Wednesday, April 24, 2013
WCEHTP : an intro
WCEHTP, WISCONSIN COMMITTEE FOR
ETHICAL AND HUMANE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS
FFUP was started out of citizen concern over the abuse and overuse of solitary confinement , the specific catalist being the opening of the Wisconsin Supermax in Boscobel. We were there when the Jones’el l awsuit won a few ”improvements”, mandating that mentally ill prisoners be removed from the Supermax. And the name was changed to “WISCONSIN SECURE PROGRAM FACILITY” or WSPF, a new general population was opened and after years of finagling, there is now and outdoor “pen area”for recreation.
But most those that started in solitary in the supermax are still in solitary in the same building , in the same conditions ( almost. In Wisconsin the status is called administrative confinement(A/C )and is reserved for those deemed too dangerous to be with the general prison population , has nothing to do with conduct reports and with periodic reviews, can last the prisoner’s entire sentence. In every WI maximum prison there are cells reserved for these A/C prisoners and as prisoners show signs of mental deterioration, the supermax lawsuit forces the authorites to move the prisoner out of WSPF. Where do they go? Into the other seg units in other prisons. These are older prisons, often darker , dirtier and less monitored, with fewer programs. . .
Although prisoners on a/c are supposed to get the same privilegdes as those in general population, the actual conditions are the worst of the system. Throughout the country the mentally ill are housed in segregation under a/c like status. Also here are the political leaders and we find in our research it is mostly Black and Hispanic leaders that are kept isolated from the general prison community.
After twelve years of pecking away at the edges of the solitary confinement, a few prisoners and FFUP have formed WCETP, WISCONSIN COMMITTEE FOR ETHICAL AND HUMANE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS. Here below are the main explaining documents. So far the courts are timid about addressing the inhumane conditions although much of the world considers US style long term solitary confinement torture. Our method is to attract experts and concerned citizens to the committee and slowly build a coalition that forces real change through lawsuit and political action etc.
At present, we are aiding in individual lawsuits by asking experts for affidavits and testimony to bolster the prisoners claims of inhumane treatment. We will be looking for a lawsuit that overturns to system that allows the prison to give conduct reports and prosecute mentally ill prisoners for conduct that is a direct result of their mental illness. WI is full of mentally ill prisoners who cannot take the humiliation, lash out and then are given extended sentences. So a prisoner can come into the system , mentally ill, with a minor charge and spend most his life.
The other group we focus on are the leaders, the excellent litigators and visionaries, most Black or Latino, who find themselves entombed. They are needed badly by their communities and our country .FFUP works with many of these men and finds that many have a new vision for America, a non violent and inclusive vision. They have been through the long tunnel that is solitary confineent and have been forced to go deep within themselves to access inner resources that few of us out here in this hectic world every encounter.
Here are main documents for WCEHTP
Wisconsin Committee for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Prisoners (WCEHTP)
General cover letter
Two forms for prisoners to fill out- Complaint, stress evaluation