Monday, September 11, 2006

Ron's continuing quest for freedom

As stated elsewhere, in January, a group of activists went to meet with Lenard Wells about Ron Schilling and several other inmates who were long overdue for parole. In the meeting with Mr. Wells, he promised that Ron " would be out by the end of the month." The month passed without any more word. Finally, after many letters and calls , Mr. Wells apologized, saying he did not have the power to release Ron Schilling. We all know this is not true, and is wrong on many levels.

Ron was finally transfered to Oakhill, where he is today. There is nothing for him there. Meanwhile, Leonard Wells has resigned and the new parole chairperson has canceled over 70 paroles that were authorized by the exiting Leonard Wells .
Below are recent letters by Ron Schilling that illustrate his continuing quest for freedom.
1)to new parole commisssioner Alfonso Graham
2) answer from Mr Graham
3) Letter to Gerald Konitzer,office of offender classificatiion

1) and 2)Letter to the new parole chairperson and his answer:

25 July 2006
Alfonso Graham, Chairperson
Wisconsin Parole Commission
3099 E. Washington Avenue
Box 7960 Madison, WI 53707-7960

Re:Parole grant recission
file I 32219

Dear Mr. Graham:

On 10 January 2006, Lenard Wells granted a parole in my case and verbally stated that I would be released within "30 days or sooner." At the same time he also granted paroles to two other individuals; parole grants which were ultimately honored by your office. In my case, apparently, the parole grant was rescinded for unknown reasons.

For ease of reference, enclosed please find copies of the letter from Frank Van den Bosch, dated 14 March 2006, inquiring about the above; Mr. Wells' response to that, dated 03 April 2006; and my subsequent letter to Mr. Wells, dated 01 May 2006. Please peruse these documents for a better understanding of this matter.

What becomes clear is that the parole grant was rescinded for absolutely invalid or otherwise unlawful reasons, and that it was accomplished without a recission hearing, as mandated pursuant to §PAC 1.07(5)(c)/ or the full panoply of required due process which should attend such a hearing.

To my knowledge, Mr. Wells never responded to my 01 May 2006 letter. I now suspect that is because he was preparing to leave office. Or, perhaps, he realized there was no valid rational or otherwise lawful reason for rescinding my parole grant and that fact would not fare well at a recission hearing. Whatever the case, I still feel I am entitled to a full and fair recission hearing. Or, better still, the reinstatement of my parole grant. I hereby respectfully request one or the- other at the earliest possible time.

Aside from the above, I pray you bring something more to the table of the commission. That there is a dire need for change cannot, be denied. Neither can the fact that if we change nothing, nothing will change, it is insanity to repeatedly perform the same action or inaction and expect a different result.

And I am not sure whether you are aware of it yet, but the system demands that you be a trail-breaker to move ahead and beyond currrent trends and facilitate progress toward a more fair and equitable system. A look at the current population is just one of myriad ways to learn how wrong past trends have been, and it points toward a massive and painful correction needed to bring the parole apparatus more in line with the current population and DOC trends.

It has been my personal trend to always get in line with whatever the system has dealt me over the decades. I strive to live in the good no matter what any given situation exposes me to. What is more, the more I learn from a situation, the more I can teach others. There is always good in the hearts, minds and lives of each of us who are to step aside from the mainstream culture and live more deeply. When the system seems to be cutting its own throat and becoming a beastly presence around the State, could there be a better or more important time for us to become learners and spiritual seekers? Could there be a more appropriate time for us to personally become beacons of compassion, humility and wisdom? And at what point in the evolution of uncertainty does one choose to act? How about now?

My earnest prayer is that you take the initiative to better identify those who have served sentences well beyond the averages. I have served nearly three times the average the judge intended at sentencing. There is really no valid reason for that when I am one of the most well-behaved, self-disciplined Prisoners in the system, have claimed plural college degrees, rehabilitated myself beyond any DOC expectation, and have even saved two lives during this incarceration.

I feel Wells consented to grant parole last January because perhaps he felt enough was enough, and this is the compassion he would desire if he found himself in a similar situation. I further feel that being in Wells' position disallowed him to see the ground falling away beneath his feet. He did good things but not nearly enough. And then in the end he went the way of his predecessor, John Husz, where under a little added pressure they crumbled like wet napkins. Sad, because they both had before them the statistics proving they were doing the right thing. And the truly sad reality is that they were both actually granting LESS paroles given the population increases.
If you fail to open your eyes to the entire prison reality you will only see how high you are riding and all will seem well enough. And at a time when the largest bodies of our common humanity — our government, the pop culture, the prison industry, consumer madness, crass and shallow national values — are bringing so much harm to the world, it is deeply useful to be reminded how good people are all across the land. Even in prison there are many genuinely good people, despite the fact they once acted inappropriately.

Last year I submitted a 4-page writing to Commissioner Williams, entitled "Spiritual Ruminations For The Commission," which probably didn't make it to the file you review. I am enclosing a copy of that for your review as well. The writing deals with the illusion of power experienced by Jesus as that relates to the display of power from your office.
The illusion of power can help people figure out how millions of people have unintentionally fallen into a mockery Christianity, or any other faith. Jesus told Pontius Pilate, "You have no power over me." Since Pontius Pilate then ordered Him to be executed and He was indeed killed, we need to reflect on what Jesus meant. Three days later Jesus returned to show us that even imprisonment, torture and execution are trivial next to the spiritual reality.

Jesus came to show us there is this world we are in, where Pontius Pilates will always seem to have power over us, but then there is this world we are of — a force which is a power beyond comprehension. And, moreover, Jesus' actions were intended to instill faith in God; that every crisis is a crisis of faith, no matter what else it appears to be.

His actual teachings of Jesus — putting others first, turning the other cheek, the giving away of wealth, etc. — can help anyone achieve a solid commune with God, with all of existence, and the cessation of the individual egoic identity. All the descriptions are virtually the same and describe the singular core experience that led to all religious teaching. It is intended to lead us to a higher reality. No Cathedral can guarantee us the direct experience of God, no prison cell can keep us from it. In fact, for the most part prison is quite a perfect ground for experiencing a higher spiritual reality. Granted, a real monastery would be more tranquil, but this still leads a responsive person to recognize the difference of being in this world but not of it. To be in life but not of it; to be in prison but not of it; to be in employment but not of it. This is a great place to do the work every human being needs to do.

My current employment, keeping a healthy body, a quiet mind, and an open heart are my primary goals — my daily spiritual practice. I need to live a spiritual life to be in tune with and responsive to God's whisper inside me. I feel that continually making my life more honorable, unselfish and kind is the best way to honor those I have wronged — more that any "apology" I could make. It's not about undoing the past; a lot of that will take care of itself, and some of it never will no matter how much I try.

I have pretty much always lived for the sake of others — helping people wherever and however I can. If someone needed an auto tune-up, or a bag of groceries or some guidance on art interpersonal level, I was there for them. That has not changed. I was raised with a high degree of appreciation for all life as well. That has not changed, either, albeit the few unintentional seconds of violence from more than three decades ago is all the system focuses on. The system has done everything humanly possibly to destroy all of the good and endearing traits I have been raised with, but it only strengthens my resolve to do better and to be more of a benefit to the world. I still wake up everyday and spend quiet moments in prayerful reminder that I intend to live primarily for the benefit of others today. It makes each day an interesting adventure of how to do that. But the State's focus remains to the negative, even to the extent of revictimizing the victim's family by drawing them to attend the pending parole interview. And yet my single and clear focus remains in the spiritual, in the revelation of what Jesus would do. And what would Jesus do in this situation? My thoughts on the matter are that Jesus would give God a chance! I can easily live up to the "go forth and sin no more" standard.

What is needed now is not more teachings, or more of the same inactivity, but
more sensible practice. Study the situation and you will come to realize it is simply the right thing to do. Be bold, serve your appointment by reinforcing what should mean most to prisoners and members of the public alike; reward where rewards are due, parole the worthy, and force people on both sides of the fence to realize that the notion of freedom represents the nobelest of aspirations. Be a trail-breaker by setting loftier goals for the commission; goals and policies that are more in tune with current prison realities. The current policies greatly undermine the judicial expectations of the legislators, judges and prosecutors. The current policies further deny freedom to people who have more than paid for their crimes, those who would be productive and taxpaying members of their communities if given an honest chance. Using ny case as an example, the judge intended for me to serve no more than the mean average length of time in 1975 which, statistically, was 13.6 years. I am currently into my 32nd year.

You have the power and opportunity to set an unquestionable fait accompli, to affect necessary and meaningful changes that will consioer a person's personal characteristics, traits, talents, spiritual evolution, educational achievements and other accomplishments, and parole those who have made substantial and honest advancements toward redeeming themselves. You can give the public a repaired impression with a more compassionate commission. I pray you do so.
In closing, I am compelled to reiterate my request to either reinstate my
parole grant or set a date for a recission hearing.

I thank you kindly for your patience and consideration of the above.
Ronald Schilling

from:Alfonso J. Graham Chairperson
State of Wisconsin Parole Commission
Mailing Address 3099 E. Washington Ave.
Post Office Box 7960 Madison, WI 53707-7960

July 31,2006
to:Inmate: SCHILLING, Ron # 032219-A
Oakhill Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 938
Oregon, WI 53575-0938

Dear Inmate Schilling:

Your recent letter to the Parole Commission has been received, reviewed and will be placed in the permanent file. It will be available at the time of your next parole consideration. According to our records the grant discussed in the enclosed correspondence was never initiated by the then Chairperson, Lenard Wells. Therefore your request for a rescinded grant hearing is not an option, as the parole grant you refer to never existed. According to your last Parole hearing of 01/17/06 you were given a deferment of 11 months. The reason for the deferment was explained on the Action Sheet of which you were given a copy. Your PED is 02/13/07, therefore you should be scheduled for review by the Commission in December 2006. The Chairperson concurs with the Commissioner's decision and the decision stands. We are returning the enclosures you have included with your correspondence. The Parole Commission is not the legal custodian of the offender files and we have no authority to add this information to the file. Sincerely, Wisconsin Parole Commission

3) 16 August 2006
Gerald Konitzer
Office of Offender classification and Movement
Box 7925
Madison, Wi 53707

Dear Mr. Konitzar:

It was refreshing to hear via that you will be rendering final decisions at BOCM. I pray that engaging you in meaningful discourse can repair any impression of the classification system. Ultimately, I hope to transfer to a facility more conducive to demonstrating my qualifications for parole.

Just yesterday I received the Inmate Classification Summary for the interview which occurred 6.29.06. While I understand and sympathize about the workload the committee must endure to comport with due process, I found it profoundly disappointing that they would not have the facts of my situation before them for their deliberation. Shortly after the brief interview I authored a letter addressing the matters to the Classification Specialist, Mr. Stensberg. A copy of that communiqué is attached hereto. I feel that after perusing the facts you will also sense the frustration and disappointment that everyone who is familiar with my situation feels and, subsequently, that you will intervene with your honed wisdom to correct the matter.

Since arriving at OCI it has become apparent that there is nothing for me here. In fact, there is considerably less opportunity here now than back in '94 when I was last transferred here. This was truly an inappropriate destination for a prisoner in my position after 32 years trying to progress through the system to a facility more conducive to proving my qualifications for parole.

About a month ago my social worker began the process of having my parole file transferred to Oshkosh from Beaver Dam. The parole agent agreed it would be best and was most helpful with that endeavor. I also have complete support for my release in Oshkosh; that is, clean, sober living quarters, secured employment, transportation, food, clothing, all of it.

That said, and with all due hope and without further adieu, I bid you the best at your new position, and pray that a favorable and more appropriate transfer can be facilitated in this matter. I would appreciate your serious consideration of placement at the Winnebago facility to facilitate my parole release to Oshkosh.

I thank you kindly for your time and attention to this important matter.
Ron Schilling 132219

2)from:State of Wisconsin Division of hearings and Appeals

August 3, 2006
to:Mr. Ronald Schilling
Oakhill Correctional Institution
P. O. Box 938
Oregon, WI 53575-0938

Dear Mr. Schilling:
I am responding to your letter addressed to David Schwarz dated July 25, 2006, which was received in our office on July 28, 2006, requesting a parole rescission hearing.
You will need to request a hearing through the Parole Commission. The address is
3099 East Washington Avenue, P. O. Box 7925, Madison, Wisconsin 537070-7925. A copy of
your letter and enclosures has been forwarded to the Parole Commission for further review.
William J. Lundstrom Assistant Administrator
cc: Parole Commission (w/enc.)
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