Saturday, July 29, 2006

Truth in sentencing and old Law Lifers.
Starting to explain the problem

This is an injustice perpetrated nationwide. Sentences became much less flexible and stricter under Truth in Sentencing and "good time" and parole were all but dropped. People who went to prison decades earlier are now being held by Truth In Sentencing guidelines even though they were given sentences in a time when parole for life sentences began on average after serving 11.3 years. This is called "expost facto" sentencing and is unconstitutional.

Here is what Ron writes about the subject:
.." All across the board nowadays DOC policies have a tendency to undermine reasonable judicial expectations and negate the intent of the legislators, the judges an, 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 community if given an honest opportunity. If "truth in sentencing" is to be more than a mere slogan, the system should interpret parolable life sentences as they were intended by the judges who imposed them. In my case the judge could have rendered the maximum sentence allowed by law for each of my offenses, or he could have run the sentences consecutively, or otherwise made comments in the record which would have frustrated the parole effort in the future but he used none of those options... It is clear that he intended for me to serve not more than the mean average length of time in 1975 which, according to statistics, was 11.36 years. I begin my 31str year of incarceration next month. Even more ironic, I am one of the most well-behaved individuals in the system; I am highly disciplined, and do not partake in any endeavors not conducive to my ultimate release from the system. Moreover, they paroled my co-defendant back in 1992--same crime, same time--and he never did one thing to better his situation; messed with drugs, strong-armed weaker prisoners; never participated in any educational programs, etc., yet he was the one who got paroled." (from letter to Kathleen Hart, of CURE )
Click here for Milwaukee Journals' Mary Zahn Articles on Truth In Sentencing