To: Dean Stensberg, WI Parole Chairman, Edward Wall, WI DOC Secretary, Edward Wall, WI DOC Secretary, The Wisconsin State Senate, and Governor Tony Evers
Petition for the Release of Andre Bridges
Andre L. Bridges #248420; FLCI, P.O. Box 200, Fox Lake, WI 53933-0200
We, the undersigned, petition you to facilitate the release of Andre Bridges. Andre entered the system as a Juvenile, 6 days after he turned 16. He was charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide-party to a crime, and was waived into adult court and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole until the year 2037. He had fired a gun into the air during an argument between gangs, hoping to defuse the argument and instead it escalated and 14-year-old Corzette Vance was killed. Andre claimed responsibility but no one knows who fired the fatal shot.
Andre states: “I have never made excuses for my actions and I never will. Many may wonder, how dare I plead for a second chance at life after standing accused of taking the life of another. Well, it's because I truly believe I have earned a second chance at the life I never had. I plead for this chance with a clear conscience. I committed my crime when I was very young--I am not the same person I was when I got arrested. In the nearly 23 years I've been incarcerated I have gained a real appreciation for life and everything it has to offer. I have not only accomplished everything that was asked of me but I have volunteered to participate in programs that changed me for the better. My prison record indicates positive adjustment with good work evaluations, as I have used my time productively.”
Andre has transformed himself since that day. He came to prison with serious mental health problems and a history of being abused; he has since written an autobiography and become a helper to many other inmates. Not only has he completed an impressive list of programs, been employed as lead food server, dishwasher, administrative clerk, segregation janitor to name a few, he has many certificates, an Associates Degree in Theology and LVA tutor training, and over 600 hours of community service.
Andre's final words:” However, I pride myself most on my personal and spiritual growth, and having had the opportunity to participate in the Reach Out Program once facilitated at Columbia Correctional for 10 years. This program gave me the opportunity to educate and mentor at-risk youth. I am blessed with an outstanding support system and a loving fiancée I'm planning a life with. I have drafted an extensive release plan and will present well to potential employers upon release. These factors, together with my level of maturity, labor skills, and desire to give back will significantly reduce the likelihood of me ever re-offending. The community does not need protection from me!”
We firmly believe that Andre Bridges should no longer be in prison and that his sentence was excessive. He is changed completely from the boy he was at 16. With the overcrowding crisis in the DOC, the lack of funding for treatment for the mentally ill and programming for the truth in sentencing prisoners, it makes no sense for you to spend our money holding this man back from a productive life with his love. Many of us see the flaws of our revenge-only policy and you will be supported for doing the right thing-- release Andre Bridges!
Why is this important?
Andre is a remarkable person. He was severely depressed after childhood abuse and the difficulty of prison life. With a little encouragement and kindness , Andre took hold and pulled himself out of his deep hole . Now his future is bright with his fiancee and wonderful plans, IF we let him have it. Please do all you can to see he is released.