Submission from fellow worker Christopher Shingleton at Stanley Correctional. The above was published in Issue 5 of Voices from Beyond Wisconsin Prison Gates, published in Summer 2018. The rest of the issue is available here.
Have you ever just sat and wondered? Found yourself just daydreaming? I often find myself doing both these things. In this day and age that’s the last thing wanted. Politicians don’t want the public to think because they then see the government for what they really are, bullies, terrorists, corrupt. Prison officers don’t want prisoners to think. Why? Because we figure out what’s wrong with their system before they do! Stop trying to prevent us and work with us. Education, education, EDUCATION. That is what is needed. Not programs in which staff and/or inmates just go through the motions. Educate! And not just us, educate the public as well. Programs don’t help if there is nothing behind it. Here’s some work, lets go to group and do some role playing or play a game, watch a movie, that’s it and in a few months there’s a certificate. Are you better? Are you fixed? No, all they did was pacify the system. The state don’t care, they like the revolving door. The system is designed to fail. We are set up to fail. Predestined to fail. Why? Money. The wisconsin dept. Of corruptions has a prison population of a state twice its size at least. What’s wrong with that picture? It’s easy, no education. Why so overcrowded? In 2000 the “truth-in-sentencing” law was enacted. In order to implement a “new” law, you first have to ensure the old one is working properly. It’s not mind you. Under “truth-in-sentencing”, judges are giving out excessive and outrageous prison sentences. These are being added on top of what you have for “old” law with parole doesn’t go anywhere either! The “program” that they have, generally can only be taken once your close to mandatory release(MR) max discharge(MD), or a parole defer of 12 months or less. When Gov. Scott Walker was elected into office in 2010, he stopped the pardon advisory board for executive clemency. So now, even if a person could be pardoned, that is off the table as well. So the problem is not getting better, it’s getting worse officials make statements on tv or newspaper about how bad and dangerous prisoners are, we’re not. We want and need something we can sink our teeth into so to speak. We need something that we can look forward to and is beneficial not only to ourselves, but also to the public as well. Don’t work against us and keep you blinders on, work with us. We are all human, we all bleed red, we all have feelings and emotions. Some of us made mistakes, some of us are just stuck cause no one will listen. Shhh, do you hear that? Someone is asking for help. What are you going to do?