Ramiah Whiteside Tells His Story

Ramiah A. Whiteside #243376
100 Corrections Drive
Stanley, Wi 54768
Ramiah has full blog here.

March 1,2009
Dear Public Officials:

My name is Ramiah Whiteside and I am writing to you in hopes that you can answer some of my questions or give me some feedback on my concerns.

At the age of seven, my future was still promising. Even thought from birth up until the age of seven was no picnic, my future was still promising. Growing up with no father and a mom who was an alcoholic was never easy. Right at birth i bounced around from home to home, family to family. Even though we were very poor, I still managed to smile because i had the hope of a prince. Growing up in the projects or downtrodden areas of the city always had challenges. By the age of seven i had seen so much and i had been exposed to so much that my future was beginning to narrow, but i did not know it.

As a kid, i never knew anything else but what was around me. Being poor was normal. Being around drugs and alcohol was normal. Seeing violence was normal. Not having anything to eat sometimes was normal. Not having any heat sometimes was normal. Not having any electricity sometimes was normal. Not being able to really enjoy being a child was normal. Survival takes precedence over being a child and having fun. in spite of all these obstacles and more, I still wanted to be sometimes in life. At the age of seven, it really did not matter what i was as long as it something more than what was around me. at the time, I did not know that hope was for other people.
Growing up within an abusive and extremely dysfunctional environment was as normal as growing up within a loving and caring home. Even at the age of seven with verbal abuse, the emotional abuse, the physical abuse, and the sexual abuse, I kept believing that things were more good than bad. No matter how dire the circumstances I still tried to have hope, that unknown luxury.

It is 2009 and i am no longer seven years old. It would be nice to tell you that even after so many obstacles that seven year old little boy managed to make it in life. Unfortunately, that seven year old boy gave up hope. As an happened to him. why did her give up? Looking around me each day, I see many seven year old kids trying to make their way through life just like I once did. The sad part is, I am in an adult institution. None of us grew up aspiring to be prisoners, yet, here we are. We made bad decisions and poor choices and that is why we are where we are. The road that led to prison started long ago though. It is not about me, or us anymore. It is about the seven year olds of today and tomorrow. Will their road lead to prison too? Will they give up too? How many more seven year olds will bypass college for prison? Have we seen enough?

I will conclude be saying, the hope i once had as that seven year old kid has found me again, It is not a hope for me, just as this letter is not about me. The hope I have is for the seven year olds of today and tomorrow. The ones that grow up too fast. The ones that are abused every day. The ones that are exposed to unconscionable traumas. The ones that still believe in spite of it all. The ones that we forget about because they have no voice. I have hope that they will persevere and break the cycle.

As a child I was hurt many, many times, on many many days, but that was still no reason for me to grow up and hurts others; and yet, that is what happened. Please look at the seven year old boy in the photo. He had potential. He had promise. He could have been President. For the seven year olds of today and tomorrow, we need to nurture their hope and build on their potential so they can grow up to be public officials like you, or maybe even president.
Thank you all for your time. Hopefully I can be a part of a brighter future instead of a reminder of a broken past.
Respectfully, Ramiah A. Whiteside

 Latest addition:

The Cap Times
Ramiah Whiteside: I know firsthand that inmates need treatment
January 2013
Dear Editor: The 11X15 campaign to cut the prison population in half by 2015 serves a purpose; it saves dollars. so it makes sense. It is good that people are beginning to see the truth. There are alternatives to long-term incarceration, especially for nonviolent offenses.

I support the 11X15 campaign’s efforts because I know firsthand what the effects of long-term warehousing are. For over 15 years L have been incarcerated. There are no more programs for me. There is nothing left for me to do but sit around, or I can take part in the contest to see who can make a paper airplane in 60 seconds and then fly it the farthest. All or my treatment stems from what out for myself . This system is designed for punishment, and treatment is not a priority.

For many people who are sent to prison treatment is what they need. What good is it to be lost in the system for.years and released with the same issues that got you incarcerated in the first place? Does this make sense? Treatment addresses the root of the issues~ incarceration alone only exacerbates things. There needs to be a balance between punishment and treatment. An alcoholic is still an alcoholic after six months in jail or 10 years in prison. A drug addict is still a drug addict after a jail stint, unless they receive treatment. Mental health issues will still be there and usually much worse upon release iftbere is no treatment.

Upon my release, at least I will be able to make a paper airplane
Ramiah Whiteside

By: Ramiah Whiteside
After over 15 years of incarceration, people might think I would be bitter. The system has warehoused me, so I should be upset. My family Has all but abandoned me, so I should be depressed, The world has forgotten all about me, so I should feel hopeless. Dospite my surroundings and the people I am around, I wake up each day and thenk God I am alive.
When I was growing up, I lost count of how many times I heard someone say, "You'll be dead before you turn 18." Perhaps they would have been correct had I not been waived into adult court at 17 and sentenced to prison. Seeing the Inside of a prison and having to learn how to function and survive inside one just solidified hOW I was conditionsd growing up: Trust no one. Watch your own back.
For so many, many years, my first and only love was the streets. The "hustle," the "Game," whatever you want to call it, I was ten toes down for it. The wife and two kids dream with the dog, house and vacations, none of that was on my radar.While other people shared this "American Dream," I was just trying to survive. My reality was different. “Love" was a privilege or a liability and falling In-love, not an option. When you watch your best friend take his very last breath, something kind of goes numb on the inside.Love died the same day that he did.
No, I did not want to be bothered with "baby-mamma-drama" or a girlfriend or relationships. There was nothing anyone could tell me to wake it all feel any better. To say that I became an island would be an understatement. The waters around my island were infested with sharks and killer whales, who would brave such an unknown journey in such deadly waters to save me from my self-destruction? Was it GOD? Mot quite, but I am sure HE was involved.
Another Soul who had nothing to lose and saw in me what I never dared to admit was there, nor ever looked for, that Soul saved me. Somehow, a bridge was built that re-connected me to humanity. That was one blessing. Falling in-love, that was a miracle.
So, after a rough upbringing and life and after 18 years of incarceration, no, I am not bitter, or upset, or depressed and far from hopeless. Each day I wake up, I thank GOD for my Best Friend and my Rock.Evan during my darkest of dark days in prison, happiness is no longer a stranger or someone else's pipe-dream.
At times, it has not been easy to face the Man I see in the mirror, but I am the Man I am today because of my Wife, Kay. She has not only changed my life, but she haa made it worth living again.
To be loved.
to be supported.
To be listened to.
To be understood.
To be accepted.
To be allowed to be myself.
This is what it means to be

Click on picure below to view document full size:

what picture says:
the white house
July 2, 2009
Mr. Ramiah A. Whiteside
Post Office Box 4000
New Lisbon, Wisconsin 53950-4000

Dear Ramiah:
Thank you for your note and for sharing your views with me.
Active citizens are the cornerstone of our democracy, and so I thank you for engaging in the important work of true citizenship. Our strength as a country and our ability to responsibly shape our future depends on informed and impassioned Americans.
Our President's views on a variety of issues are available online at, where you can explore his agenda and stay updated on news from the White House. I urge you to stay active by sharing your thoughts online or by addressing needs in your community as we confront the challenges of this important moment for our Nation.
Thank you again for writing. I wish you all the best.
Sincerely, Michelle Obama


  1. This brang tears to eyes and literally broke my heart because this is an amazing young man that i have had the pleasure of meeting 16 years ago . I know that we have the right to choose our path , however the way we were raised someitmes has a burden on the outcome reason being that is what was taught and learned and it is so hard to break the cycle ! this young man has been through so many trials and turbulations that it's hard to understand how he has done it all alone with no support from anyone except from an angel sent long ago that has made it her struggle to help leviate some of the pain .I just pray that one day that one day soon justice will be served and he will be a free child/man .

  2. Anonymous2/16/2013

    I,m so happy for you!!!!!

  3. Anonymous5/03/2013

    I left a message before but it someone deleted it maybe your wife. Anyway, I want you to know I never forgot you and never will!! When my parents moved because they thought they could keep me away they couldn't. I tried to write you as soon as I heard what happen even being pregnant in another state but my boyfriend then and father of my kids now ripped the letter. Im glad you found LOVE and wish you nothing but the best!! Must stay anonymous because it's best just know I could never forget you ever even years and years later 20 to be exact!! God bless you, your marriage, and your future!!

  4. Hello my old friend..we use to date years ago when u first started your bed in dodge corr..I see u have really grown...n I 9''I never forgot about Brandy king

  5. Anonymous10/26/2014

    What exactly happened the night of April 24, 1995? What do you remember seeing? Who do you remember seeing during the aftermath? And finally, did you see any of the faces as it all came tumbling down literally, or just from pics on the news?