Thursday, July 15, 2010

First version of Redemptive Reentry Proposal

Date: October 3, 2008

To: Alfonso Graham, Parole Chairman

From: Roy Rogers #273696 & Andrae L. Bridges #248420

Re: Redemptive Re-Entry Program Proposal I. INTRODUCTION
This is a proposal for the creation of a Redemptive Re-Entry Program for juvenile offenders who were waived into adult court, convicted of violent crimes, issued lengthy sentences, and have served over thirteen (13) years in prison thus far. The purpose of this program is to facilitate the re-entry of offenders who committed crimes as juveniles back into the community. This program would serve the objectives of:

1. Supporting the idealism of juvenile justice reform from both in and outside of prison as juvenile offenders from the past (1988-1999), present, and future will and should be positively affected by the reform. An excerpt from an article titled Juvenile Injustice? by . Jacqueline 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 nonviolent 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.


2. Affirming the Restorative Justice philosophy by connecting the offender with the community by which they can begin to earn the communities' trust through community service projects of all kinds.

3. Giving rehabilitated offenders who committed crimes as ju­veniles the opportunity to:
a. Be valuable assets to the community.
b. Live out their lives' as productive and construct­ive adults.
c. Use the skills they've learned to prevent others from making the same mistakes as they once did/ namely at-risk youth

4. Easing overcrowding in the Wisconsin Prison System and the cost of incarceration.

This program should be designed to target offenders like the authors of this proposal who:

1. were waived into adult court at the age of sixteen (16) for First Degree Intentional Homicide (PTAC) and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole until January 1, 2020 for Mr. Rogers and September 19, 2037 for Mr. Bridges;

2. have received their HSED/GED's while incarcerated;

3. have learned a vocational trade while incarcerated;

4. have completed both mandatory and non-mandatory programming like AODA, CGIP, Anger Management and Responsible Thinking;

5. have invested over a decade in involvement with Victim Awareness/ Community Service/ and Restorative Justice Projects;

6. have invested over a decade in Juvenile Crime Prevention Programs/ which targeted at-risk youth;

7. have demonstrated a positive change through consistent/ positive institution adjustment;
8. have maintained a history of job employment with good eval­uations by employers;

9. have received certification as a tutor by the Literary Volunteers of America

10. who have not only used their time wisely but have matured physically/ mentally, and spiritually and now truly under­stand the err in their' past violent and self-destructive ways.

Of course the list can go on and on. There are many offenders who fit this description in one way or another. Men like: Eric G. Nash, Dujuan Nash, and Levelt Musgraves, all housed at GBCI. Michael Maldonado housed at FLCI, and Tim Cambell housed at OSCI. The program in a nutshell should target those offenders who:
1. entered prison as children;
2. grew up and matured in prison;
3. have taken an active role in bettering their lives by fully cooperating" with the rehabilitation process and thereby allowing their time to work for them.

This program should also target offenders who, under the normal struct­ure of their sentence will:
1. not get out at all;
2. eventually get out but at an age where they are unable to gain meaningful employment and be independent;
3. only be released by discretionary action of the parole commission.


Although the Redemptive Re-Entry Program can be formatted in many different ways, we have come up with three, which range from the very simple, void of any programs or group participation and the more complex and intense as it is made up of an assortment of programs. Upon successfully completing one of the following programs or simply being recommended (as the first format will require) the offenders would receive a "Special Parole Grant" allowing them to be released on an early parole. This "Special Parole Grant" would override any statutory and court imposed parole eligibility dates:

1. The first and simplest 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. Therefore a *Redemptive Re-Entry Program Review Committee (RRPRC) will examine everything the offender has done and/or accom­plished throughout his incarceration and then determine whether or not he should be recommended to receive the "Special Parole Grant." It would probably be very beneficial RRPRC to have the selected participants write out their plans and goals for the future in the event of being re­leased. Something similar to a parole plan. This simple review can be conducted at any prison facility and there is no program length as program requirements do not apply.

2. The second format is a group type/ similar to that of CGIP Phases I and II, Anger Management or Restorative Justice; which can also be~ conducted at any prison facility. The length of this particular program format would be 4-6 months and the subject matter could differ depending upon the needs of the participants. For example, the RRPRC might want to see an individual complete Restorative Justice before giving him a "Special Parole Grant." In the event of an individual being required to take a specific program or the one that may be created under this format/ it is expected that he will be sent to the facility that offers said program. Successful completion results in a "Special Parole Grant."

3. The third" and final format considered for the Redemptive Re-Entry Program is the lengthiest and most intense as formats one and two are combined here. Format three is one that should be a unit based program that further mot­ivates its' participants to control their risk of reoffend­ing by 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 Employability Skills, CGIP,Restorative Justice and other treatment programming in accordance with pre-release 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 set forth by the Redemptive Re-Entry Program Review Committee the offender should be granted a "Special Parole Grant" or one of the following custody reductions so that the offender. might continue to work towards obtaining said grant:
a. Minimum security
b. Half-way House/Work Release Programming

A Redemptive Re-Entry Program Review Committee should and must be created to:
1. Investigate and collect data on the offenders who were convicted of serious crimes as juveniles and _sentenced in the' range of 50 years to life in prison in the'State of Wisconsin from 1988 to 1999 (New Law inmates).

2. Select the appropriate programs that the Redemptive Re-Entry Program participants will be required to take and successfully complete/ as many of us have received our HSED/GED's, taken a vocational course, or completed other programs such as CGIP, Tutor Training/ Restorative Justice, and so on and so forth,

3. Develop a criteria of eligibility for. this program accepting input from offenders and the community, This criteria should take into consideration:
a Offense
b. Sentence
c. Time served
d. Program completion
e. Institution adjustment
f. Initial A & E recommendations
g. etc.
4. Review and recommend suitable participants for the Redemptive Re-Entry Program.


In light of the ever growing Wisconsin prison population, budget woes, and the changing roles of the parole commission, the creation of such a program would help alleviate some of these problems. It gives 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 rightfully received stiff penalties,-however, the majority of those sentences did not take into account the re­habilitation of these children; that they could grow up to be productive members of society and it wouldn't take a life time, which many were sen­tenced to.

Finally, with all the fascinating information being discovered about the brain development (lack thereof) of juveniles verses that of adults make it easy to conclude that there is such a thing as juvenile injustice. By creating and supporting the Redemptive Re-Entry Program or programs simi­lar to it the WDOC and justice system as a whole can begin to restore the many lives that have been broken. Nothing has been stated here for the pur­pose of excusing ones violent and self-destructive behaviors. In fact, that goes against everything this program would stand for as it is essential that one take full responsibility for his actions, past? present and future. This proposal is, however, a plea to establish a program, which supports juvenile justice reform and grants second chances. This proposal is also a tentative draft that is subject to change and open for suggestions, future rewrites, and endorsements until it is in a form that is viable, taking all relevant factors into consideration.

In the Interests of. Restorative Justice,

Andrae L. Bridges #248420
Roy Rogers #273696