Battites Wesley #064380
PO Box 9900
Boscobel, WI 53805
Greetings Distinguished Reader,
I would like to first start off by extending my thanks and gratitude for taking time out of your busy schedules to read such an enormous amount of personal information pertaining to my history as well as my present. It is not often that I have such an occasion like this to express myself and to make a personal appeal to you where my freedom is concerned.
Make no mistake this personal appeal does in no way minimize or take away the grief, pain and suffering that I have caused upon the family of my victim. In fact, my goal upon re¬lease will be to work in the capacity of serving victims. I'm sure that once you have read my background on the work I've done while a member of Restorative Justice, while in Columbia Corr-ectional Institution (under the guidance of then Warden Jeffrey Endicott), that the wounds I'm responsible for causing are clearly not lost upon me.
In 1973 I was a young 19 year old young man who grew up in the most auspicious of circumstances. I guess you can say I was a product of my environment. I grew up in and around the most hardcore of conditions where street gangs prevailed and per-meated itself. I became "one of them".
I grew up in the Chicago Housing Authority where I was constantly surrounded by gang violence, drug infested areas, prostitution, and alcoholism. This became my reality, and I gradually accepted that this was my fate. Even though I had an enormous family, many of my siblings became susceptible to the environment from whence we came as well, with the exception of a few.
In regards to what led to my incarceration, myself and two of my childhood friends were in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whereupon clouded in our street life mentality, decided to rob a neighborhood bar. Our intentions was to scare the bartender and patrons, but not to inflict personal injury to anyone. During the commission of our intended robbery, one of the patrons pulled out a revolver and pointed it at us. It was later that this patron became identified as an off-duty police officer. Even though I grew up in the most hardcore of conditions, I was not taught to hate cops, or go out and shoot policemen. However, this was the case in this particular circumstance.
There are no words to describe the feelings and emotions of that occasion. I was young and acted foolishly. My decisions on that day were reprehensible. I cannot go back in time and take that day back, if I could work such a miracle, I would gladly do it. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I've worked diligently on my personal growth, and understanding of the many years of my incarceration, which is why I've made such an cognizant effort to appeal to you in such a manner, but to put a face on an offender who has made great strides in my personal efforts of rehabilitation.
As is indicated in the beginning of this letter, this incident happened in 1973 when I was 19 years old. I'm now almost 50 years old, and I'm imploring upon you to indicate or suggest to the Parole Commissioner to at least make strong considerations upon giving me the opportunity serve the remainder of my incarceration in minimum, and eventually a halfway house. All I'm asking of you is to extend to the Parole Commissioner to afford me the same opportunity that is afforded other offenders to allow me the chance to reintegrate back into society as they are given those chances. I've given the Department of Corrections almost 30 years of my life (28 & ½ years). I've achieved all there is to achieve in the penal system short of a college degree.
Highlighted in one of the documents in this blog are many lifers that have come into the institutions over the years who have been given the opportunity to go to minimum, and eventually, paroled home. While I realize the victim was a police officer, this was not known to me during the commission of my actions. I am eternally sorry for my significant role in the death of my victim. While I cannot bring back the life of my victim, my mission once released is to work with "At Risk" youths, as well as incarcerated juveniles that on the "same road" that I once took. This is one of the most significant means of crime prevention measures that one can explore with today's young violent offenders. What is not lost upon me is the fact that I predicated my life, as well as glorified in the fact that I was a notorious gang member, and even acted out that image in my younger years of incarceration. Once inside the prisons, I had to live out my so-called "thuggish" reputation. I'm not proud of those days, however with age comes knowledge and wisdom. I have a gift to implore upon young people to not explore such a path in a way that would bring harm and pain upon others. I'm a man who has "been there, done that", and it has gotten me nowhere.
What is most profound, is that despite the fact that I have been incarcerated for most of my adult life, a woman has graciously come into my life, and made the ultimate sacrifice to extend her hand in marriage toward me. She already had children from a previous marriage, who now consider me their father. I thank God everyday for this gift I have received. We are a deeply religious family, for which I owe my life to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for without him I am nothing.
Also what is most profound is that I have not lost my love and devotion with my extended family and friends, who have gone on live successful lives. In the packet I'm sending are letters and signatures from them petitioning for my release. This has fallen on deaf ears over the years, so I'm asking you to look deeply into the intent of these letters, with special attention from my daughter who has been without her dad for many years.
Again, I want to extend myself for the record that I am not overlooking the loss of the victim's loved ones. I'm sure that in times of many family gatherings, and holiday's when there are occasions when his loss is felt deeply. During my work in Restorative Justice, I have come to have a lot of empathy from their viewpoint.
On a personal note, while I've been incarcerated, and because of where I grew up, there have been close family members that have suffered the same kind of fate that my victim suffered. I have sat in my room and cried and often blamed myself for their loss of life, because I was once a part of that lifestyle. Restorative Justice has taught me that there are many kinds of victims, and they should be the ones that matter. So indeed, when writing this letter to you, I do not want to give the impression that my victim and his family and friends does not matter, because they do.
Finally, I would like to impress upon you the many education certificates and accomplishments that I have completed over the years. There was never an occasion when I did not apply myself while incarcerated, and to prepare myself for one day I would be leaving my present environment to come back out there into society. I realize I lost the trust of society, and my mission while incarcerated was to restore that trust by applying myself and trusting in the fact that I can correct my behavior, and become a productive member of society, rather than a hindrance. I would hope that this letter would get away from the general stereotypical inmate who just "floated on by", during his incarceration.
While I have implored upon the parole board, as well as the institutional (Fox Lake Correctional Institution) PRC board to give me another chance as is afforded everyone else, with no success, I'm asking for you to speak on my behalf to them to rethink their position, and believe in the fact that they have done their job to society that they have corrected me.
Thank you for your generous time. Words are indescribable that you have so graciously lended me your ear.
Mr. Battites Wesley