sent on March 16th, 2023 to Special Litigation Section of the USDOJ
Request to the U.S. DOJ for an investigation of the WI DOC
Note from author/compiler
The need for an investigation is dire and I am inadequate to the task of putting together a truly compelling document- I am just the scout in this effort to interest you in undertaking an investigation
I hope this potpourri suffices. If you agree to help us , there will be a lots of enthusiastic help and a seemingly infinite array of cases.
Peg Swan, FFUP founder and co-director
29631 Wild Rose Drive; Blue River, WI 53518/pgswan3@aolcom/608-536-3993
We are in need of a thorough investigation of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WIDOC) by the US Department of Justice (USDOJ ).. We believe we have enough evidence, testimonies, and legal actions to show a department that has completely lost it mission to rehabilitate prisoners and ensure public safety.
In In Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976), the Supreme Court established that the Eighth Amendment may be violated due to factors related to a prisoner's confinement. A prison guard's deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious illness or injury would constitute cruel and unusual punishment which would violate the Eighth Amendment. In today’s WI DOC, the 8th amendment is violated not only by guards but up through the highest ranks, for this is a culture where honesty and self reflection as tools for change have been abandoned and damage control, dismissing and lying, is the response to every attempt by we, the public or by people on the inside to generate healing.
We hope to show by this report that our corrections system needs correcting at the most fundamental level, for the root cause of its dysfunction is that over half the prison population should not be incarcerated. The ability to follow its mission was lost when our leaders caught the Supermax bug in the 1990s with the enactment of the VOTIS act in 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,(H.R.3355, Pub.L. 103–322). This was largest crime bill in the history of the United States. This bill provided, among other things, 9.7 billion dollars for prisons and launched a prison boom throughout the nation. For Wisconsin, it meant the ending of meaningful parole in the infamous memo by the then Governor Thompson, which swept all inmates then and for the future under the draconian Truth in Sentencing (TIS) laws. and made making money for the prison industry rather than rehabilitation and public safety its goal.
With the VOTS act, WI’s prison population went from 7 000 to 22000, all programs were cut; the “offenders” were vilified and made scapegoats by politicians and media and all those with positions and money to gain, Laws and policies targeting the vulnerable in our population filled and continue to overfill our prisons making them warehouses with abominable conditions of confinement.(1)
A study put out in 2013 by the University of Milwaukee’s Employment and Training Institute drives home the point, our state’s overincarceration actually causes more crime because it scrambles communities and in very segregated bergs like Milwaukee, young Blacks grow up with few good role models because so many of their fathers are entombed with over long prison sentences. (2)
WI has the highest per capita number of Blacks in its prisons for the US, but it is not only the Blacks who suffer over-incarceration here. Unlike other states, Wisconsin uses contradictory rules and processes to hold prisoners decades beyond their release eligibility dates, and over half its admissions each year are for people with non felonies, reincarcerated with little or no due process when they are accused of violations of a rule of supervision.(3) Most fixes do not require legislation, for they were put in place not by legislation but by executive action and policy memos.
We hope the US Justice Department will use what it learned in an investigation done in 2014-16 ( approx.). This ended when WIDOC published new guidelines. The Justice Department left, and the guidelines were, in the main, dropped and the culture of no accountability reigns, For although prisoners often win their 8th amendment lawsuits, the taxpayer pays the settlement fees and conditions for the plaintiff in the main remain the same , only often worse as retaliation also goes unabated.
We hope that with a thorough investigation , the USDOJ will see the end result of this loss of mission and will push for sweeping reform,. as there is no corner of the system that is not corrupted. We include our wish list at end,.There are staff members everywhere who are trying to help where they can, but they are not supported and the trajectory is pointed ever downward:” They are not trying to help us.” is one of the most common statements we hear from prisoners.
Footnotes for introduction
1) Background to overcrowding, loss of mission and no parole https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MxZoVEdhAn9yMp4TM0Q5ewIv8sU-ZK9m/view?usp=share_link
2)Wisconsin tops the nation in percapita incarcerations of Blacks
a)Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Males:/Workforce Challenges for 2013 by
the University of Milwaukee’s Employment and Training
b)Wisconsin Disparities report by Pamela Oliver, UW Sociologist 2013
3)half of the people admitted each year into the WIDOC are admitted for non felony rule Violations
A Good source of information case throughout the system: Mario
Koran,Journalist with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative
Journalism( “Wisconsin watch”). His employer, a non profit
organization, has a year grant to look at the inmate complaint system
and recommend changes. They have now they are reading settled
lawsuits and have a trove of them on all issues-health care denial,
deliberate indifference to health needs and self harm, deaths etc note:
In our system prisoners’ settlements are all paid by taxpayers There
is no accountability for the DOC or its staff, and although the prisoner gets money, usually nothing changes in the system usually except that often the prisoner receives severe retaliation. We are always hunting for lawyers who will take class actions, have tried joinders with disastrous results. It is therefor very important that the abuses these lawsuit bring to light are shared with all so changes become possible. Our contact with Wisconsin Watch: c/o:
Mario Koran/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ;Fifth
Floor, Vilas Hall/821 University Ave/ Madison ,
Cases covering all issues
11. RHU units (Restrictive Housing Units)- this is where the worst has no bottom. Most prisoners here are under 30 years old , mostly Black and nearly all are mentally ill and are here because they acted our in general population. There is no treatment: psychologists come to the cell door and ask if the prisoner is going to “self harm.” If the answer is yes, he goes to “Obs”- observation unit- where all is taken and often he/she is strapped down. Prisoners here get NO tools with which to work out their frustration , anger etc which means that self harm is the norm. They get only a rubber pencil, crayon or light pencil to write with and letters have to be short as these are hard to use and very hard to read . Contact with family and the outside is difficult for many, made worse since WI DOC implemented a third part mailing system which nearly destroys communication for families as well as makes most of FFUP’s functions impossible.( see section: )
Most prisoner here, we find, have had their outside diagnoses change to something less severe- often”malingering” so they require no treatment ot from serious ( MH2) to non serious ( MH1) and most are truth-in--sentencing prisoners( TIS) which means they are released at their court specified release date- ready or not. Many are released to homelessness after months and years of no treatment or training and most to little or no support, They are then whipped back into prison for non - felonies - sometimes for as little as a missed appointment, and they get stuck for years, incurring new felonies as did #3 below, for acting out ( expelling fluids is common one)
WIDOC has a mental health code system- the most serious cases of mental illness are coded MH2 We find that prisoners who have obvious serious mental difficulties are often given the MH 1 code and with it are denied what treatment is available, any help form non profits upon leaving prison, and are told they are not eligible for treatment at the only treatment center for males, WRC ( Wisconsin Reasource Center) because “their mental health code does not fit the criteria” .Here is a link to an article about a psychologist who quit his job due to this practice of “ dumbing down “ mental health codes:4) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rBKskYCV7FOcb-X8IQH79rHdBgFMfJMe/view?usp=share_link
Some RHU cases of great concern
1)Sean Forster Hoare Jane forester 590081 GBCI ( BD 1981, 41 W)
Sean has Mrysa and has not seen an outside doctor since 2019 ( verified by conversation with nurse) , he has gone on hunger strike because of lack of care and will not come off until he gets care, HSU ( health service unit)says he will not get care till he eats- This is illegal and unconstitutional but things continue= he has lost over 100 pounds and Contact is hard-- Nurse said he is getting electrolytes. To deny health care for ANY reason is illegal, and since he did not receive the care before the strike , there is no reason to believe he will get it if he stops. At least this brings pressure on advocates on the outside ( us),
Sean’s transcribed story ( written in small pencil print, unscannable)
2.)Xavier Hayes-689448 BCI;(BD 2003, 20 yo, B))no release dates given on DOC profile
Xavier is very young, 20 years old, mentally challenged. His diagnoses before arrest
were disregarded and the Public defender was no help. He has 3 years in and family
are very worried that he will be harmed irreversibly. We are trying to get his medical
records from before prison as they would show him seriously ill and not stable
enough to stand trial . Like most of the people in WI RHUs ( restricted health
units, )they are there because they acted out in general population. They are mentally
ill and cannot take the chaos and abuse that is daily in general. Most also, went thru a
process like Xavier did, where they are “evaluated” for competency and that is,
according to prisoner reports: relentless interrogating/testing that goes on UNTIL
the outcome desired by the DOC is reached, The exhausted prisoner simply says what
ever is desired in order to have the ordeal ended. He is deemed competent to stand
trial , or pleads “no contest” which is interpreted by the court as a guilty plea, and he
goes to prison often with a ridiculously long sentence. There he ends up in solitary
(RHU), gets no treatment or training, and is released to the street with no
support,and the usual result-decades of prison. I believe, Xavier, like so many youths,
a kid in trouble ,needing guidance and treatment who instead is stuck in a system
that only wounds terribly.
3.)Jake Mashl 685667 GBCI BD 2000, 23 yo/ out date 1 16 24 ( mother :
Jake has asbergers, ADD and multiple other syndromes in which he is explosive and disruptive at time. His mother , Nikki, says when he is on his meds he is appropriate and easy to get along with. He lives with his mother and has the maturity of a teenager. He was in Medium security but was transferred to GBCI. I note that most of the people in GBCI are young Blacks and many here are gang members because that is their family as so many fathers are n prison ( see study in footnote 2pg1 ). It is Jake’s hard to handle asbergers that put him in GBCI and he was harassed and threatened immediately and ended in their solitary after only two days .
Jake’s story is ever changing as his mother finds out more . All his meds were taken away and his only contact, his monther, gets a phone call once a month, It seems he was saving pills so he could take more of them at one time- he felt the dosage was too small . Although he has ten months to release., we are all afraid he will be permanently traumatized, He at one point was banging his head against the wall trying to get someone to come.
The big thing is that although his mother is constantly calling the prison and Madison powers pleading that they give him his meds back, allow calls etc, as of this writing, SHE HAS HAD NO CONTACT with her son since before thanksgiving, Her contact has been through the social worker and complaint calls she makes. Jake was on a program ( SO2) that he looked forward to before he was put in RHU and would like to take that program- This is first for him and shows that under the right conditions, he could learn a lot, .
4.)Terrance Grissom- 93184 WRC.(BD 1970, 52yo, B) MR 4/5/36
Terrance case is an example of what happens to many prisoners after they go through what Xavier above is enduring. Terrance has been in prison for decades and is an old law prisoner, eligible for parole decades ago ( life sentence them meant 11-13 years if behavior was good) He was convicted of multiple misdemeanors. His home is in Colorado and he was in Milwaukee visiting his cousins when he was arrested. He is mentally ill and he keeps getting more charges and time as he acts out when he feels abused. Right now he is being reevaluated at WRC so he can get more charges and we gear he will be fept there until the outcome ( competent) is reached. We , in turn, are trying to help him get him to Colorado where his home is and his mother can be close to him
. I have received letters from concerned prisoners that he is being over drugged, then they move him every few months to a different max- usually between WCI and GBCI.
This is the end product of what happens when the mentally ill are funneled into our prisons, the DOC has no capacity to treat or understand and can only isolate and drug. The prisoner becomes more and more combative and the guards more abusive. Their solution is to drug the guy to a zombie state.
5)Lonny Mayer 167104 GBCI /PREA and illegal captivity and conditions
Lonny is being held in RHU ,revocated for violating no contact orders of his PO. The story sum is linked here:
Lonny Mayer case sum (1) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OyRGrMbRfKI6kVnRh0Wl6k15x9QTbO_f7n7h-Ehozho/edit?usp=share_link
Of greatest concern is the prison is not allowing him phone contact with anyone and he has lost his house, business and all contact with those important in his life. He says this is through the DA asking the WIDOC to broaden the judges simple no contact order for his former fiance to mean everyone.
Also on Lonny Mayer= part of earliest letter speaking of the contact issue and also a PREA violation that was illegally ditched,
Lonny Mayer continued (2) PREA and illegal captivity and conditions
From February 2023 letter, typed form light pencil.
“This is the exact issue I've been experiencing about for a year I have not been able to talk to my family or friends or Associates not even to my attorney since April of last year.
The prison is doing this all without due process acting on the district attorneys instructions and they are either flat out denying the complaint I file through the icrs system or simply deny me access to file my complaints
Do you know that I had an officer make sexual advancements toward me. I wrote two security Supervisors…I spoke to several officers and filed a complaint on the matter. all of which were ignored. This happened on November 28th and I've yet to be afforded access to file a formal complaint on the issue. They refused to acknowledge my ice and all the people I wrote asking to take my complaint have all failed to respond to my request.
There is a law called PREA. I'm sure you heard of it and the illegal phone restriction preventing me from filing a complaint to such.”
6)Some WIDOC solitary prisoners who would like to send statements and case sites
( including deliberate indifference , self harm etc)
Tommy Carter 389297 WCI
T Terrance Kirksey 688172 WCI
Fredrick Morris 579941GBCI
Jovan Williams 575056 CCI
Plea by Damien Green 384855, Prisoner in GBCI
“Torture in Wisconsin Prisons” :FFUP’s 2020 report
III Health care
Health care is abysmal throughout the system. When prisoners do finally get to outside treatment , the medicines and treatment prescribed are often ignored when they are returned to the the DOC. A special needs committee( SNC), with mostly non -health professionals, picks and chooses what the prisoner finally gets. And now, Dr Daniel LaVoie, Medical Director has ordered the withdrawal of meds and aids for all non- life threatening conditions. This includes psychotropic meds and those meds prescribed by outside doctors . It is well known that many meds used for emotional and mental issues MUST be reduced slowly when ending their use is needed.
New Lisbon Correctional Institution does not have a Doctor. We are told that when an emergency arises, a doctor In another institution fills out an order without seeing the patient. Other institutions share doctors. Shortage of all staff is the go -to excuse for the lack of care, however these shortage have only exasperated a long running problem of lack of respect for prisoners and low morale among staff, making real caring and care very rare.
1)The best source of information on the WI DOC health system is William Ledford 80495 CCI ( 1962, 60). He is a main litigator guide for FFUP and he helps a lot of people with their lawsuits and does win. He has diabetes and through the DOC malfeasance , has lost both feet. He has succeeded in getting Doctors “walked out” and is on top of all the corruption of the system- he is constantly being retaliated against-he is ready to share his expertise.
John Doe Petition by Bill Ledford : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-IYPciLB3nXMkAQXty_r97V_io65bavO/view?usp=share_link
2)Matthew Stechauner 378235 NLCI is another good source for health care information . He has severe untreated issues with his breathing and is also MH2 prisoner( has severe mental health issues including PTSD) all untreated. He has coped with his mental illness well through learning the law and helping other prisoners with their cases
He is now coming out from weeks of trauma after he was sexually assaulted at OSCI and after being moved to NLCI ( he thinks in retaliation). NLCI has no doctor and all his meds were take away. Finally he reverted to behavior he has not used in years=He was left to self harm for hours and hours was finally taken to the hospital where the nurses questioned how he was allowed to do such damage, He is still not getting treatment. ( his statement is under PREA section and he has all the documentation to prove his allegations
2) Carl McDaniel was recently released with multiply health issues, is now in wheel chair and litigated successfully while incarcerated and is continuing at least one case on the outside as the damage issues are still relevant- he was always hampered by the court's reluctance to issue an injunction due the precedents it would set so the issues would be resolved while the court watched and then all would revert back, Here is link to one case . contact information is available on request. link to one case “ https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EPWb84SYW-2vkU4QkEod_Oh-_Xad2wmA/view?usp=share_link
Luis nieves had all his meds taken away last September. He has stage 4 ling cancer, I am only following up on this now,
Luis Z Nieves 265717CCI ( 1975, 47, Puero Rican)
Mr. Koran, I been diagnosed with stage IV Lung Cancer(Terminal Ill) and I'm currently on chemo treatment twice a day(Alectinib Am/Bed) and all the suddenly CCI brought a new physician by the name of Dr.Sukowaty (which allegedly also is the WDOC Bureau of health services assistant medical director)and removed all the medical needs that were recommended by my UW-Cancer Center.Oncologist Dr.Toby Campbell and not only approved by the Former CCI Physician but also approved by CCI special needs committee and were permanent ; Claiming that not only meet the criteria for this need but that she also personally feel that I don't need them. MEDICAL MATTRESS -Recommended for my pain and comfort. DAILY SHOWERS - recommended due to the ongoing chemo treatment and on and off rashes. WASH ALL CLOTHES & LINEN W/ BLEACH ON THE UNIT Cont. WASH CLOTHES ON THE UNIT / BLEACH SEPERATE FROM OTHER INMATES - To minimize risk of exposure that will affect my on going condition. Also, UW- NEUROLOGY CLINIC scheduled a EMG due to complications with my hands falling sleep and again this Doctor cancel my appointment claiming I don't meet the criteria even thought it was UW-Neurologist deem necessary for a EMG to be perform. To all.this needs she simply stated that if I want comfort for my condition she can send me to the WDOC infirmary @DCI which was a cruel thing to say. Mr.Koran, I really need help to have all my medical needs reinstated before this negligence by this doctor cause the end of me before the cancer supposed to do it. I don't have anybody to help me on the outside so if in anyway you can help me it will be well appreciated; Hope to hear from you soon.
IV SUMMATION of some of the PREA Cases presented to FFUP
1)Derrick Smith-(344250), I have not heard from Derrick for several months and am reporting on an issue that was paramount a few years ago- “date rape” is what the prisoners call it. This is when a prisoner is drugged and then raped in his sleep, waking up to the pain and blood, unable to get appropriate attention, This was happening repeatedly to Derrick and I tried flutily to get him help and I attempted to get him tested with a rape kit in a timely manner. Even that was denied, although It would have settled the issue of whether Derrick was lying or not. Because Derrick was in solitary and only guards had access to him at the time, we knew this was abuse by staff. Derrick succeeded in getting transferred to WRC where he faced other issues and is now at WCI. The current state of no accountability for PREA abusers remains the same.
Daniel Peace 508684 NLCI, below, believe the retaliation is now getting is the result of his reporting a similar "date rape" he endured.
Below is link to a) my letter to then warden of CCI and PREA heads, b)original letter from Derrick and typed explanation /c)answer to my questions from Derrick. More letters, docs, available.
2)Jeff Poff’s (390966 WSPF) testicals were hit hard during a strip search- he ends up with a hernia because of it and constant pain. I called the warden about it and was assured and investigation would ensue but there has been none and Jeff has since written about a chain of corruption within WSPF- this is unfortunate as in my experience WSPF has the best environment for prisoners, with the guards will trained and in one prisoner’s words- they are “decent”. It is important that this possible corruption be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. Two letters original and one typed: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G485DRAG9_UCgu-CDvqthghtrvEm-VTA/originview?usp=share_linkd
3) Matthew Stechauner(378235 NLCI)was slapped hard on his butt by another prisoner and had an explosive reaction, attacking the guy who slapped him. He filed a PREA complaint which went unaddressed for weeks as Matthew’s anxiety rose- He was transferred to NLCI against his will and here the situation has escalated, with no therapy and very little understanding of what Matt is going through. He sits in Segregation now for a “bogus conduct report”.
The background to Matthew Stechauner’s case is that he was sexually abused as a child and has a long history of mental illness. HE has done very well by learning the law and helping people with their legal work. He has severe PTSD and this work helping others and studying the law has helped him overcome his emotional hurdles. The sexual assault back several months ago has been too much for him . He badly needs therapy and a new start.
This is one email, there have been many letters and emails:
4) Daniel Peace 508684 NLCI- believes he is the object or retaliation because he complained about a “date rape” similar to the one described in #1 above. What is currently happening is harassment and threats, accusations that HE is stalking and people and is gay. It started when he was exchanging letters with a close friend. They were sharing song lyrics and grew quite close. Derrick seems to not know the turning point but his friend went to the CO and reported Derrick as harassing him, Now this “friend” is spreading rumors about Derrick being gay and stalking others and he has received threats of physical harm. Derrick insists he is not gay and never approaches others on that level and his friendship with his accuser was not in the least sexual.
Daniel is particularly concerned because only one side of the story is told- his final letter to the friend , not the ongoing exchange or any of the friend’s letters The CO make no effort to clarify or protect Derrick and he is always “looking over his shoulder” as prisoners have been sent to Harm him.
Daniel needs at minimum a change of prisons.
Situation in Daniel’s words: typed and original: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14S6YFr1oN1wLvBI6fuLk5MjO-ALQhP5k/view?usp=share_link
5) Cory Akstulewicz(311424 OSCI)- Cory is Trans and has the chosen name ”Angela”. She is currently plagued by what she calls “false PREAS” which have cost her her jobs and peace of mind and landed her in TLP. There have been no charges but the harassment continues.
Link to Angie (Cory) Akstulewicz’s typed and Original letter ( part of a series of letters): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KkgYu-NvxlWxTrI27TH2nLXaE0TOTIBz/view?usp=share_link
6) Damien Green 384855 GBCI- here writes in crayon, his only tool of a guard that is harrassing him, in this incident lewdly watching him insert his catheter.
V WIDOC STAFF NOT ACCOUNTABLE / DOC not Accountable to the public:
most of the corruption relies on the fact that there are no working mechanisms with in the prison to hold accountable. Even when lawsuits are won and big money paid- the taxpayers pay the bill.
1)UNDERLYING ALL THE MALFUNCTIONS is a BROKEN INMATE COMPLAINT SYSTEM- the law is fine= what is needed is an independent body to assess the complaints= staff should not be the judge between prisoners and staff. The procedures are good but nothing works if it is run by the people the complaints are usually about. Same with the PREA process-
2) Families are gauged big time, an example: .
1)Property not protected when prisoners moved- stolen
When a prisoner goes to “the hole”, the guards have that prisoners’ cellie pack him up and almost always, all valuables disappear. This happens also when prisons are changed , There are rules against this- guards are supposed to do the packing,. there is tremendous gauging by the prison of families on every level.
3)The most catastrophic example of the above is the third part mailing system , for it greatly hinders the prisoners’ access to the courts and law learning and makes communication between families and the prisoners, especially for the poor, nearly impossible we have made a plea for lawyers for a suit by FFUP. We do this because FFUP would not be restricted by the PLRA and yet can still represent her constituents.. In this system all mail to prisoners go to MD where it is scanned and copied and then send tot he prisoner, the documents below presents the difficulties posed by textbehind > drugs flow in unabated-they come in through the front door and always have,:
Overview of case:TEXTBEHIND
This third party mail outfit was engaged by the WI DOC when the pandemic was raging and all prisons and about everything else was on lockdown. Fentanyl was coming into the prison in spray -on- paper form. The WIDOC was one of several prisons that engaged companies like textbehind (TB, stationed in Phoenix MD) to ensure that no mail from the outside touched prisoners’ hands From the beginning, prisoners and those of us who work with prisoners ,said this absolutely would not work unless guards were carefully screened upon entering the prisons as they are the main source of drugs.
The policy is strictly enforce even as doors are wide open and visiting resumed. Lawsuits by prisoners are unsuccessful as the WIDOC convinced the court that there have been fewer drug deaths since the policy was enacted. Prisoners tell us this is bogus, since the fewer drug deaths are due to the amped up response the guards are trained to do when there is an overdose suspected. The decrease in death is NOT due to the lack of the drug’s access. Prisoners tell us that guards will walk past and may even make snide remarks to a person cutting himself and ”bleeding out” or having an asthma or some other emergency, but are “speedy delivery” if it is fentanyl. “
A listing of complaints
1) The most common complaint- prisoners mail to the outside does not go through TB( Textbehind) and takes 2-3 days. Mail into the takes 2 weeks at minimum if you count from place of origin .Those who really keep track on both ends say it takes a month. Also, the quality is poor
2) FFUP Legal project is crippled (FFUP Sends out free internet legal guides, paired prisoner litigator guides and learners, provides stamps, copies etc)
a)Prisoner to prisoner mail must also go through TB. Since theoretically with TB, prisoners have no access to drugged paper, the very fact that prisoner to prisoner mail also has to go through Maryland makes no sense as far as stopping drugs. TB is disastrous for our legal project, however, for the court generally gives deadlines of 20 days and mail back and forth between learner and guide with TB takes a month ( two ways) at minimum.
b) For over 20 years FFUP has provided guides to prisoners learning the law : some composed by prisoners, some free from the internet. Thru USPS, this was relatively inexpensive with additional ounces being 25 cents. Now this is impossible.
C) Prisoners who do not sign the waiver to allow Textbehind to handle their mail get no mail, including legal mail. This is illegal in the extreme.
D) As intake worker and advocate, I am not able to respond in a timely way to prisoners’ pleas for help- Corrlinks ( prisoner email system) helps with those who have money and a tablet but most of the people FFUP helps have no money. Mail comes in to me in 2 days, my mail to them takes two weeks and is useless by that time usually. I occasionally use their web which is $1.10 for one side but I have no way of sending much of what I believe will help them.
3) NEWSLETTER: FFUP, a 501c3 non- profit, cannot send out its newsletter which was a major communication vehicle. The non profit rate is about 18 cents per newsletter ( up to 3 ounces). Textbehind web is $2 for one ounce and USPS is about 75 cents per.( one stamp).
4) PRISONERS IN SOLITARY: FFUP cannot communicate effectively or send in its “DEstress” and “solitary sharing” newsletters to a group of its main constituents= those in solitary confinement units called “Restricted Housing units.” (RHU) This is where many of the mentally ill are warehoused. In GBCI these prisoners are mostly Black and under 30. prisoners in RHUs generally only get a crayon or light pencil for writing, no crafts or art supplies. There is no treatment. With TB Parents and FFUP are almost completely shut off from this group. Self harm goes on constantly and our “DEstress Newsletter”was attempting to give them a “mind vacation” with news articles and puzzles games etc and with the “Solitary Sharing” newsletter we hoped to give some direction, some tools for coping in this difficult environment. Prisoners were beginning to submit their experiences and tips. We will be trying to restart this again with a few copies, seeing if they get in and whether we can verify delivery. This is the group where letters back and forth are essential to helping them preserve sanity and with TB , this group is cut off not only from FFUP , but also from their families. Often they get to make a call only once a month and none have access to corrlinks. .
5) FFUP has always concentrated its work on those with little or no money. For prisoners with families with money, TEXTBEHIND is merely an irritant, for they can afford the tablets that make letters less important and their families can afford the quick but very expensive TB web. For a large portion of the prison population however, TB means a drastic cutoff of their ability to communicate with the outside world. This in turn hinders their rehabilitation.
5) Finally, the real joy of this work has always been the back and forth of letters , with my letters taking two weeks to them and their arriving in two days, this is killed. I am personally heartbroken and FFUP is crippled.
Legal aspects of Text Behind
Right of prisoners to work with other prisoners on legal projects
Access to the courts
Privacy rights- TB scans and holds the scannings of the mail
Forced to give up rights or face no mail delivery
Legal mail not delivered in some prisons if TB waiver not signed
VII)Reports and statistics, A letters on overcrowding and under-staffing/
FFUP believes there is a crisis looming in our prisons with prisoners spending too much time in their cells and all functions cut, reports of fights and violence when they finally get out are commonplace as many people are not stable enough to maintain balance under such abuse.( also see section IIB)
Overcrowding and lockdowns
DOMINIQUE TOVSEN-CASERES DOMINIQUE (464183)/Monday, June 20, 2022 8:39 PM
We have guys down here in the treatment center in gbci having health issues that can be life threatening and staff and nurses are continuously brushing concerns and signs off as if there is not a significant concern to have to begin with..as if we are not humans but mere cattle to.the DOC...is reoccurring.... Now they have begun the twelve hour shifts...their are only two shifts now ...each one is twelve hours in duration...we will see how that goes and the result it has on the population of inmates throughout the state...the memo concerning jl. Marcus being
brought back was received here and is supposed to take affect on July 15th....
DOMINIQUE TOVSEN-CASERES on 7/2/2022 8:37:34 AM wrote :Extreme staff shortage in gbci New shifts are because of staff shortage. They give everyone the phone once on my unit now.. Kiosk once a week...rec once Mail later on pm shift
An average AC inmates used to get day room once a week and rec by themselves once a week and they haven't done that in two weeks
A lot of violators They send memos constantly... I'll forward latest one to u of my unit..
ABDIFATAH AHMED on 5/2/2022 6:47:31 AM wrote:There was big fight at the North Cell Hall on Friday's after noon they have choose to put use on lock down because they are taking advantage of the fighting. And on top off that it was the weekends so they put us on some what lock down. Is crazy how they can just do that next time it means if any lil fight's happened they would just put us on lockdown just like that. One off my resourses tells me the Inmate's in the solitary confinement don't get any Recreation right now. They are just being keep in there cells all day's 24/7 .
Abdifatah Ahmed 674071/ 5 4 22: We are on lockdown right now because of inmates fighting I don't know how long this will take But there is nothing going on right now. But chapel and HSU, law library and 30 out at a time for shower's. Other then that there is no Reaction (recreation?)at all. We are eating in our cell's right now on top off that there are using this to there advantage because there are short on staff's. No schools right now there is nothing going on Right now Peggy. The fight's took place at the north cell hall at GBCI in the front off the security director, Warden, and the Local Sherriff. After that they stayed to put them on lockdown
I have just writing a letter to the Governor Tony Evers office on how I'm not getting any Rehabilitation and how The GBCI education department are not letting me go to school. So I can do something with my life after I get out Prison on top off that I can have my GED or HSED before I get out prison. I have been weighting to get in schools for 5 Months now and they steel telling me I'm on the weighting listed.
If he don't do anything about this I will stared writing the Republican Governor's Runs, but that will be as soon I get more stamps.
WSPF LEDFORD WILLIAM (80495) /Tuesday, July 12, 2022 We are on lockdown today. They have "noticed us" that they will be slowing down operations (indefinitely) for several days a week due to "staff shortages." Which, of course, means that we are the ones that get screwed. In fact, we cannot even go out to get our meals; and cannot go out for the phones - they are bringing us the portable handheld phones to our cells. No law library - absolutely nothing
Friday, July 29, 2022 : AARON ROBINSON (565665)OSCI I am not sure if your aware but O.S.C.I cut our outdoor rec time. Units use to have rec daily from 8-10:45AM, then 1-4PM and finally 5:45-8:30PM. Now they changed it to a set schedule 3 day rotation of 8-9:30 am and again 5:45- 7:00. The following day will be 9:45-10:45AM. The last day will be 1-4PM. The issue with that is if its a heat advisory or a storm they shut down the rec yard. I dislike that but I'm learning to adapt. The D.O.C claims it due to staff shortages but its a reason to deny inmates another privilege. Besides that things are pretty normal. I love being outside. I go out there everyday and lay in the grass by myself to get a piece of mind.
CCI and NLCI by fine writer who knows both
Fights,stabbing in GBCI, one death when prisoners were released after weeks of lock down- fight over phone/prison reaction was to lock everyone down again. One prisoner was killed , one severely wounded
In another incident a very quiet and compliant man stabbed his cellie. The entire prison was put back on lockdown,
B) Guards working 12 to 16 hour shifts. All professional staff very short
a) Former guard essay:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-Hh-erXAXMsmiFkLe8Hx5gJt-bt8pp1/view?usp=share_link
Note on guard shortage- most prisoners tell me that there is no staff shortage as guards do the minimum and mainly sit around being “glorified babysitters”. The prisoners do ALL the work, for almost no pay ( cents and hour and the DOC takes most if not all for debts). Our governor proposes giving guard 36 dollars and hour to solve staff shortage- something wrong with this picture?
b) FFUP report from before the Pandemic by volunteer Ben Turk -https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ugB42aPnjNbf5ryFHnWGqIboaRYtNDDo/view?usp=share_lin”
VIII Women’s Prison in Fond du Lac ( TCI) :Particularly disturbing are reports from many women that they are force to walk without coats to their HSU( health services unit) , some 1/4 mile away four times a day get insulin and diabetes treatment, they are allowed to wear thermals but not coat or sweaters indigent diabetic prisoner ( they way about 15 have to take this journey four times a day uncovered, They are turned back untreated if they try to cover themselves with anything
C) Link to two letters: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NMiS17DpUS1D4PO1yKVXO0vdbF5gmhbL/edit?usp=share_link&ouid=110165518202991476262&rtpof=true&sd=true
Recently have calls from prisoners in other prisons that this system is being tried there
IX LAWSUITS AND EXHAUSTED COMPLAINTS ON EVERY ISSUE
We can provide case site by WI prisoners on all issues. But particularly those of the most extreme abuse- Here remedies will have been exhausted and the truth of the complaints will not be in much question. Here are a few reports of deaths and near deaths :
Timoth Durley in GBCI RHU speaks of his own untreated asthma attacks and the death of neighboring prisoner due to deliberate indifference
Death of antonio Wheatley
Letter to DOJ with multiple testiments/Sister’s number 434-446-1053(sister)
Antonio Wheatley and to others compiled by group abolishmke.com
TWO: Suicide of Joshua Bella and attempt by Mr Williams
WHAT WE FEEL IS NEEDED- First, the public needs to be educated on who we are incarcerating and what is happening in our prisons. The first task is ours, we advocates with the media, need to help get the prisoner’s stories out there. WE need to show that indeed- well over half the population has no business being in prison and until THAT Is fixed, the DOC cannot fulfill its mission. We hope for an investigation that will expose the corruption listed in this plea and reveal to the public the real reason for staff quittings and increased crime- our correction system is a horrible place to work for staff on the ground and it traumatizes vulnerable families, whole communities and prisoners.
Important healing steps:
1)A Mental Health treatment facility- few people get to the present facility (WRC) and then only for short time, after which they go back to the same non treatment and abuse under the DOC.
Best model is the lawsuit mandated one for the women’s prison in Fond du Lac ( Wisconsin Women’s Resource Center). Until recently, it was well run and I am told by former psychologists that it did not look like a prison, with lots of windows and lots of healing. The psychological staff had say over discipline and all old rules and policies were changed Since the pandemic I have gotten negative reports. But as a model , it still holds.
WIDOC PowerPoint REPORT on new mental health faciltiy put out shortly after opening:
The women’s prison in Fond du Lac ( TCI ) has a mental health facility,mandated in the
settlement of Flynn Vs Doyle,06-C-0537 in 2010. This facility is far superior to anything
the male prisoners have and we invoke the 14th amendment and demand that a similar
facility be build for the men’s prisons.
2)REDUCE PRISON POPULATION BY UNSTICKING RELEASE MECHANISMS! RELEASE THOSE PRISONERS WHO HAVE rehabilitated themselves-thousands ARE Eligible and no laws need to be changed, others can use mechanisms in place but have been blocked.
A) Unstick parolle for old law prisoners!
B) stop reincarceration for non felonies violations and enforce new guidelines for parole officers that truly support the newly released prisoner. Allocate enough funds so the POs(parole officers) CAN HELP and push for a system that rewards for PO that are successful in helping their charges successfully reintegrate into their communities.
C) Truth in sentencing is known by all to be a disaster= now is the time for real change- this needs to be done by the legislature and many of our congressmen are ready
D) Do serious evaluation of all our laws and practices that cause overincarceration . like the policy of not counting time on parole or supervision as prison time when revoked,
3) Investigation needs to undertaking on the PROCESS by which thousands of mentally ill are railroaded into prison ad how and why this fact is so well covered up, Then, the process by which these same individuals get stuck forever in solitary
3)STAFFING SHORTAGES and OVERCROWDING go together .The WI DOC lost its mission when it chose to take federal money and expand population X3. Warehousing became rule and scapegoating prisoners, exaggerating their danger became the means. As it is now, only those people who are desperate for the paycheck( which is huge due to Taxpayer paid overtime), on mission to help turn prison around ( and there are some) or aadists can stand to work there
a)stop the fearmongering and be honest with the public about what you need to fulfill your mission to rehabilitate the prisoners and keep the public safe. Work WITH advocacy groups like FFUP to educate the public on the benefits of a well run prison system in which ALL are held responsible for their actions, not just prisoners.
b) Set up a process by which DOC Madison and prison staff can meet regularly with families and groups like EXPO and FFUP to discuss ways to address systemic problems. Help us build a system in which people who want to help people want to work. We truly believe that the understaffing problem will go away if we together create an environment where the work is meaningful and fulfilling,
charts on “why We should Care”:these ARE OLD BUT THE TREND REMAINS THE SAME- GIVE A GOOD PICTURE OF WHERE WE ARE AT AS A STATE.
a) treatment advocacy center: #WI mentally ill in psychiatric hospital beds Vs WI mentally ill in our prisons
b)WI Budget Project, spending on schools V prisons
c)prison population Minn v WI
d) Numbers for yearly WIDOC admissions- shows reincarceration for non felonoes at a little over half.