William Edwards Deserves Freedom
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William Edwards has been incarcerated since the age of 17. Today he is 33. In 2002/2003 he was a young, dumb teenager who acted with a group of 5 other young, dumb teenagers. They performed some armed robberies of various stores, in which NOT ONE PERSON was injured. They had BB guns, which they portrayed as real weapons. They stole some money. NO ONE WAS HURT.
It was horrible what they did, absolutely. NO ONE is disputing that. But that was 16-17 years ago. WHEN HE WAS A TEENAGER, A KID, WITHOUT A FULLY FORMED BRAINED, WITH DISTORTED DECISION MAKING. Since then, all 5 of his co-defendants have been long out, off of their time, by many years. Some of them even done with their extended supervision periods. Meanwhile, William Edwards is STILL LOCKED AWAY. WHY??!! He's not even eligible for the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) still until 2022. When he's 38 YEARS OLD. 38. For something he did when he was 17 years old.
What would happen if we were still judged today by what we did when we were 17 years old?
He was convicted of 2 separate cases in 2 separate counties - Waukesha & Milwaukee - all within a couple months span. In one case he was sentenced to 10 years in and 15 years on extended supervision. In the other, 13 in and 10 years on extended supervision. TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY (one after the other - not at the same time). So, that's a total of 23 years in prison and 25 years on extended supervision. FOR DECISIONS HE MADE AT 17 YEARS OLD. WITH 5 OTHER PEOPLE. NO ONE WAS HURT. EACH OF THE 5 CO-DEFENDANTS ARE FREE. WHY?! WHY IS HE NOT?!
This man is a GREAT man today. Everything he is about is about uplifting people and motivating them and making them see that life is a gift. He's a positive, real live, inspirational force that we need out in our community. He’s an as advocate, a mentor, and a teacher. He currently works in the Re-Entry Program at Racine Correctional Institution and has been given GLOWING reviews from all the people he interacts with. Many of the volunteers who come into the prison for groups are from our community. They have grown to know him as a person. They continue to say he needs to be out there, helping the community. Instead, he is wasting away, locked in a cell forced to be around people who gamble, play basketball, and sleep all day. This man is DYING to learn and experience life. He has gained a wealth of knowledge through reading and watching documentaries and partaking in various activities within his community - the institution. (The ONLY life he's ever known has an adult.)
We want to prove to Madison, the Director of the PRC Program for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (Mark Heise, Director, PO Box 7925, Madison, WI 53704) that this man has sat in prison and done more than sufficient time for his crimes. It is time for him to live and experience something more than the prison yard and rec time. He deserves to be reclassified to minimum status and be made “eligible” for the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) today!
He's not the same person he was at 17. He's learned from his mistakes and turned his life around. His actions speak for themselves. Anyone who's even had a conversation with him can see it. The DOC itself complimented him on his vast improvement and recognized who is he today, BUT...
He just wants a chance.
SO MANY OTHER INMATES get released and get brought back, he's seen so many come in and out like a revolving door - and he's NEVER even had the chance to try. He's one MAN I know will NEVER be back behind bars. He has so much life inside of him, ready to share with those who need a positive, motivating force - and it's dying little by little...
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