My name is Ramona Laws-Ratti. I am writing to you on behalf of my lifelong friend, Dr. Guy T. Fisher. He is currently an inmate at Ray Brook Federal Correctional Institution, New York. He is sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole. Guy was convicted of continuing criminal enterprising, 1983. He has served thirty-three years to date, for a crime that under today’s statute would yield him ten years. Dr. Fisher grew up under harsh circumstances, as did many of us. My husband, as well as Mr. Fisher and myself, grew up in the Patterson Houses, South Bronx, N.Y. Merely surviving that environment is no less than a miracle. Having known Guy Fisher for more than fifty years, I can personally attest to the positive growth and development he has undergone. He has redefined himself. No one is attempting to paint him as a saint, but clearly, is there justice in the punishment fitting the crime in this instance?
Besides being the first Black man to ever own and operate the world famous Apollo Theater, Dr. Fisher is the first and only inmate in the history of State or the Federal Prisons to receive four degrees while incarcerated (Associate, Bachelor, Master and ultimately, PhD in Sociology, 2008) respectively. While serving time, he has written more than 100 screenplays, numerous novels and all while mentoring others to enrich their lives through education and the development of positive self-concept. I take great pride in saying that Dr. Fisher is the true definition of rehabilitation. He has come to understand how education can transition the worldview and change the decision-making process for any individual. Dr. Fisher wants to give back to the society from which he comes, by returning to his roots and mentoring the youth of America so as not to make the same mistakes that he made in the past. If anyone will reach our youth, it will be him or someone very much like him because young people from our community feel they can relate to him and his experience. The disproportionate number of today’s incarcerated men and women of color is astounding. We will turn this around if we can learn to use our resources; Dr. Fisher. It is imperative that America understands that we need a new approach in preventing recidivism; as this is a major problem in today’s society.
With the remorse that Dr. Fisher has expressed for the negative impact his past actions have had on his family, himself, his community and society as a whole; he says he “wants a second chance to give something special back to the world!”
For more than three decades Dr. Fisher has spent his life in prison. I believe that the time has come to free Dr. Fisher, as he has proven that he is ready to return to society with new purpose and so that he may now do “God’s work”.
We say that we believe in second chances. We now have an opportunity to prove it! This communication is meant to gracefully and humbly request that we all support Dr. Guy T. Fisher in being granted clemency, by Barack Obama, President of these United States. Thank you for the consideration that you give to this matter.