Monday

Robert Smith tells his story

ROBERT SMITH # 298474
RGCI; P.O. Box 925
REDGRANITE, Wi. 54970

I got busted on 12-12-94. I was 17, hanging around a bunch of dumb asses I had no business hanging around trying to fit in, trying to be the tough guy and what not. But in being something I was not, I got caught up in a bunch of crap. I broke into about 9 houses stealing money and guns with my so called friends.

Well they got busted and rolled on me. So we all went down. Funny thing was I was 17 with no record, my so called friends both over 18 with records. I had never been arrested before so I pretty much did the cops a huge favor and told on myself making their job easy. Well I sat in Waukesha Co. Jail for 9 months while my lawyer fought for the best deal for me, so on July 31, 95 I got sentenced to 10 years in prison, 10 years probation and a 10 stayed and imposed sentence for armed burglary and burglary ( it’s armed burglary because I stole guns from the houses).

But anyways so on to prison I go. Well while all of this was going on I had another battle going on. 3 girls I went to high school with all said I had sexually assaulted them so now I’m serving more time. I get questioned about it in 95 and got charged in late 96 and early 97. All from what they said happened in 92-23. Well I got a lawyer and we were going to trial. I was not guilty of any sexual assault so I was going to fight it in the end.

Through more questioning by the cops 2 counts got dropped due to stories changing more than once. The 3rd count got dropped to a Class A misdemeanor. I took a no contest plea and got 2 years paper because I admitted to having consensual sex. So I kind of screwed myself. But in my eyes I didn’t plea to anything I didn’t do so I was OK with it. After it was all said and done though I got screwed this time.

Even though I only got found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor “ having sexual intercourse with a child 16 years old or older” I don’t have to register as a sex offender, my lawyer had told me. I wouldn’t have to take classes or anything. They were all wrong. They (the prison shrink) classified me and said I had to take sexual offender treatment SOT. I refused so the parole board told me they were going to hold me on PMR to my discharge. PMR is a law that was passed in April of l994. It gave the parole board the power to hold an inmate past his MR –mandatory release to his max discharge for one of two reasons 1. Protection of the public, or 2. Refusal to do recommended treatment of programs.

Well I looked into it to see if they could do it. And I found what I thought was a reason they could not do it. The next time I saw the parole I asked them this question. How can you hold me past my MR date to my PMR date for a charge that does not fall under PMR for a crime that happened before PMR was made law and for a charge that I was not serving time for. See my armed burglaries fell under the PMR law. But I completed all my requirement for those charges.

The parole lady said I had a good question and gave me a 30 day informational defer, to look into it. When she came back 30 days later her answer was this.” Because we can”. Needless to say I was very upset but my hands were tied. How could I go up against the DOC, I didn’t have the resources. So I ended up doing all my time – ten years, 17 to 27 years old.

When I got out, my P.O.gave me 2 choices – the S.O.T. class or go back to prison. I didn’t want to go back right away so I took the class, which was very hard to say the least. I had called a lawyer to try and get some help but tho lawyer I talked to was very helpful-she read my whole case and agreed with me that I got screwed with the case, she also told me she would take my case but it would be a waste of money for me because Wisconsin “does not” individually classify people. I you have a sexual assault on your record whether it be a misdemeanor or a class A felony, they throw everyone together – which is wrong, really wrong. I bit the bullet and did what I had to do to stay out of jail.

Things got better after time. Then I got laid off and was out of work. I had two job opportunities- good ones. But my P.O. would not let me take them because one was working in Illinois and they didn’t want to do the paper work for the travel pass every week. The second reason was I would have been able to drink because it was a bar even though I have no trouble with drugs or drinking. As long as I make an honest living what’s the difference as long as I’m not breaking the law. The probation and parole doesn’t have a clue on how they should run it. They are setting people up to fail their unrealistic rules.

Something needs to be done and done soon. If not, the cycles will continue and nothing will ever change.

I am back in prison now for my own actions but in large part it is because of all the rules they expected me to follow. Had I been left alone and allowed to work wherever I would have never fallen behind in my bill and felt forced to do what I had to do to live and take care of my family.

Don’t get me wrong. I “did” steal -which was wrong. But had I been able to live my life I would not have felt like I was backed into a corner. We need change and soon if people are to have a true second chance at life.

Something needs to be done now!

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