belief in God, and the revelations He gave me then yes I think I should stay in prison. The things I did to get me here didn't make me happy. I hurt people, just as I was hurting, I hurt others. The difference between you and I is that at the lowest period of your life you didn't lash out. Or maybe you did but these destructive behaviors did not start when I was an adult. It started when I was at the Impressionable stages of my life. When my brain chemistry was not yet solids I will not take from what happened 15 years ago. But what now? From the age of 10 to 17 years old I had to endure what I thought to be pure hell.
The way I was living was not living at all. So truth be told I never really had a chance to live outside of my oppression. What's the use for punishment when there is no real chance for rehabilitation? Should I stay in prison for the rest of my life? For what? For what I've done? If you believe so why? Why should I stay in physical prison when I am no longer in a mental prison? Or emotional prison, when substance abuse is no longer a factor. I don't want to get out just to be in the way. I want to put in hard work, I want to prove my worth. When you are conscious you come to understand that life is not about you. I messed up big time and society knows this. Should I get a chance to be a major contribution for awareness? Everyone deserves a second chance don't you think? When you become conscious it's about retribution, giving back. I want to serve, I want to be on the front lines advocating against sexual abuse, and violence. Substance abuse, childhood traumas and learning acceptance. True justice is not locking me up and throwing away the key. This translate that I am no good, that I can’t be used for something. I agree with getting prison time. I agree with having to pay restitution, I just don't agree with 290 years. This sentence doesn't reflect the hard work I put in to become a better man A better Son, a good Brother, an awesome Father, and a trusted friend. This doesn't fit the hard work I am willing to put in for not only those whom I affected but those who continues to be affected. I sincerely apologize for all of the hurt that I've caused. I'm sorry to all of my victims. To my Mother, to my Daughter, to my Brothers and-also to my Niece's and Nephew's. To the community I apologize as well. Thank you for listening.
also see: Tyrone Munson blog post one
Tyrone Munson blog post two
Friday, July 26, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013
Thursday, July 19, 2012
|James Earl Jackson and his Dughter 2012, now 20|
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I have a question. What constitutes an 'adult offense' v. a juvenile offense? I ask because here I sit, in prison, for a crime I committed at 16. I do not believe that there should be NO consequences for my actions. I agree, I was wrong. Nonetheless, it's the length and rationale with which I have the disagreement with. How can a person be told that at 16 yrs. old, once he/she has done a certain behavior, they are subject to the 'adult' standard of consequences, Where's the logic in all of this? The Supreme Court ruled in its Roper decision that a juvenile cannot be sentenced to the death penalty because they are not capable of making a fully informed decision. That the adolescent doesn't have the full use of the brain's ability to make a decision on the long term consequences (whether good or bad) because the pre-frontal cortex hasn't reached it's fully developed stage. This is science telling people this and the Court agreed. Include the other choices that are reserved for a person who is 'of age'. Not until a person is 18 can they purchase any tobacco products, vote, live on their own, buy alcohol (even that age was upped l8 to 21 because of the ability to make an informed decision), cannot graduate from high school nor complete the GED/HSED testing. A teenager must acquire a work permit before they can get a job even! But let that same adolescent/juvenile commit a crime that's been determined to be an adult offense and they're automatically waived into the criminal courts. The adult court. Where's the logic?! Who determined this? Is that a fundamentally sound decision? So, this juvenile is instantaneously considered an adult and stuck into a legal system that everyone else has gone to school for- they've all completed high school and have spent another 3-6 years in college afterwards. On top of that they've had other courtroom experience, and said juvenile is to aid the appointed advocate (he/she cannot afford an attorney. He/She doesn't work)in putting forth a viable defense, Really? All of that from a teenager who, by an action alone, is assumed to be cognizant? This is what is acceptable? "Oh, sure, that young person is getting what's best." What about the evolving standard of decency? In a country revered for its fairness and justice, this hardly seems to bolster that dogma. One of two countries in the world who sentence a juvenile to such a lengthy term (Life) and yet this is overlooked. The other is considered a third world country. The USA and Somalia. Love that patriotism... It just feels like a second wrong is being done here. It's not because I feel sorry for myself and this isn't to be taken as a boo-hoo. I don't EVER forget what it is that I did. It's fact and it is my burden. My gripe is the fact I continue to see others similarly situated who come into prison at a young age and become warehoused. There is no designed or special treatment given to a juvenile coming into the adult prison system. You get here and you sit down. No shrink comes to visit you. Except for the one that is customary during your arrival at Dodge for the Assessment and Evaluation phase. And that's to determine if you're a security threat. After that, there is no on-going mental evaluation. The person is an adult now, thanks to the predetermination based on the age at the time of an action. It's ridiculous. Anybody can have psittacistic behavior as to what is fed to person in school, but can that alone be equated to being "fully informed"? That's enough for "automatic waiver"? I'm coming up on 30yrs. old and have been really thinking about this for some time now. What is really taken into account on the part of the p s e u d o - a d u 1 t ? A Life sentence? Yet a drunk driver is given leeway because they're impaired. How many times do you see a drunk driver charged with First degree Intentional Homicide and receive a prison term equatable to that of what a pseudo-adult has been given. Let's keep in mind that a great majority of those convicted for a drunk driving offense resulting in a death are ADULTS!. And they've seen countless commercials informing said persons of the dangers. I don't know guys...pseudo-adults v. legitimate adults.... Cogitative processes... um..ouch. A dope dealer can sell to someone KNOWING that drugs can and do kill but, when a person dies as a result of the drug, and the dealer is identified, how likely is the dealer to receive a sentence like that which the pseudo-adult received? Fairness in full effect. So, who asks for a change? Who wants an overhaul? Or, at least, at least, a long and "fully informed" second look at the issue? This is okay to continue? What other options can be put forth? Who’s willing to say something other than myself in a 'social diatribe'? I am not asking just on my behalf but for all us who 're stuck with little recourse and otherwise stymied.
A voice with maturation,
Joseph Orosco 335933
Waupun Corr. Inst.
Waupun, WI 53963
Monday, January 24, 2011
In this blog we will introduce and discuss a proposed program developed by two prisoners who have been incarcerated since they were children. It asks us to not only acknowledge that youthful offenders can and do change but to support their attempt at a second chance at life as a result of the significant changes they've made. Due to the fact that the majority of youthful offenders profiled here never had the opportunity to experience life before getting incarcerated for LIFE, it's safe to say that Second Chance For For Juvenile Offenders is advocating a second, first time at life for these now adult men and women. Men and women who are no longer the violent, self-destructive, misguided, youth they once were. Although the number of cases where a juvenile is sentenced to life without parole in Wisconsin are low, the number of those sentenced to life with parole are high. However, many of them aren't eligible to see the parole board for 20, 30, or 45 years or more. That's essentially life without parole. In 1989 judges were given the ability to set parole dates. What they failed to consider was the fact that people do change, especially children who are less culpable than the adults they were sentenced as.
We ask you to read the proposal and the profiles of the prisoners we have here. There will be more profiles and essays coming. We hope to encourage what is becoming a national discussion. As I put this blog together, the fate of juvenile offenders waived into adult courts is being discussed in the U.S. Supreme Court. Please read these young men/women's writings and you will agree that there has to be a time when we say enough !
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Above: Andrae at time of arrest, Andrae now
Andrae Bridges #248420
PO Box 200
Fox Lake, WI 53933-0200
- Why we tend to throw our lives away; a worse case scenario -
- -' I knew of a little boy who suffered severe abuse at the hands of his mother. Such abuse consisted of verbal put-downs and insults, tons of head games and life threatening physical attacks. This young boy loved his mother dearly and practically worshipped the ground she walked on. If only I could get her attention without being beaten all would be all right, he thought. As a result, by the age of eight this young boy could cook, clean, sew, shop and do just about everything else within the guidelines of properly running a household. For he was obsessed with impressing his mother in the hopes that he would in turn receive the love he so freely gave.
Just when he thought he saw signs that his mother loved him, they were soon erased by her abuse. For he couldn't understand why he was constantly being subjected to such awful brutality. And it could have been for the smallest reasons; like forgetting to tie his shoe or losing the door key. He also got beat for the things his three younger siblings did, or didn't do. If that meant getting a black eye then so be it. He didn't want his brothers to go through what he was going through so he felt obligated to protect them and thereby took the blame for everything.
Aside from what this young boy underwent at home he was a high achiever who made the honor roll on a consistent basis and thereby loved school. Bright and intelligent beyond his years was this young boy. Unfortunately he had a few problems with his behavior. Teachers termed it hyperactive disorder but it was nothing more than this young boy's desire for attention manifesting itself. He was a class clown who really didn't take anything seriously. This resulted in classroom disruptions. Which ultimately led to some of the worse physical punishments any child should have to endure. Yet and still this boy protected his mother, for she could do no wrong! Besides, who would believe him?!
One incident in particular his mother beat him for what seemed like hours. Only to beat him more because he would not cry. This left the boy with two black eyes and a badly bruised body. Upon attending school the next day teachers saw this. Being concerned, they asked the boy, "What happened to you?" Without coaching from his mother, the boy simply stated, "I fell from the pear tree I was raiding." Although the teachers knew better, they accepted his story. Again, in his mind, Momma could do no wrong.
As time went on, so did the abuse. This young boy started to realize that there was no real way of escaping his mother. Often times he fantasized about running away, killing her, or simply killing himself, but he couldn't find the courage to do either. Along came an older friend. Someone he could consider a big brother, and someone he could put the blame on in the hopes of being spared a beating from time to time. God had looked upon him. For his plan seemed to work. But at what cost?
Simply put, at the cost of sexual abuse. Yeap! The someone he considered a friend and loved like a brother was sexually molesting this young boy. Thankfully that was short-lived (3 years) but the damage was done. All he had to contend with now was the abuse his mother had to offer.
As the young boy matured into a young man, so did the abuse at the hands of his mother. It was apparent that every time she attacked him, it was in the hopes of killing him. Not only had his mother broken several of his ribs but she chipped teeth and broke his jaw with an iron. That wasn't the worst part. Upon breaking his jaw, she refused to take him to the hospital until
several hours and a whole lot of swelling later. Staff at the hospital called the law because signs of child abuse were apparent. The boy wanted so bad to tell of the things he had not only been through but was going through as well. But he refused to make his mother look bad, even at the expense of his own safety.
Due to the fact that the young man's mother became a drug addict it was either prepare for a beat down because she didn't have and/or couldn't afford any drugs or make her "happy" by going to get some. As awful as it made him feel, the boy took it upon himself to purchase dope for her. For he still yearned for his mother's attention and affection. In addition to that, he was tired of suffering. All of that ultimately led to the young man using and selling drugs himself. For he could not only take care of the house, his little brothers and himself, but he could use his dope as a means to get his mother to let him hang out.
When the young man hung out, he practically stayed out. A beating was always in store but the little freedom he attained was well worth it. Besides, his friends showed him love and seemed to care, unlike his mother. Therefore in order to keep their love and attention he felt he needed to impress them; and impress them he did. School was no longer a priority, money didn't matter and neither did the opposite sex. In fact, he had a certain dislike toward females but he pretended to like them for the sole purpose of getting what he wanted, be it sex or money.
See, it was all about his gang. The one avenue he used as a means to "act out" his deep seeded anger and self-hatred. Therefore, when it came to gang-banging, he banged with the best. As a result he was considered crazy by his peers for the stunts he'd pull during shoot-outs or in general. To be considered crazy was to be looked upon as "not to be fucked with!" But the boy had an ugly secret. He never really intended to hurt anyone while letting his anger and rage free. NOPE! That was not the case. He just wanted to die. So upon acting out he hoped and prayed he'd one day receive the short end of the stick, as did many of those around him. That would be the ultimate escape from the abuse at the hands of his mother.
One frightful morning the young man unexpectingly got his wish. For he died a quick,, painless death at the hands of those who could have helped him had he "chose" to be helped!
- The End -
"How" did this young man die and who killed him?
Without even knowing your answers I'm willing to bet they're wrong. Good! But wrong! You see, that young man is NOT dead at all. Not in the physical sense at least; which is exactly what you all may have concluded. "For he was killed by the Justice System." Whereupon at the age of sixteen he received a life sentence for First Degree Intentional Homicide-P.T.A.C. this in turn left him "institutionally dead!"
Andrae L. Bridges would be that young man and this is my story. I've been incarcerated for nearly eleven years and I have a lifetime to go. Although I've written about my life, this isn't about me at all. Better yet, it's about YOU! It is through my story I hope you all realize just how precious life is before you throw it away, as I did my own. Sure, you may have been abused as I was, or perhaps worse; you may still be getting abused which leaves you feeling worthless. Thus suffering from low self-esteem, depression, etc., etc., all together making you very angry! You're not alone! But trust me, nothing or no one is worthy of you throwing away your opportunity to live a positive and productive life! Love yourself enough to get help; You do have a choice! I don't intend to make anyone feel sorry for me, nor do I make excuses for my childhood behavior. My only goal now is to educate; in the hopes that you will not end up like me!
My name is Roy Rogers, I'm 32 years old. When I was 16 years old I was sentenced to life in prison for first degree intentional homicide party to a crime.
However, these facts alone, the mere possibility of danger excited me; I was seeking a new experience.
How did these choices affect my family relationships? Well, I began to spend more of my free time with the guys on the block, wherever they were, I was expected to be there as well. Family events and activities took third place in my life, the "hood came first." Hood values took the place of my family values. I started lying to my family about where I was going and who I was with because I knew my family would strongly disapprove of my new friends and our brand of fun. I would hide things from my love ones specifically my secret lifestyle of thuggin’.
Also,I broke household rules moms laid out for me. Rules like, the established curfew, no drugs, smoking or drinking in the house. I neglected my house duties and my attitudes towards moms and her rules were negative which showed in my behavior.
How did these choices affect my friendships? The friends that I normally made time for and spent time with, took a back seat in my life. Why? Well, I felt they were boring and wasn't "on nothin," they were square. My new friends and old friends were from two different worlds and these two worlds didn't mix. I no longer shared the same interests as my old friends. My interests were now informed by the streets and my new set of friends. Having nothing in common with my old friends, we soon grew apart. They went their way and I continued to go my way. The things I was getting involved with they wanted nothing to do with.
And school? Well, as I said I did enjoy school; I valued education because this is how I was raised. When I began to rotate on the block more, I would skip school just to hang out with them. First, it would be just one class I would skip, then it would be the whole afternoon, then I would skip whole days! Kickin it, so I thought. My school attendance dropped, my grades dropped, my enthusiasm for school dropped. When I did go to school I was always tardy.
Where did all this lead to? Well, before I made the choice to see what them streets had to offer me, I was a kid who loved school, received good grades, didn't use drugs or alcohol, didn't smoke, never skipped school, no police contacts, no criminal record and involved in the church. I had big dreams and ambitions of graduating from college, owning my own business, raising a family and even pursuing a political career.
Sadly to say, the choice I made to sample the streets were connected to consequences that didn't lead me down a course of academic achievement, entrepreneur-ship, family building and political success. Instead, the choice I made at the age of 13 gave birth to a lifestyle. A style of
living that destroyed life and diminished the quality of life. Three years later found myself sitting in prison with a life sentence. That's what I became.
While in prison it took me a few years to actually come to grips with my new reality. I was depressed and didn't know I was depressed. I was traumatized and didn't know it was trauma. I recall during my waiver hearing that a social worker testified about me and said, " I think Roy hates himself." I went thru a period of self-loathing where I had given up on life and family, I embraced suffering and kept it within myself. Any wrong that occurred and any miscarriage of justice I experienced I felt it was part of my redemptive suffering. My communication with the outside world diminished.
I struggled with the question of why bother to better self, to what end and for what purpose and does it even matter. I was becoming a pessimist without knowing what pessimism was!
This is what characterized my years between 16-20. All these things played itself out in the context of the prison violence around me. Turing this time Jesse Anderson and Jeffrey Dahmer were murdered.
However, I came to an understanding of the forgiveness of God and the sacrifice of Jesus for sins and what it really meant to confess my sin. I faced the ugliness of my deeds, looked the monster in the eye and took ownership of it and buried it. I realized I was much much better than the worst I had done. I realized I had to go beyond remorse to repentance. My thinking and attitudes had to change and in turn my life, personality and character would change. I realized that I was obligated to live life. Live my life in light of my crime not in the shadow of my crime.
Consequently, I began to engage life intensively. I began to study and educate myself any and everything to better myself. I engrossed myself in the pursuit of God. Three things saved my life in prison. Jesus, the Reach Out Program and Restorative Justice at CCI. My conversion set in motion what I would eventually achieve and accomplish. The reach out program was juvenile delinquency prevention program that targeted at risk youth to keep them from making the same mistakes we made. I was recruited for that group at the age of 16, talking to kids my age and younger about my life, mistakes and regrets. I grew up in that group. Hearing the stories of the other convicts in that group helped me just as much as it helped the kids who were attending the program. That was from 1994 till 2002.
In 1999, I was introduced to the philosophy of Restorative Justice by Warden Jeffrey P. Endicott. This gave me a frame of reference to explore victim awareness issues and the triangular impact of my crime on the victim, the community and the offender. This philosophy gave me the tools needed to do my part to live out restorative justice by involving myself in community service projects, victim awareness programming; writing music and songs that deal with victim awareness themes. From that point on I tried to measure all my activities by the standard of repairing the hurt because I acknowledged the hurt my crime caused.
These three life savers drove me to express myself as a musician and songwriter. I learned to play piano in prison. At CCI, GBCI and OSCI I operated as the chapel's choir director and chief musician. I'm currently the keyboard player here at SCI. At these prisons I have provided musical services for graduations, veterans' programs, victim awareness programs, volunteer banquet programs and memorial services for fellow deceased inmates. This is who I am.
To: Interested Parties
By: Roy Rogers 1273696 & Andrae L. Bridges #248420
Re: Redemptive Re-Entry Program (Revised 12/09)
This is a proposal for a program entitled Redemptive Re-Entry for juvenile offenders who were waived into adult court between the years 1988-1999, were charged with and convicted of Class A felonies, sentenced to a term of life in prison, with or without parole, and have served a substantial amount of time thus far, ten (10) years or more.
The purpose of this program is twofold as it was initially intended to facilitate the re-entry of offenders who committed crimes as juveniles back into the community. However, the lengthy sentences of said offenders remove any and in some cases, all chances of them ever re-entering the community. Therefore, we have decided that the first and most important purpose of this program is and should be to shorten the lengthy sentences of said juvenile offenders. Which would then give them a realistic opportunity to work towards re-entering the community. It should be noted that this program is aimed at shortening long juvenile sentences ONLY in cases where the offender has shown significant rehabilitation.
II. PROGRAM TARGETS
This program has been designed to target offenders like the authors of this proposal who:
A. Were waived into adult court between the years 1988-1999.
B. Were charged with and convicted of a Class A felony.
C. Were sentenced to a term of life in prison, with or without the possibility of parole. (In 1992 Andrae L. Bridges was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole until the year 2037. In 1993 Roy Rogers was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole until the year 2020.)
D. Entered an adult correctional institution as a child.
E. Grew up and matured in prison.
F. Have served ten (10) years or more.
G. Have received their HSED/GED's while incarcerated. •
H. Have learned a vocational trade while incarcerated.
I. Have completed both mandatory and non-mandatory programs like AODA, CGIP, Anger Management, Responsible Thinking, etc.
J. Have invested a substantial amount of time in juvenile crime
prevention programs which target at-risk youth/ etc.
K. Have invested a substantial amount of time in/with Victim Awareness, Community Service, and Restorative Justice projects, etc.
L. Have demonstrated positive change through consistent and positive institution adjustment.
M. Have maintained prison employment with good evaluations from employers throughout.
N. Have received tutor certification from Literary Volunteers of America.
O. Who have not only used their time wisely but have matured mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and now truly understand the err in their thinking, and past violent and self-destructive ways.
P. Have taken an active role in bettering their lives by fully cooperating with the rehabilitation process and have thereby allowed their time served thus far to work for them as opposed to against them.
And this program will also target offenders who/ under the normal structure of their sentence will:
A. Never get out of prison. •
B. Eventually get out but at an age where they will be unable to gain and maintain meaningful employment, be independent and self-sufficient, and effect change within the community.
C. Only be released by discretionary action of the parole commission.
III. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
This program will serve the objectives of:
A. Bringing real meaning to the term Earned Release by giving offenders who committed crimes as juveniles the opportunity to have their sentences reduced as a result of demonstrating their rehabilitative efforts. Thereby proving that one time juvenile offenders such as the authors of this proposal can be rehabilitated without having to spend the majority of their life in prison.
B. Giving one time juvenile offenders the opportunity to;
1. Be valuable assets to the community.
2. Live out the rest of their life as productive and constructive members of society. -
3. Use the skills they've learned to prevent others from making the same mistakes as they once did; namely at-risk youth.
C. Easing overcrowding in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the cost of incarceration.
D. Affirming the Restorative Justice philosophy by connecting the
offender with the community by which they can begin to earn the community’s trust through community service projects of all kinds.
E.Supporting the idealism of Juvenile Justice Reform and the fact that the person you are at the age of fifteen (15) or sixteen (16) is not the person you are at the age twenty-five (25)/ thirty (30), or thirty-five (35) so why must one continue to be punished as such? Hence, if only I knew then what I know now! An excerpt from an article entitled Juvenile Injustice? by Jacquelin Sutton in the Isthmus dated March 7/ 2008 reads as follows:
What the public thinks
A national survey revealed the following attitudes toward juvenile justice reform:
.89% of those surveyed agreed that "almost all youth who commit crimes have the potential to change," and more than seven out of 10 agreed that "incarcerating youth offenders without rehabilitation is the same as giving up on them."
. The public supports providing counseling, education and job training programs to youth offenders. Eight out of 10 favor relocating state government money from incarceration to programs that seek to help young people become productive citizens.
. Treatment and services are widely seen as more effective than locking people up. Less than 15% of those surveyed thought incarceration was a "very effective" way to rehabilitate youth.
. More than three-quarters of the public favors keeping non-violent youth in small facilities in their own communities; six in 10 favor community supervision for nonviolent youth.
. The public believes the juvenile justice system treats low-income/ African American and Hispanic youth unfairly. Almost two-thirds of respondents said poor youth receive worse treatment than middle-class youth who get arrested for the same offense.
SOURCE: THE MACARTHUR FOUNDATION "THE POTENTIAL FOR CHANGE: PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND POLICY REFERENCES FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEMS REFORM."
IV. GENERAL PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS
Although the Redemptive Re-Entry Program can be formatted in many different ways, we have come up with three. These three range from the very simple, void any further programming or group participation; to the very
Complex, which will consist of an assortment of groups and programs. Upon completing one of the three programs described here, the offender will receive a Special Sentence Modification.
A. Special Sentence Modification - A Special Sentence Modification will be just that. Given the fact that this program pertains to one time juvenile offenders who were sentenced to life with either no parole or no parole until the offender has reached an old age, the Special Sentence Modification will change that. In other words, the offender who once had life without parole would receive a reasonable parole date. While the offender who once had life without parole until he has reached an old age will receive a parole date for well before he reaches an old age. ONLY- in cases where the offender has shown significant rehabilitation. These modifications are to be determined by the RRPRC (See: Section V) and other governing bodies. Taking into consideration all relevant factors such as:
1. Offense • \ .
3. Time served
4. Program completion
5. Institution adjustment, etc.
6. Initial A & E program recommendations
7. Pre-Sentence Investigation report
Upon receiving a Special Sentence Modification one of the following custody reductions should be granted so the offender might go on to work towards receiving a Special Parole Grant:
1. Minimum Security/Work Release
2. Halfway House/Work Release
B. Special Parole Grant - One automatically becomes eligible to receive a Special Parole Grant after receiving a Special Sentence Modification simply because with a favorable sentence modification, release should become attainable, thus inevitable. However, while in minimum security and/or on work release one will have to work towards actually receiving the Special Parole Grant. Such work should consist of further programming prescribed by the RRPRC. Perhaps programming similar to the current pre-release curriculum will be sufficient. A Special Parole Grant will simply allow the offender to be released on parole after being reviewed by the parole board; not to be mistaken with the RRPRC.
C. First Program Format - The first and simplest program format for the Redemptive Re-Entry Program does not consist of any further program requirements as the selected participants will have already completed all of their required program needs and some. This does not, however, include pre-release programs. Therefore, the RRPRC will go on to determine whether or not he should receive a Special
Sentence Modification. With that, everything listed under section IV:A & B. This simple review can be conducted at any facility.
D. Second Program Format - The second format is a group type similar to that of CGIP Phases I and II, Anger Management/ or Restorative Justice which can be conducted at any facility. The length of this particular program format would be 4-6 months. The subject matters and overall time frame could change depending upon the needs of the participants. For example, the RRPRC might want to see an individual complete Restorative Justice and re-take Anger Management before determining whether or not he should receive a Special Sentence Modification. In the event of an individual being required to take a specific program(s), it is expected that he will be sent to the facility that offers said program(s). Successful completion results in a Special Sentence Modification and everything listed under section IV:A & B.
E. Third Program Format - The third and final format considered for the Redemptive Re-Entry Program is the lengthiest and most intense when compared to the First and Second Program Formats. Format three is one that should be a unit based program that further motivates participants to minimize their risk of offending by challenging and changing the beliefs and thoughts that support their criminal behaviors and allow them to continue learning, developing, and practicing new skills in order to live a more pro-social life.
The unit should be designed to provide an environment within a medium-security institution to support the delivery of CGIP Phases I-IV, Vocational Training, Tutor Training, Restorative Justice, and other treatment programs. The unit should exist as an alternative community within the institution that helps to isolate the offenders from the anti-social prison subculture. The unit should also encourage involvement in pro-social activities such as support groups and community service. Program length should be 18-36 months. Upon successfully completing the programs on the unit the offender should be granted a Special Sentence Modification and everything listed under section IV:A & B.
Y. REDEMPTIVE RE-ENTRY PROGRAM REVIEW COMMITTEE (RRPRC)
The Redemptive Re-Entry Program Review Committee (RRPRC) should be made up of a group of prison administrators similar to the already established Program Review Committee, with the exception of a judge and/or parole agent being available as sentence modifications and parole grants are at stake. Note; the RRPRC is not to be mistaken with the parole board as it is not the goal of this program to take over the general role of the parole commission. The RRPRC should and must be created to:
A. Investigate and collect data on the offenders who were waived into adult court between the years 1988-1999, convicted of Class A felonies/ and sentenced to life/ with or without parole.
B. Select the appropriate programs Redemptive Re-Entry Program participants will be required to take and successfully complete, if any/ as many of us have already received our HSED/GED's/ Vocational Training/ and other programs such as CGIP, Tutor Training, Restorative Justice, etc. (See: Institution Resumes)
C. Develop a criteria of eligibility for this program; accepting input from prison staff, offenders, law officials, and the community as a whole. This criteria should take offense, sentence, time served, program completion, institution adjustment, etc. into consideration.
D. Review and recommend suitable participants for the Redemptive Re-Entry Program.
E. Determine whether or not a Redemptive Re-Entry Program participant should receive a Special Sentence Modification.
F. Determine what that modification should be.
In light of the ever growing WDOC population, budget woes, and the changing roles of the parole commission, the creation of such a program would help alleviate some of the problems. As well as provide programming for a group of offenders that have continuously been overlooked in the development of new programs that tend to target everyone except the type of offenders this program targets. Which means this program will give the WDOC a viable option of WHO to release and HOW to release them. As well as acknowledge that children who committed horrible crimes are not beyond redemption, contrary to what was once popular belief.
The underlying notion of the Redemptive Re-Entry Program is that children who committed horrible crimes should have received stiff sentences. However, when those sentences were handed down judges failed to consider the fact that children can be rehabilitated. And that they can grow to be productive members of society and it doesn't take a lifetime to do so; which many were sentenced to.
"The court explained that juveniles were less culpable because inexperience, less education, and less intelligence make [a juvenile less able to evaluate the consequences of his or her conduct while at the same time he or she is much more apt to be motivated by mere emotion or peer pressure than is an adult. The reasons why juveniles are not 'trusted with privileges and responsibilities of an adult also explain why their irresponsible conduct is not morally reprehensible as that of an adult." 2007 Wis. L. Rev. 729 (pq. 4)
Finally, the Redemptive Re-Entry Program has been revised to bring attention to a specific group of individuals and to better coincide with the efforts of today's juvenile justice, earned release programs, and the latest efforts of Wisconsin 2009 Act 28. By supporting the Redemptive Re-Entry Program or programs similar to it, the WDOC and justice system as a whole can begin to restore the lives once deemed lost. NOTHING here has been stated for the purpose of excusing or minimizing ones violent and self-destructive childhood behaviors. In fact, that goes against everything this program stands for as it is vital that one take full responsibility for his actions; past/ present/ and future. This proposal is, however, a plea to establish a program which supports today's efforts of Juvenile Justice Reform and grants second chances. For those who have proven worthy of such. This proposal is also a tentative draft that is subject to change and is open for suggestions, future re-writes, and endorsements until it is in a form that is viable; taking all relevant factors into consideration.
In the interest of Restorative Justice/
Roy Rogers #573696
Andrae L. Bridges #248420
Saturday, January 1, 2011
ANDRAE L. BRIDGES #248420
Columbia Correctional Institution
2925 Columbia Drive (P.O. Box 900)
Portage, WI 53901-0900
Reach Out Program (1993-2003) Columbia
• Mentored and educated at-risk youth that were allowed to attend the R.O.P. from all around Wisconsin.
• Created summary, survey, evaluation, and data forms. Compiled and assessed all data received.
• Interviewed inmate participants.
Cognitive Intervention Program - Hub House (9/1/05-3/26/07) Waupun
• Successfully completed the following programs while housed in the CGIP-Hub House:
* CGIP Phases I and II
* CGIP Phase 4 Disclosure/Support Group
* Community Services (Over 600 Hours)
* Criminal Thinking
* Able Minds
* Commitment to Change
* Framework for Recovery
* Diversity Circle
* Abused Boys Wounded Men
• Facilitated, proposed, and created programs, i.e., Abused Boys Wounded Men
• Mentored and tutored fellow CGIP participants
• Produced, directed, and narrated two video programs for students at South Division High in Milwaukee about life in prison and criminal thinking.
Restorative Justice/Victim Awareness (2/7/08-4/28/08) Columbia
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY 1992-Present) Columbia & Waupun
• Lead Food Server
• Vocational Printing Clerk
• BSI (Pressman, Technician, Accounting Clerk, etc.)
• Administrative Clerk/ Tier Tender
• Trash Collector
• Segregation Janitor
SKILLS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
• Work very well with others
• Responsible, safety first
• Complimented on jobs completed and work ethics
• Attention to details
• Flexible, willing to learn and do new things
• Take and follow directions very well
• Worked closely with the community
• Determined to give back and lead by example
• Trustworthy and dependable
• HSED/GED (8/29/93) Columbia
• Vocational Welding Moraine Park Technical College (WCI)
• Associates Degree in Theology of the Bible Family Radio School
• Math/Marketing (6 Credits) UW-Platteville
• LVA Tutor Training . Waupun
• Certificates: •
* Assertiveness Training
* Vocational Mathematics
* Occupational Communications
* Student Success Strategies
* Occupational Success Strategies
* Production Welding
* CGIP Phases I and II . * Framework for Recovery
* Diversity Circle
* Abused Boys Wounded Men
* Able Minds
* CGIP (Housing Unit Based) Phases III and IV
* Commitment to Change I, II/ III
* LVA Tutor Training
* American Bible Academy Bible Studies
* Great Truths of the Bible (Crossroads Bible Institute)
* Survey of the Bible (Crossroads Bible Institute)
* Associate of Religious Education Degree (Family Radio School of the Bible)
* Bible Correspondence (The Prisoner's Friend Ministries)
* Restorative Justice
Ambitious, flexible/ dependable, compassionate, young man looking to continue mentoring and educating the youth. Eager to learn new things and lead by example. Easy to get along with and always considered a valued employee.
Please contact me.
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY (1994-Present)
* Education Clerk 3yrs at CCI
* Lead Server in Unit Kitchen 2yrs at CCI
* Janitor 6months at OSCI
* Braille Transcriber/Worker 3yrs at OSCI
* Tutor 2yrs at GBCI
* Tutor (current employment) at SCI
* Vocational Printing
* Macro Economics Course (3 Credits) UW-Platteville
* Trained as a Braille Transcriber
* LVA Tutor Training
* Took Introduction to Business Class at CCI
* AODA Level 5B (Mandatory)
* Anger Management
* Challenges & Possibilities
* Restorative Justice
* Responsible Thinking
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS
* Counseling at Risk Youth in the Reach Out Program at CCI
* Counseling at Risk Youth in the Youth Awareness Program at OSCI
* Counseling at Risk Youth in the BRICK Program at GBCI
* Served on Victim Awareness Service Committees at CCI in which we raised money to support local boys and girls clubs, organizations that serve children who have been victims of child abuse; women who have suffered domestic abuse; families in need; the Red Cross to support victims and family of victims in 9-11 attack
* Published juvenile crime prevention brochures thru the reach out program distributed to various schools and social service agencies
* Open letter writing to Transition High School in Milwaukee
* Participated in a informational video promoting restorative justice
* Completed religious based alcohol and drug abuse treatment program
* Completed religious based anger management treatment program
* Completed numerous Bible Studies for spiritual enrichment
* Consistent involvement with chapel program as choir director, piano player and singer at CCI under Chaplains Burkum, Dawson and Jackson, at WCF under Chaplain Wilks, at OSCI under Chaplain Burkum, at GBCI under Chaplain Baker and currently at-. RCT under Chaplain Mohr
On 4-14-94 a DOC classification specialist reported the following recommendations:
1. That I receive educational training and get my HSED
2. That I get vocational training due to limited employment history
3. That I go through AODA. level 5B treatment Program
On 4-24-94 a DOC clinical staff member reported the following recommendations:
1. Based on the risk for increased anti-social thinking and
behavior it was hoped that I seek out contact with a chaplain at a permanent placement and enroll in pro-social activities
These recommendations have been fulfilled