Friday, May 12, 2006

Letter to parole commissioner Ms. Hackbarth 2004

Ronald Schilling
Box 4000
New Lisbon, WI 53950

Ms. Jayne Hackbarth, Commissioner
Wisconsin Parole Commission
2701 International Lane
Box 7960
Madison, WI 53707-7960

Re: Parole application, file #32219

Dear Ms. Hackbarth:

Let me begin by reiterating how refreshing it was to witness your level of professionalism and sincerity during our interview. I have been before the commission some 18 times and, frankly, this time I was impressed. I actually left the interview with a light heart, and a repaired impression of the commission.

My hopes of penning this letter with a bit better news have - been dashed. The PRC system has manifest shortcomings which are frustrating your efforts to allow me to progress through the system again. I am, of course, referring to the D-ll you rendered in my case to facilitate the return to minimum status. Because of the many PRC failures -- in this instance, the continued and errorneous reliance on the PPI requirement -- the D-ll has been deemed insufficient for a return to minimum status by all levels of the classification apparatus. I will return to this point momentarily.

Be that as it may, I feel our conversation went really well. The only part that left me a tad uncomfortable was your disbelief of definite facts and information concerning my case. Generally, I believe most people are decent, and given correct information, will make the correct choices in life. I view clear-eyed honesty as an amiable trait. And I was totally honest with you about everything.

The nature of my offense cannot be diminished, certainly not by lying. Moreover, I am not a liar. It is a fact that once upon a time I killed, yet I am not a killer. Once upon a time I used and abused drugs, yet I am not an addict, nor do I currently possess any desires for any sort of intoxicants. Once upon a time I acted ignorantly, yet I am not an ignoramus. And when I was young and ignorant I lacked appreciation for the value of truth in.all matters. Nowadays,
however, if anything, I stand accused of being a compulsive truth-teller. Even when it seems to be detrimental to my interests, I would rather deal with the hard truth and learn from it. And this has been -- and continues to be -- my approach to life, including the facts in my case. Certainly I can appreciate how utterly nonsensical it would be to in any way be untruthful to those who hold my entire future in the balance. I flatly refuse to sabotage my future in such fashion.

The letters I authored in explanation of my offense --pointedly, the 07 April 2003 letter to Parole Chairman Wells, and the 17 April 2002 letter to Asst. District Attorney John Burr, were painstakenly truthful and honest. The facts in the record speak volumes for themselves.
Since our interview I have arduously pored over the transcripts in my case to gather the necessary information demonstrating the facts. Affixed hereto are a few pages I typed up from those transcripts; they are verbatim quotes.

Also affixed hereto are numerous documents depicting the administrative failures concerning my proper classification. As you can see, I've written to everyone and tried my best to have the system function properly by honoring your D-ll. The fact that it did not occur testifies to the fact that the system does not function properly, nor has it done so for quite some time concerning my proper classification. The flaws in the system allow for this to occur in perpetuity, with the next recall set at September of 2005.

Understanding the intracacies of the system and looking at the bottom-line State interest, the manifest flaws in all parts of the system mock what should mean most to us. And it sadly indicates what -- even with the current fiscal shortages --the DOC values most. Under the latest incarnation of the rules prisoners have been relegated to a mere numerical consequence. And it's nothing personal but, rather, it's all about the federal fiscal advantages attached to keeping offenders incarcerated as long as humanly possible. It thus allows for the continuation of the Department's unbridled expansion, and that is the bottom line for their every move, including classification and mis-classification.

DOC policies nowadays undermine reasonable judicial expectations and negate the intent of the Legislators, the judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. They further deny freedom to people who have more than paid for their crimes, and who could be productive, taxpaying members of their communities if given an honest opportunity. If "Truth In Sentencing" is to be more than a mere slogan, the Commission should interpret parolable life sentences as they were intended by the judges who imposed them. In my case the Judge intended for me to serve no more than the mean average length of time in 1975 which, according to statistics, was 13.6 years. I am currently into my 30th year of incarceration.

I only ask to be judged by the content of my character, not some antiquated file; on the content of my character, and not some false-charge conduct reports which were used as a vehicle for my return to medium because of Chairman Husz's under-the-table five-year defer; on the content of my character, and not some bald assertions in a static and unchanging "confidential" file. I am still uncertain which document you alluded to from that file but it sounds hauntingly like some self-serving statement made by a State witness to bolster their case. I have not and will not ever lie to you. Perhaps a step back and a close perusal of the enclosed excerpts from the transcripts will afford us a better running start.

Allow me to suggest that the issue of my proper classification is secondary to having the power to do what is right. Albeit I have never seen it happen, it is clearly within the Commission's purview to grant parole outright, even from a medium security setting. The fact that it may have never happened before should not prevent it from occurring now in a situation such as this.
I believe that correct tactics flow from correct strategies, which flow from a correct ideological and political line. The correctness of the ideological or political line decides everything, and when it is correct, then everything will come its way. The following proposal is ideologically correct, and has been unrecognized far too long for reasons out of step with that correctness.

I am proposing an experiment of sorts; that is, to parole me now, from medium custody, and allow me to prove my overall worthiness to function perfectly and flawlessly in society. I do understand and appreciate the usual need for most prisoners to transition through a minimum setting to obtain work and acquire a little financial stability and demonstrate some responsibility. Wisconsin's progressive security classification system was actually designed to permit a smoother transition from the dependency of prison to complete freedom and earlier release from incarceration under conditions designed to test the prisoner's capacity to "make it on the outside." Such social reintegration was designed for all prisoners with such a need. However, I am already in-great shape with this regard, and do not require such time to
acclimatize prior to release.

To me, this proposed release plan does not present much of an experimental base. To be sure, it will present a marvelous challenge. But, given my parole plan, stable housing, transportation, financial support, the support of loving and caring Christian friends, my vast education, experience and considerable talents, I don't believe for a second I could possibly fail. I wouldn't even attempt making this offer if I didn't believe in it with all my heart; I am fully confident we could accomplish this successfully. Moreover, I want to demonstrate through my success the prospect that long-time lifers are the most well-behaved, well-prepared and worthy individuals to be reintegrated back into society. I want the Commission to be able to use my example for many years to come.

As you are aware, I have already served various stints inminimum settings, and was entrusted even to the extent oftravelling 17 miles from the center without staff escort andentering private homes for Bible study. It awakened therepentance that restored hope in my heart. And I reiteratethat each and every time I presented myself most judiciouslyand conducted myself with the utmost respect for all peopleand adhered to each and every rule. In sum, I really do notrequire more time in a minimum setting; I would function justfine at home. .

I would like to close by saying that the notion of freedom represents the nobelest of aspirations. I can easily live up to the "go forth and sin no more" standard. No valid penological objective or moral social purpose is being served by my continued incarceration. You have the power to parole the trustworthy. I really am trustworthy, and parole-worthy. I am asking for one honest opportunity to set a positive example through my every action so others will benefit from this experiment.
Thank you for your time and consideration of the above.
Ronald Schilling#32219cc: file .

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