IS REHABILITATION A CONSIDERATION?
By: Darrick Arnold Alexander - May 22nd", 2015
Greetings: should the Wisconsin Parole Commission consider whether or not an incarcerated person has been rehabilitated during interviews for release to field supervision?
Rehabilitate: to restore to good health or useful life, as through education or therapy, to reinstate the good name of, to restore the former rank, privileges, or rights of , to restore to a former state (Webster's II New College Dictionary , 1995).
When a person is sentenced to a term of imprisonment in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections there is an inherent expectation that the department's goal and objective, is to REHABILITATE that convicted person.
Indeed, the concept, principle, and application of rehabilitation is presumably the foundation upon which an incarcerated person's release back into society is built.
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections Mission Statement (attachment A), decrees at point *6 that the department will “provide opportunities for the development of constructive offender skills and the modification of thought processes related to criminal behavior and victimization".
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections Vision Statement (attachment B), decrees at point *5 that the department shall “promote the integration of offenders into the community so that they become valued and contributing members".
Each of the foregoing decrees is explicit in stating that it's goal is to reduce criminal behavior (thinking) and restore a sense of safety to victims and the community through the rehabilitation of the convicted person.
As such, it appears that it is imperative that the Wisconsin Parole Commission actively engage evaluating and assessing whether or not the parole eligible incarcerated person has been rehabilitated when that person sits before the parole commissioner for consideration of release to supervison by the Division of Community Corrections.
However, the Wisconsin Parole Commissions record is-silent in such regard. The parole action summary report (form DOC-1208) completed by the commission staff does not list REHABILITATION as one of the considerations when making the decision of whether or not to release the incarcerated person to field supervision.
Instead, the DOC-1208 form typically cites a degree of risk to the public (without identifying or qualifying the risk), and insufficient time for punishment. Each of which cannot inherently be accurately assessed without determining whether or not the individual has been rehabilitated.
Serving no disrespect to the Wisconsin Parole Commission, however, it appears that the commission's vision is short sighted because it never makes a subjective determination of whether or not the individual incarcerated person has been rehabilitated. Rather,-the commission's vision appears to be overwhelmed by the nature of the offense and the ambiguously elusive sufficient time for punishment semantics.
I state with confidence that jurists of reasonable minds could arrive to a consensus that the Wisconsin State Legislature envisioned that at some point the Wisconsin Department of Corrections would began assertive and effective rehabilitation efforts in regards to each of the parole eligible persons in it's charge. This is why the Legislature set forth parole eligible dates for specific criminal offenses. All time served prior to that parole eligible date the incarcerated person sits in his/her punishment phase of the sentence.
Once parole eligibility has been achieved the incarcerated person transitions from the punishment and enters into the rehabilitative stage of his/her sentence, which entails essential programming and movement through the designated levels of custody and security in preparation for reintegration into society.
Although the release from prison is only a consideration upon parole eligibility, the punishment phase is not a factor after the said eligibility has been met. I believe that jurists of reasonable minds would agree that although the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has autonomy in its daily operations, legislative guidance is warranted in regards to how the department should interpret and apply the law as set forth by the Wisconsin Administrative Code and the Criminal Statutes.
The Wisconsin Administrative Code and the Wisconsin Statutes inherently assess the suitability or unsuitability for release from prison based upon the rehabilitation of the inmate, however, the Wisconsin Parole Commission's record stand silent in that regard. With all due respect to the commission it's vision and attention appears to be overwhelmed by the nature of an offense rather than the subjective determination of whether or not the incarcerated person has been rehabilitated. Legally, there has to be an administrative determination on record of the commission opinion in regards to whether a person has been rehabilitated; irregardless of the immutable nature of the offense. If the incarcerated person has not been classified as being incorrigible the Wisconsin Parole Commission must make a record stating it's opinion in regards to a person's rehabilitative classification; the law requires such determination.
The decision of whether or not to grant or deny a person release to field supervision inherently involve what a person is and what he may become rather than solely the nature of his offense, without more.
I've been physically incarcerated for the past 30 years plus on a parole eligible life sentence. I've been considered for release to field supervison for consecutive years since 1998. Not once has there been an administrative evaluation, assessment, and explicit statement in regards to the commission's determination of whether or not I've demonstrated that I've been rehabilitated. Likewise, there no explicit statement that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has functionally engaged in efforts to assist me to become rehabilitated. In the same vein, there is no documented evidence in my prison case management file which suggests that I have not been functionally rehabilitated. If after serving 30 plus years in prison the collective efforts of prison staff and myself works to my rehabilitation.
My educational achievements, extra- curricular accomplishments, active marketable job skills, pro social network, acceptance of full responsibility, religious beliefs, disappearance of disciplinary problems, places to live actual employment upon release on record, DOC licensed psychologists current reports, and more, serves the conclusion that the legislative goal of rehabilitation in my individual case has been realized and achieved, but again, never explicitly nor implicitly set forth in the parole commission's reports because my rehabilitation has not been considered by the commission.
Nevertheless, the aforementioned rehabilitative factors of record support the truth that it is unlikely that I represent a risk to reoffend against the peace and dignity of the State of Wisconsin or any other providence.
In closing, the Wisconsin State Legislature has developed and passed law ( Wisconsin stats. § 301.068 ) , which provides a means by which the unlikelihood of my risk to reoffend is further lessened via community services resources upon release (attachment C).
Indeed, the Wisconsin Department of Correction's administrative task to promote my rehabilitation and reintegration is supported by the Division of Community Corrections resources per Wisconsin Statutes § 301.068 (2014).
There does not exist a gray line between being convicted of an offense and being criminal minded. Each has their own nature and are mutually exclusive of each other. However, rehabilitation is effective in each consideration.
It is imperative that the Wisconsin Parole Commission assess whether or not a parole eligible person has been rehabilitated when making it's determinative decision of whether to release that person to field supervision; and set forth in the parole record written documentation that such determination has been made.
Very Truly Yours
Darrick Arnold Alexander
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
GOD BLESS YOU ALL
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
GOD BLESS YOU ALL
DOC mission and Vision Statement
above:DOC operations manual cover
DOC mission and Vision Statement
Wisconsin Department of Corrections
The Department of Corrections will protect the public through the constructive management of offenders placed in its charge.
This mission will be accomplished in the following ways:
• Providing levels of supervision and control consistent with the risk posed by the offender.
• Assuring that' staff and offenders are safe.
• Assuring that staff function professionally, honestly and with integrity.
• Being responsive and sensitive to victims, victims' families and a diverse community.
• Providing for the humane and respectful treatment of offenders.
• Providing opportunities for the development of constructive offender skills and the modification of thought processes related to criminal behavior and victimization.
• Treating a diverse workforce as valued partners by fostering staff development and effectiveness.
• Providing and managing resources to promote successful offender integration within the community.
• Holding offenders accountable for their actions through sanctions, restitution, and restoration.
• Developing individualized correctional strategies based on the uniqueness of each offender.
• Being accountable to taxpayers through efficient, effective and innovative management of resources.
• Actively responding to staff victimization and promoting wellness. • Educating the public on what we do and how we do it.
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS VISION STATEMENT
The Department of Corrections will reduce criminal behavior and restore a sense of safety to victims and the community.
To achieve this vision we will build on our Mission Statement in the following ways:
• Share ownership for justice through partnerships with the criminal justice system and the community.
• Learn from the community and promote opportunities for the community to learn from us.
• Hold offenders accountable by requiring them to contribute to the recovery of victims and the community.
• Work with the community to engage offenders and prevent them from becoming anonymous.
• Promote the integration of offenders into the community so that they become valued and contributing members.
• Create a sense of community and mutual responsibility in the workplace.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS
• The nature and degree of supervision and control of an offender should be directly related to the risk of harm he or she poses to others.
• Over time, change in the nature of the control and supervision exercised over offenders should be a function of changes in the risks they present. They must be required to "earn" reduction. They should be subject to the level of supervision appropriate to the risks they pose.
• Early intervention to control risk is essential.
• The core of programming to control risk must include active supervision of offenders.
• Offenders must not be allowed to remain anonymous in the community, free to threaten or harm others. Correctional staff must be actively involved with offenders, police, members of the community and offender families.
Strong connections to family members and other mature
people who will help control offender behavior
WI Statutes on Community service
Wis. Stat. § 301.068
Wis. Stat. § 301.068 (2014)
301.068. Community services to reduce recidivism.
(1) The department shall establish community services that have the goals of increasing public safety, reducing the risk that offenders on community supervision will reoffend, and reducing by 2010-11 the recidivism rate of persons who are on probation, parole, or extended supervision following a felony conviction. In establishing community services under this section, the department shall consider the capacity of existing services and any needs that are not met by existing services.
(2) The community services to reduce recidivism under sub. (1) shall include all of the following:
(a) Alcohol and other drug treatment, including residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and aftercare.
(b) Cognitive group intervention.
(c) Day reporting centers.
(d) Treatment and services that evidence has shown to be successful and to reduce recidivism.
(3) The department shall ensure that community services established under sub. (1) meet all of the following conditions:
(a) The community services target offenders at a medium or high risk for revocation or recidivism as determined by valid, reliable, and objective risk assessment instruments that the department has approved.
(b) The community services provide offenders with necessary supervision and services that improve their opportunity to complete their terms of probation, parole, or extended supervision. The community services may include employment training and placement, educational assistance, transportation, and housing. The community services shall focus on mitigating offender attributes and factors that are likely to lead to criminal behavior.
(c) The community services use a system of intermediate sanctions on offenders for violations.
(d) The community services are based upon assessments of offenders using valid, reliable, and objective instruments that the department has approved.
(4) The department shall develop a system for monitoring offenders receiving community services under this section that evaluates how effective the services are in decreasing the rates of arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of the offenders receiving the services.
(5) The department shall provide to probation, extended supervision, and parole agents training and skill development in reducing offenders risk of reoffending and intervention techniques and shall by rule set forth requirements for the training and skill development. The department shall develop policies to guide probation, extended supervision, and parole agents in the supervision and revocation of offenders on probation, extended supervision, and parole and develop practices regarding alternatives to revocation of probation, extended supervision, or parole.
(6) The department shall annually submit a report to the governor, the chief clerk of each house of the legislature for distribution to the appropriate standing committees under s. 13.172 (3), and the director of state courts. The report shall set forth the scope of the community services established under sub. (1); the number of arrests of, convictions of, and prison sentences imposed on Offenders receiving the community services under this section; and the progress toward recidivism reduction.