Rick is closer than ever to being released from prison! In February 2012 the Board of Parole Hearings recommended Rick for parole. If all goes well with the next legal steps, Rick will be out in June 2012.
Rick was sentenced to prison in December 1976, so at the time of his 2012 hearing he had been incarcerated for 36 years. Rick has used his time in prison to do everything possible to better himself and change his life - he is the very definition of the phrase "model prisoner".
For those who may be wondering if Rick is remorseful over what he has done, the answer is unequivocally "yes". Rick has said many times that not a day goes by that he doesn't think about the victims, and the pain and sorrow that his actions caused. Rick carries a heavy burden in his heart, and it will be with him to the end of his days.
To start at the beginning, Rick "cleaned up" while in county jail, awaiting his trial, and has been clean ever since. When his prison incarceration started, Rick was sent to the Vacaville prison, which had a special "self-management" wing set aside for capable, trouble-free, mature inmates who qualified for the special privilege of living there, and Rick lived in that wing. Also while at Vacaville, Rick was a member of several official inmate organizations, including the Men's Advisory Council, a liaison between inmates and administration.
Rick has remained musically active throughout his incarceration. Early on,
he could be found performing at special events outside the prison at
schools and at the state capitol. Rick wrote and received an "Arts in Corrections" grant, which he used to
obtain the equipment necessary to teach music lessons to other inmates. Additionally, Rick has worked with outside donors to obtain musical instruments and sound systems, which have been used by a number of inmate musicians over the years.
Rick has availed himself of every educational opportunity, limited though they are (especially now) in prison. He completed a number of community college courses, and when those were no longer available, he took correspondence courses in various subjects. Rick does a lot of reading, newspapers when he can get them, and books - he reads the Bible, enjoys music biographies, and has read books on philosophy - he has a variety of interests.
Counseling is offered to inmates, and Rick has participated in virtually every counseling group available. His thoughtful and engaged participation inspired staff counselors to ask Rick if he would come back and assist them with with facilitating the groups.
Rick has worked throughout his incarceration, almost entirely in clerical jobs. In some cases, Rick has worked in offices where he typed up "incident" reports - a position in which discretion and trustworthiness is paramount. The office where Rick currently works is the department that handles inmates with psychiatric issues, a work environment that requires maturity, good judgment, lots of patience, and occasionally quick thinking. Rick has consistently earned high marks from his supervisors, many of whom have specifically requested that he be assigned to their office, due to his excellent reputation.
Along with Rick's supervisors, many other correctional staff and even some administrators have written what are called "laudatory chronos", which are unsolicited brief positive statements written on behalf of an inmate. Rick has a stack of laudatory chronos, citing everything from his quality work, to his involvement with music shows and other programs benefiting inmates; they also cite Rick's positive spirit, reliability, work ethic, and readiness for release.
When Rick is not at the office working, or out walking for exercise, he can be found preparing for a show, attending church, reading, or watching TV (PBS, the news, sports). On weekends, Rick spends time in the visiting room with family and friends.
Rick has great support in the community, with multiple offers from family, friends, and clergy for housing, employment, and assistance with transportation.
Rick will be an outstanding citizen when released, and will work hard to make positive contributions to society. His laser-like focus will be on work, family and church. Rick also wants to work with troubled youth, to help them avoid making the same mistakes he made.