Latest actions in Solitary suit: two orders from Judge Crabb and official version of complaint:
Today, June 25th, our long awaited lawsuit against the over use and abuse of solitary confinement went into the mail- a big effort spanning many years between prisoner litigators and FFUP
Letters to the judge needed-for more information,click here
Below, by scrolling , you can read the complaint on this blogpost, which has links to the exhibits. There is little formatting on this wonderful free blog, but it does the job. To view and print on pdf click here:
These documents went to the court with the complaint:
1) Cover Letter to Clerk of Court/ https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/cover-letter.pdf
3)copies of plaintiff's forms accepting FFUP as submitter of suit and verifying the accuracy of their individual complaint.
5) Exhibits accompanying the complaint:http://www.prisonforum.org/2018/06/exhibits-included-with-our-complaint.html
OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
|Animal in a Cage|
United States District Court Western district
Many possible prisoners, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated/
All Plaintiffs are or have been in long term solitary confinement in WI prisons
Joshua Scolman; Kamau Damali( Raynell Morgan), Robert Ward, Dennis Mix, Fredrick Andrew Morris ,Scott Brown, Timothy Sidney, Jovan Williams
Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin; Jon Litscher, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC); James Greer, Director, WDOC Bureau of Health Services (BHS); David Burnett, M.D., Medical Director, BHS; Kevin Kallas, M.D., Mental Health Director, DAI Administrator; Wardens of CCI , WCI , GBCI and WSPF; Security directors at CCI,WCI,WSPF; PSU Directors at CCI, WCI,GBCI, WSPF; HSU Managers at CCI, WCI,GBCI, WSPF ; unnamed John And Jane Does ,staff of CCI, WCI, WSPF and GBCI
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT or Joinder action
FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
NATURE OF THIS ACTION
1) Plaintiffs are all individuals who have been or are currently housed in solitary confinement for long periods of time in Wisconsin’s adult male prisoners. Regardless of its label,(segregation, administrative confinement, restrictive housing etc,) extensive research shows that the practice of subjecting individuals to extreme isolation causes pain, suffering, psychological and emotional trauma, physical injury, and, in extreme cases, death.
2) Plaintiffs allege that solitary confinement is imposed arbitrarily as a population control tool and conditions of confinement in Wisconsin solitary units constitute cruel and unusual punishment. It also imposes upon those subjected to it atypical and significant hardships, in violation of the eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
3) Plaintiffs further allege that there is a system wide failure to provide the minimum standard of safety, health care, mental health treatment or programming, food or hygiene to prisoners in solitary. They further allege that the WDOC’s overuse of solitary confinement causes and has caused psychological decomposition and has, generally, been injurious to the well-being of the plaintiffs and others similarly situated; that the WIDOC is aware of this but has not taken any serious steps to correct those failures other than window dressing in response to public, media, and legislative outrage.
4) Plaintiffs bring this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12132; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to remedy the gross deprivation of adequate mental health care and arbitrary use, overuse and abuse of solitary in the WI DOC.
5) Further, Plaintiffs claim Human Rights Violations under various Supreme Laws of the Land, Treaties, Conventions, Covenants made in concert with other nations. Both the Wis. constitution and federal constitution embrace customary principles of law.
(A) ARTICLE VI sect 2 of U.S.A. Constitution states:” all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby”
6) Major among the human rights treaties dealing with prisoners and signed by US are:
a) UDHR: United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (UDHR)” signed BY 48 nations including the US in 1948
b) CAT :”The “CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE” AND OTHER CRUEL AND INHUMAN ,OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT” ratified by United States of America on October 21st, 1994
c) MANDELA RULES: a revised addition of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners ,these were adopted unanimously On December 17, 2015, by the 70th session of the UN general assembly .
d) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights -The ICCPR is a key international human rights treaty, providing a range of protections for civil and political rights. The ICCPR, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, are considered the International Bill of Human Rights.
e) International law of JUS COGENS, which is a peremptory norm , a fundamental principle of international law that is accepted by the international community of states as a norm from which no derogation is permitted.
7) This Court has subject matter jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because this action arises under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3) because this action seeks to redress the deprivation, under color of law, of Plaintiffs' civil rights.
8).This Court has jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§§ 2201 and 2202, and Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
9).This Court has jurisdiction to grant injunctive relief pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
10). Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because some Defendants reside in this district and because a substantial part of the events and omissions giving rise to Plaintiffs' claims occurred in this district.
11)(A) Joshua Scolman 422508 WCI ( bd1983,34y.o.) ( Arbitrary placement on AC- deteriorating mentally)
Mr Scolman has been incarcerated for 11 years. H e has been placed in solitary confinement on numerous occasions for from 3 months to a year. In 2016 he served a year in solitary and then was placed on A/C.
12) He participated on the 2016 hunger strike that protested solitary confinement conditions and wrote an affidavit that testified that his mental faculties were deteriorating due to the psychological torture he was enduring and that after he was through with the disciplinary side of his solitary, they were going to place him on AC.
13) His description at the time: “I’m subject to psychological torture, which leads to continual deterioration of my mental faculties. I am denied human contact, which leads me to further anti-social behavior, which in turn causes me more problems. It is a slippery slope. I am currently held in a cell with a window facing a brick wall, no view of nature, the sky, sun or outside life. …. I have contracted many psychological “ticks” such as OCD, communication problems, and PTSD. I’m continually stressed out over insignificant things. And it’s only getting worse. “
14) He is asking for help in getting a transfer out of WCI as he’s been housed there for 11 years and feels he is being constantly harassed and retaliated against and believes a new start would help.
We ask for injunctive relief to facilitate this exit from WCI.
15)His original AC status was because he assaulted a staff member. He states the staff member was shouting obscenities at him, approached his cell door and Scolman reacted. After being placed on AC he was accused of being a member of the Aryan Brotherhood which he attests was fabricated.
16)Mr Scolman has gone over 2 yrs without being allowed to worship his religions of Asatru/Odinism due to lack of religious property and religious services at RHU. These issues are a violation of his rights under RLUIPA(Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ), and seriously harm him spiritually and morally. Odinism is an allowed religion in GP. There are services every other week and all religious property is allowed in cells in GP. This applies to all religions. Mr Scolman contends that the DAI- WDOC policy actually allows these items in RHI but WCI refused to let Joshua Scolman have them even though they are approved and in his property. Long term seg is impeding his worship.
17)Mr Scolman has gone 2 years without any outside rec as all rec cages are indoors. This lack of outside exposure creates serious health risks to Mr Scolman ‘s mind and body. There is no outside rec in RHU/WCI.
18) Mr Scolman has deteriorated precipitously in solitary, feels he is severely depressed, overwrought with stress he is unable to bear, and has been psychologically disabled. He is receiving some treatment and is still at risk for an imminent psychological breakdown which is not being taken seriously.
19) He explains the treatment he receives is a “monthly visit with the psych who only talks about things that MAY help. But I keep trying to explain that I have no concentration or focus anymore. I can’t even read or watch tv because my mind wanders and I perpetually daydream about violence and past actions and future. Basically I am enslaved in a fantasy. I also explain that everything makes me mad. I can’t be around people cause I get agitated and sweat profusely and the anxiety stresses me out. I focus on little things that set me off, OCD things like dirt on my door, people who touch my stuff. I have become harder because I can’t let things go. Loud noises send me into a rage. But she doesn’t really care or take it seriously. They won’t even prescribe anything to help. I wrote the psychiatrist (different lady) but haven’t received any word back.”
20) Kamau TZ Damali, FKA Raynell Moran 2979380 CCI , (BD 1976, 41yo) (Mental Health compromised and affected by solitary confinement) Alkebu-larian (Black ) male, Spent 14 years in solitary confinement at Wisconsin’s Supermax, now WSPF.
(The Following is in his words)”He began to experience crawling sensations( i.e. bugs living as parasites under his skin) in April 2003, which he believes is caused by a disease the CIA through HSU staff at Boscobel infected him with. This disease not only causes the crawling sensations. It causes him to feel dirty all the time which causes him to wash and bird bath compulsively, and this is how he developed OCD. He scratches his body, arms until they bleed to get the bugs out and to stop the crawling. He sweeps his cell floor 10 times a day and this prevents him from focusing exclusively on other things.
21) When he complained to the Health Services Staff about these sensations and accused them of being with the CIA and contaminating him with a disease responsible for said sensations, they referred him to psychological services at WSPF but he declined and didn’t begin meeting with them until January 29th, 2007. Psychological services at WSPF diagnosed him with OCD, Mood disorder, dyssomnia and paranoid personality disorder.
22) March 10th and 11th 2011 he was evaluated at WSPF by an outside clinician from WRC names Teri Sell and she diagnosed him with OCD and PTSD with paranoid features. She recommended he be transferred to WRC for treatment and further evaluation by a psychiatrist. He was transferred from WSPF to WRC May 31st, 2011. He was evaluated by Dr Shekar for 4 hrs who diagnosed him with psychotic Disorder, not otherwise specified and PTSD. Dr Shekar believed that what psychology believed was OCD was actually part of a psychotic disorder. Kamau wasn’t compliant with prescribed medications and was sent back to WSPF august 23rd, 2011. Due to him being diagnosed with psychotic Disorder, he was not supposed to be sent back to WSPF and psychological services at WSPF sent him to GBCI Oct 18th,2011. Since he was in AC seg status he was housed in GBCI’s notorious seg building.
23) In Dec 2011 PSU AT GBCI referred him back to WRC for a diagnostic clarification. He was transferred from GBCI to WRC 4-12-12 and remained there until Oct.11th 2012. Dr. Jose Alba was his assigned psychiatrist who evaluated him and diagnosed him with delusional disorder, persecutory and somatic types.
24) He was released from AC seg status at GBCI 4 4 13 (he was in seg from 1999 to 2013 for prisoner activism) and was placed on its transition unit for 8 months before being placed in GBCI’s North Cell Hall. It was difficult and his symptoms became worse. Consequently Dr Zirbel, his then assigned clinician at GBCI referred him to WRC for anxiety treatment. He was transferred from GBCI to WRC 3 12 14. He didn’t get along with the psychiatrist there, who felt his paranoia made it too difficult to work with him and sent him back to GBCI May 28th,2014. After meeting with his clinician Dr Zirbel and a new psychiatrist, Dr Stonefeld, who felt Kamau was experiencing an acute anxiety episode, he was placed back on the transition unit that day ( 5-28-14). June 30th, 2014 Dr Zirbel put in a referral for him to be housed at CCI’s Special Management Unit SMU, a unit for prisoners that suffer from serious psychiatric issues and have a hard time coping in a regular general population setting. The referral was accepted 8 8 14 by Dr Stephany A Trevino and he was transferred from GBCI to CCI SMU 9-2-14.
25) Dr Trevino left in Aug. of 2015 and SMU ( unit 6 and 7) was assigned to Dr K Strange. On Nov. 25th, 2015, Kamau was transferred to WRC as an urgent transfer by Dr Strange because she felt his beliefs, which they diagnosed as delusions, Paranoid delusions, were compromising his health. He fears the food because he believes its tainted with diseases and microchips . He was at WRC for 11-25-15 to May 27th, 2016. While there . he was placed on a sealed meal halal diet for paranoia by Dr Kate Keshena.
EVENTS IN CCI
26)Due to his beliefs that the CIA implanted microchips in his brain ,he joined class action that began in Feb 2013 while he was still on AC at GBCI but didn’t come into fruition until December 2015. When he returned to CCI SMU he was placed on SMU-unit 7. SMU unit 6 was assigned to Dr Maria Gambaro. He was moved from 7 to 6 (SMU) 8 1 16. He met with her (Gambaro) -8-8-16 and accused her of being a CIA operative. She told him he was making trouble for himself and other prisoners. He filed a complaint (ICI) in September 2016 about the CIA using prison staff to silence him out of retaliation for the class action that accused them of experimenting on prisoners , him being chief among victims of said experiment, and Dr Gambaro then began accusing him of malingering, Kamau believes , to justify getting him removed from the special management unit.
27) In December of 2016 his MH code was reduced from MH2 to MH1.
28)Due to traumatic events at Supermax concerning the food and his beliefs that the CIA through staff implanted microchips in his brain , through food, which causes him to hear snap, crackle and pop noises that precipitate migraines, anxiety and severe sleep deprivation, he does not eat institution food. When he tries to eat institution food that does not contain microchips such as vegetables and bread, he becomes violently ill. When he eats sealed food he does not fall ill. If he runs out of canteen he doesn’t eat anything and puts his life at risk unintentionally. He has never been on hunger strike. When his depression gets the best of him, he acts on suicidal tendencies by way of not eating. (starvation).”
29) Mr Damali continues to believe that microchips are in his brain, that the CIA is trying to kill him. On 12 6 17 and 4 18 18 he was evaluated by an outside psychiatrist and is waiting for results. This came about because Dr Gambaro based her opinions and decision to reduce his MH-Code from 2 to1 on false information, information that she knew was false. While Mr Damali hopes for an improvement in care , the fact is his physical and mental health has been and continues to be severely compromised by the callous indifference of the staff and his long term of solitary confinement. He is forever plagued by voices and what he calls ”snap , crackle pop “in his head ,and feels he is crawling with bugs and washes incessantly. All this causes severe migraines and sleep deprivation .
30) (C) Robert Ward 515599 WSPF, (1990 27 y.o.) ( AC placement bogus/to be released 11-26-18 directly from AC /has hard time being around people, was refused WRC/ )
SELF HARM -DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE-Before 2014 he was at CCI where he received no treatment. At CCI he cut himself badly twice after warning staff that he was suicidal. He has exhausted his remedies on deliberate indifference as the staff did nothing to help him after he told them he was afraid he would try to kill himself. He cut a deep gash in his arm. He has a suit in court on this issue, has asked for counsel and been denied.
31) While at CCI ( 9 17 16)guards did a random cell search Around 9 17 16 and when Robert returned to his cell his radio was shattered and a lot of law library notes were taken . ICE complaint was rejected. “They really trying to break me. It was only the 20 dollar radio, but that’s the only thing keeping me sane.”
32) He was transferred to AC at WSPF 10 16, he believes in retaliation, after having his mental health diagnosis downgraded from MH2 to MH1. Although in the past he had had conduct reports while in solitary for “disruption” due to self harm, his only conduct report while in GP was refusal to cell with a homosexual. For this he was given 120 days disciplinary separation (DS) and then put on Administrative confinement (AC) in WSPF.
33) New system of “Warnings” threw him off HROP program ( high risk offender program) with no due process: He was completing the HROP program which he says is a paper program to fill out and time- one year. He was given a “warning” and placed back to start of program – a year more to do. He was accused of yelling during quiet hours and says he did not do that. With the new program, a “warning” requires no due process. He had done the “program,” before, which was paper work and now has a year to go. He will be released November of 2018.
34) His greatest fear is his inability to tolerate being around people after so long in solitary. He has repeated requested treatment at WRC before release in 2018 and been denied .He spends his days pacing his room- walking in a circle. Has developed an acute fear of being with people, afraid he will snap out when leaving solitary and will not do well around people when released. Has repeatedly requested treatment as have advocates and now has only 4 months before release and is afraid his anger will make it hard for him to succeed.
35) Robert is now refusing to see WSPF staff while DOC letters to advocate’s inquiries say that Robert needs to work with them, that WRC does not have a policy of banning AC prisoners from transferring there but they do not generally accept AC prisoners. Advocate was told by WRC staff that each prisoner is evaluated independently before being accepted for treatment and WDOC status is not a consideration.
36) As his release date gets closer and closer, the need for real treatment is desperate. The prison says they will not refer him to treatment at the Wisconsin Resource Center (WRC) because he is on AC but Nothing in his behavior justifies AC placement, that he was pushed back to the beginning of the HROP program with no due process, that he is in AC for no justifiable reason makes this young man’s rage understandable and staying in his cell is one way for him to cope. He has completed four prison programs.
37) After not hearing from him in many weeks, advocate visited Robert Ward on June 21, 2018 and was told that Robert had not received any of the 4 packs of embossed envelopes ordered for him. Also Robert went into deep depression and cut himself severely in early May and was sent to the hospital. For this he was given 180 days disciplinary seg(DS), and charged restitution for the hospital bill. After his DS he will be returned to AC. Advocate could not take notes and this is bare bones of the story. Robert asked for a tv or something to help him better cope with time in solitary ahead. Although PSU has tvs they loan for that purpose, they told him he could not have a tv because of his “bad Behavior” This is another example of a prisoner acting out the symptoms of his mental illness and then being punished for it in such a way as to ensure worsening of those symptoms.
38)Robert Ward suffers from severe depression, self harm impulses, anxieties, and other psychiatric deficits but is receiving no treatment. He is one of many who will be released in a few months untreated and at risk of an imminent psychological breakdown. He needs to go to WRC before release and thus has standing to seek injunctive relief.
39)D)Dennis Mix 499033 CCI, bd1987, 31yo in CCI- hung himself in Solitary- settled his case on deliberate indifference and was put back in similar situation. FFUP first made contact with him because of a concerned letter from a neighbor.
His case #2 14–cv-01172 WCG was concluded in 2017 which was settled because, according to Mr Mix, the DOC tampered with a key witness “which made me afraid and I settled.”
40) “I was in Waupun in June 26,2017. I was medium custody. I was waiting for a bus to take me to medium. A big fight broke out. The Warden in WCI said he was going to give me a fresh start, he felt I didn’t start the incident and was targeted. I refused to press charges or debrief officials. I never told or gave statement. They sent me to WSPF where I filed an inmate complaint about being in Boscobel.
41) Was given MH1 diagnosis and transferred to WSPF contrary /against Federal Screening process without being screened after being denied admission in the past and warned in documents, signed by Doctor Schwartz Oscar, that WSPF would exacerbate mental illness.
42) I get to Portage and they place me on AC when I’m done with my 120 DS. I’m bipolar and I have PTSD severe along with waking up in the middle of the night sweating and cold.”
42a) Diagnosis of a) mood disorder b) psychosis unspecified, c) Bipolar and schizoaffective disorder, 4) Post traumatic stress disorder chronic, 5) polysubstance dependence, in remission, 6) Antisocial personality disorder ,
43) PSU Supervisor Dr White and Dr Shwinn have downplayed my diagnoses saying “We’ve been told by Madison not to change MH levels . We can have only so many. You are not the only one who should be MH2.” Dr White wrote me a letter review dated 3/13-18 saying MH code denied but she never saw me until 3 22 18.(ICE report CCI-2018 W-6749). When I complained, I was denied my psych medication for schizoid disorder and psychosis for over two weeks. (ICE receipt CCI 2018-8993)
44) “I have not left segregation since June 26, 2017 and I’ve been incarcerated 11 years with 6 to go and I’ve done 8 years at least in solitary confinement, 24 hour lockdown .”
45) “I have 6 years until my release 2-13-24. I fear I will kill myself before that. They moved us to unit 7B where upstairs is housed all AC prisoners when it overflows downstairs where all their MH seg prisoners are. I don’t know if I should be downstairs or upstairs. They wake up screaming in middle of the night and it makes my issues worst. It’s rough. If you complain about this they will write a CR and say you threatened them. This keeps complaints to a minimum”.
46) WDOC often places severely mentally ill prisoners in solitary as a control too though this only worsens their conditions and makes it impossible to get treatment. This plaintiff is at imminent risk for a psychological breakdown and another suicide attempt.
”We are on 24 hour lockdown. I’ve appealed my placement but it’s well known what happens when I’m in seg long. All it takes is one day I’m paranoid. They say my history- well, the violent fight was in 2017 and I hadn’t had a fight before that since 2014 –that’s 3 years.”
( note: Advocate was alerted to this guy’s situation by a concerned Inmate neighbor)
47)E )Fredrick Andrew Morris 579941 GBCI; (born 1992 25YO) Background: grew up in Chicago with gangs, many in his family in prison. Eloquently puts situation: ” I have mental issues but PSU here in GBCI sums my mental issues up with three words: ‘antisocial personality disorder’ but I think of people who grew up in Chicago , Minneapolis. Studies show that people who grew up like I did have mental issues of people in the third world war- torn countries.
48) I didn’t choose the streets like most people do, I was born in the streets. That is why I have nightmares, hear voices, see things, feel things, because I am really unstable. Just because I don’t hack chunks out of my body GBCI sees my mental health issues as nothing but if do something, hurt someone everyone says “why did he snap like that?” I need meds for my mental issues. I need a PSU who will help me, not go tell people of what I tell them so others look at me some kind of way.”
49)The first is I have been in seg 3 years 3 months . Each time it is close to time to release me they have either given me a 180 or 120 DS. I have told many people of the problems I am having at GBCI. It has went to the same security advisor Vanlanen tells me he will transfer me out of GBCI .It turns out to be a lie each time I have been retaliated against, antagonized, provoked, set up, and tortured. This is a brief but fact on security.
50)I have hyperthyroidism in which it effects all aspects of my life- I lose weight faster than people who do not have my disease – I burn calories very fast, I should be place on some form of double portion or something to supplement the calories I lose. I have high blood pressure and was on high blood pressure meds but GBCI said since my blood pressure was in range they discontinued them. High blood pressure does not go away so I am currently at risk for stroke, heart attack right now. I should be on some sort or mental health medicine for PTSD, hearing voices, seeing things , mood swings. But they refuse me this. –That is Health Service Unit.
51)Asks for change of prison as he thinks it will give him a new start. He has attempted suicide in solitary many times and is currently receiving no treatment. He is at imminent risk for a psychological, breakdown.
52) F. Scott Brown 567501, CCI (bd1990 out 11 2019) Scott Brown is 27 years old and has cut himself severely numerous times and is trying to get to WRC for been incarcerated for approximately 11 years, much of it in solitary. In a 2015 letter he states: “I’ve been trying to get in touch with law firms or even anyone that can help me receive the proper treatment for my mental illness. I’ve been struggling to get evaluation done for my mental illness.”
53) He describes his present solitary time thus: “I’ve been in the hole for two months and a week, since January 2nd. “ I had a seizure broke my jaw and chin. I have been going back and forth to UW Madison hospital for checkups on my jaw. I had surgery on my jaw and a metal plate put in my chin. But anyway they thought drugs had something to do with it I had to take a test to urinate out the test came back negative”. Despite the negative test result he was given a ticket and sent to “the hole”. He has received three more tickets while on observation which “I was not supposed to get” and now faces 120 days in” the hole.”
54) When on observation status he cut himself three times: “Once I got 10 stitches, the second time I got 5 stitches and the third time I got 15 stitches from my biceps to my inner forearm 6 and a half inches long. I have been stressed out being here at CCI cause everything I do I am punished and put in the hole for no reason.”
55) In his letter of May 2018, he states he is out of solitary but teetering between solitary and general population: “I was in the hole in 2017 in July for a very long time for cutting myself. I wrote the security director up, and the PSU supervisor and the unit manager too. I just got out of observation for cutting myself on Saturday the 27th2017 second shift. I have a medical ice bag and coming back from medication I was told but this officer I can’t get my ice bag and he wrote me a ticket for refusing to lock in when actually I was just asking for my ice bag. I locked in and started cutting on myself .I had to go to the hospital for stitches cause the cut was long and very wide and I lost a lot of blood but anyways I am back on the unit and I got a ticket for refusing to lock in and they are trying to give me confinement where I got to stay in the cell and can’t come out for nothing but my tray and showering. That will make me feel like I am in the hole again.
56) I go home next year and have been asking to go to WRC for prerelease and I will get better mental health treatment there. And here in GP I don’t get to come out of my room like I do in WRC. Being here is no help for me –I just keep ending up in observation for acts of self – harm and depression. I go home November 5th 2019 and I am not aware how I am going to be it’s been 11 years since I been locked up.”
57) He is punished for behavior over which he has no control and is punished for behavior while on observation status. He begs for real treatment. Of particular concern is that major conduct reports are for self harm something over which he has no control.
58) Rather than provide him with any treatment, he is punished for behavior that is impulsive and compulsive with more time in conditions which have been internationally recognized as giving rise to such behavior or the disorders such behavior is systematic of.
59)G.) Timothy Sidney 480018 WCI, (bd1988, 29 y.o.) out 5 23 19 Letter 5 10 17:” I write in regards to mental health, my mental health! I been incarcerated a little over 7 years and I’m worst! Long story short 2011 until 2012 I had not one scar on my body, now my body will tell you 7 years worth of cruel unusual acts in scars! From 2012 until 2015 I was housed in segregation from Waupun , to Boscobel , to Green Bay, to WRC , back to Waupun! As I write you this letter I’m currently housed in Waupun seg unit on strike, Cause I’m subject to all type of cruelty, aged trays, Impartial Hearing, Excessive force, dirty cell guards, no mental health treatment for my PTSD, So I cut a lot for grounding.
60)COs (correctional officers)here in their seg building, CO Beahm ,CO Demers, CO Pole are putting razor blades, unprescribed pills in my cells even in my observation cell before being placed on suicide watch and I’m sending proof enclosed in this letter
61)some people want a way, some want lawsuits , some want revenge, but I just want help, treatment because I go home soon and I don’t want to go home like this, so please reach out because I’m to the point of no return! ". This plaintiff is being incited to self- harm by guards known for their history of prisoner abuse. He seeks an immediate Injunction.
62)Another thing I think you should know is I was housed in seg from 2012 to 2015 off ticket for overdosing and cutting and my records speak for they self this is no lie your reading. The charges was either misuse of medication or disfigurement. All I ask is that you reach, because I need to be touched.
63)Jovan Williams 575056 WCI (bd1993, 24yo)Jovan Williams was incarcerated at age 19 and has been in prison in restrictive Status housing for more than 2 years, approximately January 2016 until now. He believes he was originally put in restrictive housing Status for disobeying orders and was given 90 days. He is still there. He has not been giving outside of cell recreation nor allowed to go outside for long periods. Due to DAI policies and procedures he was given 45, 90 and 105 days of loss of rec.
64)He is diagnosed as MH-1 and is continually put around prisoners with MH-2-A and 2-B and says there are no psychological treatment given to any of them. “ I never thought I will have all of these scars on my body and mental, but look at the result of what I have gone through being incarcerated in these settings . I don’t know if I will be able to function in the community without help. I have reached out more than several times for help to get back to reality but get nothing. This setting is full of boredom, hostile ways from people. This is dangerous-which leads me to self destructive ways, suicidal thoughts, self harm and suicidal attempts which only make my psychological state worse than it was at the beginning.
65)His history of self harm is extensive.
a)GBCI: While on Clinical observation at GBCI He attempted to kill himself by suffocation with a plastic bag, which was given him by staff. He has a case on court on this:2017-cv-00452-jpd.
b)On February 28 2017, while still in clinical observation he had a mental breakdown “ due to me not being able to handle these conditions and not receiving the proper tools to help me mentally. I began to cry and shiver and beg staff to kill me. It took for staff to strap me down to a bed to prevent me from further self harm.” ( on video).
c)ON 8 2 17 staff did not report his cutting himself. C.O. Schroeder was a witness and he got no medical care.
d)On 12 18 2017 he overdosed on a lot of medication in front of Dr S. Schwait-Z-Oscar Ph.D. Psychologist. He was put into clinical observation. Cpt.Van Lanen intervened and Dr S Schwartz-Oscar had to come to HSU to verify that he did indeed take the overdose.
e)WCI: I was transferred to WCI on December 26, 2017 “where I continued to experience extreme events in the Disciplinary Separation settings.” He overdosed, hurt himself and was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
66) He asks to be properly diagnosed at WRC and to be sent to WRC for programs /groups for his diagnosis. He says there is one word for his environment: “ Unbearable!”
67) H) Group of inmates mentally ill and unable to communicate well or exhaust remedies. Most of the time in endless seg, few mental tools to deal with environment and often get increased charges for acting out. However all allege long term solitary with lack of treatment for their severe psychiatric difficulties. Thus, they are added as tentative plaintiffs and should discovery show colorable claims, Complaint will be amended to add facts.
68) discovery is needed on these inmates and others that cannot speak for themselves . This is tip of ice berg of who is in long term solitary in the WI system, unable to communicate or get help:
68)h1)Davin Rollins 278690 GBCI (BD 1979 38 y.o.) - Davin is manic depressive ( bi Polar) and sends long illegible letters when manic which belie his true abilities. His condition is exasperated by his lack of meaningful things to do. His mother is engaged in helping him knows he is very bright and would do well with a real opportunity. He is vulnerable to abuse and has no tools to cope with life in this system. Mother would like him to be part of this.
6 21 18- Advocate recently got a call from his mother that Davin is not receiving his meds, was taken to a part of the cell hall with no cameras and was sexually assaulted ; is often not receiving his food or it is thrown on the floor or foreign substance are put in it.( he says urine) We ask that he be sent to WRC.
68)h2))Timothy Crowley 243754 GBCI ( BD1976, 42 y.o.) - deaf, going blind/mentally ill/ came to prison with few years – now has over 20 years in- always in some kind of seg for acting out- easy target and does strike out getting more charges. FFUP worked hard to get him Braille lessons which finally came but there was no one to help him with it and the project failed. Many suicide attempts.
68)h3)Terrance Grissom 193184 CCI( BD 1970, 48 y.o. )- advocate has had letters from concerned inmates about him. We are told he is either drugged to a stupor or loud and assaultive. Gets a lot of cases, mother in another state, wants him there. Both states have refused- no interstate agreement they say .Needs concerted effort to transfer him out of WI.
68)h4 )William Jones 473038 GBCI, (BD 1990 28yo) / FFUP advocate was alerted to this man in mid June by a worried neighbor. Our information about him thus far is incomplete but is enough to include him here:
“I been in segregation since November 2016 and I’m on AC status. I initially came to seg for enterprising and fraud and received a predetermined 90-D-seg tine. I completed the entire 90 no issues, then was placed on AC. My AC review meeting had so many violations I cannot go into detail here. But I am on AC because the administration ‘’said” : “for the safety of others” but I got no violent tickets, no drug tickets. Since I been in seg I have not received no proper mental health treatment and I’m a MH2. My diagnosis are major depression. PTD, Anxiety and ADHD . I was convicted of armed robbery and I am appealing that currently. “
69 II. Defendants
Defendant Scott Walker is Governor of the State of Wisconsin. As such, he has the ultimate state authority over the care and treatment of the plaintiff class. Governor Walker is obligated under state law to supervise the official conduct of all executive and ministerial officers and to appoint and remove the subordinate defendants named herein. He has control over the monies
allocated to WDOC by virtue of his authority to present to the legislature WDOC's annual budget and to veto or sign legislation appropriating funds for prison medical care.
70)Defendant Jon Litscher is Secretary of the WDOC. As such, he is the legal custodian of all prisoners sentenced by the courts of Wisconsin for felony offenses, and is responsible for the safe, secure and humane housing of those prisoners. Litscher is responsible for the administration and operation of WDOC, including the provision of medical, dental and mental
health care to Wisconsin prisoners.
71)Defendant James Greer is the Director of the WDOC Bureau of Health Services (BHS). As such, he is responsible for the administration and provision of medical, dental and mental health care services to individuals in WDOC custody, and for developing and ensuring compliance with policies and procedures related to correctional health services in Wisconsin.
72)Defendant David Burnett, M.D., is the Medical Director at BHS. As such, he is responsible for the administration and provision of medical services to individuals in WDOC custody, and for the quality and adequacy of those services. Burnett supervises and has direct authority over all medical doctors and nurse practitioners who work for the WIDOC.
73)Defendant Kevin Kallas, M.D. Defendant Kevin Kallas, M.D., is the Mental Health Director at BHS. As such, he is responsible for the administration and provision of mental health care services to individuals in WDOC custody, and for the quality and adequacy of those services. Kallas supervises and has direct authority over all psychiatrists who work at TCI, and provides technical assistance to the WIDOC wardens in supervising the prison's psychological services staff.
74) Wardens of CCI . WCI. GBCI, WSPF are the legal custodians of all prisoners housed at in their facilities and they are responsible for the safe, secure and humane housing of those prisoners.
75) Security directors at CCI,WCI,WSPF are responsible for providing security and protection to all staff , prisoners and visitors at the facility where they work.
76)PSU Directors at CCI, WCI,GBCI, WSPF are responsible for the administration and provision of mental health care services to individuals in WIDOC custody, and for the quality and adequacy of those services.
77) HSU Managers at CCI, WCI,GBCI, WSPF are responsible for the daily administration and functioning of the HSU.
78) unnamed John And Jane Does ,staff of CCI, WCI, WSPF and GBCI
79) All Defendants are sued in their official capacities. At all relevant times, all Defendants were acting under color of state law; pursuant to their authority as officials, agents, contractors or employees of the State of Wisconsin; and within the scope of their employment as representatives of public entities, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).
80).This legal action concerns the overuse and abuse of solitary confinement in Wisconsin’s prisons. The Wisconsin case is complicated because the courts ruled in 2002 that the then Boscobel Supermax could not house mentally ill inmates and there have been rules put forth by the DOC administration in Madison that if followed would go a long way toward reform. It is our information and belief however, that neither the court order nor the solitary limiting guidelines and rules are followed, and that with various forms of subterfuge, a reduction in use of solitary confinement looks good on paper when in actuality the use is expanding daily . We believe that in order to understand the changes needed , it is important to look at how our system became so overcrowded and how it lost its mission to rehabilitate and keep the public safe.
81)The Wisconsin prison system today is the product of a perfect storm of what many now think were short sighted laws and executive actions first initiated in our nation’s capital in the 1990’s. The first of these decisions was the closing of our mental hospitals without providing viable alternatives. This has left the mentally ill and their struggling families with no affordable place to go for help and prison has become for many the final wall to end destructive behavior.
82) Prisons are our defacto mental hospitals and according to all current monitors, over a third of the inmates in Wisconsin are mentally ill.
83)The second factor in our perfect storm was 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)the 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 famous memo by the then Governor Thompson, which swept all inmates then and for the future under the draconian Truth in sentencing laws(TIS)
84) Increased penalties under the new law and the ending of true parole meant that the prison population went from 7000 to 23 thousand in a short decade. Prisons became THE growth industry and a perfect job program in a time when manufacturing and farming jobs were disappearing. In Wisconsin, Spending skyrocketed on prisons while in states like MN , money was put into community services and crime prevention. Spending on education took deep cuts .
85)Jump forward to today and we see Wisconsin saddled with stuffed prisons in which the mission to rehabilitate prisoners and keep the public safe has been largely lost. Conditions for staff have deteriorated to the point there is a severe shortage of staff at all levels from professional health care staff to guards .
86)We contend that to cope with lack of staff and overcrowding, The Department of Corrections in Wisconsin is using solitary confinement as its main population control tool. Also Wisconsin continues to treat prisoners as unredeemable and deserving of punishment only.
87)This is particularly acute in our solitary confinement units, whatever they are named by the DOC. Here the harm done is long lasting and devastating .
Public safety Issue
88) Perhaps of greater concern to the public than effects of our policies on prisoners , however, is that those WI DOC has also abandoned its mandate to keep the public safe. It releases the truth in sentencing inmates ( TIS) regularly as the law demands often without treatment or training and virtually no support upon release.
89)Those who have been in solitary are often released directly from solitary or with a short interlude. Many TIS inmates beg for treatment at Wisconsin Resource Center (WRC), the one treatment center available to the system- before release and are not given a referral. Each prison’s social workers are tasked with referring disabled prisoners of their choice to an organization that prepares SSI benefits before release but that does not happen for most mentally ill prisoners and they are released little hope of success. A letter from one inmate writing one month before release sums up the situation: “I get released in a month back to the same neighborhood where I was before prison . I have had no treatment and no training and am drug addicted. I have no support and the DOC offers almost none. What do you think I will end up doing?"
90)In October 2017 FFUP nonprofit included a survey in its newsletter asking multiple questions intended to give broad look at whole incarceration experience, particularly asking if the WI DOC is fulfilling its mission to rehabilitate and keep the public safe. All responses decried lack of treatment and release help.
91)The realization that long term solitary confinement actually causes mentally illness and a diminished capacity for success AFTER release is growing in this country. For example, in November 2017 Standford University came out with a report on how prisoners who endured long term solitary were doing after release. It sites the devastating effects solitary confinement has on anyone- whether they go into prison mentally ill or not. (“Mental Health Consequences Following Release from Long-Term Solitary Confinement in California” Consultative Report Prepared for the Center for Constitutional Rights )
Media spotlight and New Rules Not Followed
92) In Wisconsin, the actions around solitary confinement have taken a rocky road and the outcome is still uncertain.
A major force was In 2014, when the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ hereafter) did a series of three articles on the alleged abuses by guards of prisoners at the Waupun Correctional Institution ( WCI.) segregation unit. Guards were named and the actual complaints and were made available. This created a firestorm of letters and petitions and discussion in the public. These alleged assaults and the general high level of violence in WI seg units are important because it is the most vunerable, i.e. the mentally ill, who are usually the victims of assault or lack enough self control to navigate the difficult hostile environment and are assaultive themselves.
93)The then DOC Secretary Ed Wall wrote an essay (exhibit #1https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/1wall-essay-2.pdf)( leaked )questioning the use of Solitary confinement, writing that at times segregation has become “a method to isolate and punish inmates as a form of internal judge, jury and executioner. Depriving people of outside contact, personal property, programming, etc., seems to focus on doing psychological harm rather than achieve desirable goals.” And: “Courts have repeatedly found that forcing prisoners with mental illness to undergo solitary confinement constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. How would our placements be viewed by the courts?”
94) Finally a draft of new guidelines were enacted. In the guidelines, solitary confinement for conduct reports were reduced drastically and other reforms were mandated. Guards in WCI wore cameras, a rotation program for guards was instituted and the guards named the most times in the assault complaints were removed from the unit.
95) However only one prison, GBCI ( Green Bay Correctional Institution), followed the guidelines reducing seg times and as soon as public attention waned, rotation and camera wearing at WCI was abandoned as were all efforts at reforming in the other prisons. Also now the main guards named in the CIJ articles for the most complaints of abuse are dominating the solitary units in WCI. It is our belief that Joseph Beahm who was named in most of the inmate assault complaints, heads the unit at time of this writing and another named in much ongoing abuse, Monguey, is back on the unit. At present, the prisoners are largely silent about the physical abuse they endure as there is no safe way to report. Also we believe that of late some staff wear cameras but it is not enforced and arbitrary, allowing removal when convenient.
96) The Madison Central office of the Department of Corrections has enacted several new policies call DAI Policies which are aimed at remedying the violations of the 8th amendment against cruel and unusual treatment . These new policies, also, are largely ignored and not enforced.
97)The result is that each prison is its own fiefdom , dealing as it can with overcrowding and lack of staff. Whole prisons go on lockdown regularly to deal with staff shortages and all programs, library use , recreation etc are curtailed for the whole populations.
Conditions in Solitary in WI prisons
Changing diagnoses and double- celling in seg
98)But conditions in solitary rise most obviously to the level of cruel and unusual conditions, show deliberate indifference and violate the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act . Violations of human decency and constitutional amendments and ADA law include but are not limited to the following:
99) One of the most egregious strategies used to deal with the overcrowding and lack of staff reality is the changing of Diagnoses of the mentally ill from severe (MH2) to not severe (MH1). Medicines are cut as are other treatments and severely mentally ill people, now labeled as “not so bad”, sit in long term solitary without recourse to any treatment.(exh #2 https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/2wi-watch-boivin-article.pdf)
100) Due to the Courts prohibition on putting mentally ill prisoners in the Boscobel Supermax, now WSPF, that is the one prison which always has room. The pattern is to change the diagnoses inmates in an overcrowded prison and move the now “ cured” inmate to Boscobel.
101) The placement of Prisoners on AC has also expanded by placing people with minor infractions into WSPF, a prison with only solitary cells which always has room when the rest of the system is critically overpopulated.
102)The review of AC placement is considered a joke by prisoners and AC is thought to be used to silence litigators.
103) Confidential informants (CIs)are used to allege gang involvement with CIs there is no mechanism whereby the accused can refute charges or even know the name of the informer.
104) In two prisons, CCI and WCI , prisoners are forced to cell in a single man solitary cell with one prison on a mattress on the floor. In CCI the inmates are given the choice of sleeping two in a one man cell or taking more time in seg .
Subterfuges used to hide extent of solitary use
105)Inmates are put into solitary for minor infractions despite new rules to the contrary and lengths of stays in solitary are often much longer than rules allow through various renamings and subterfuges as well as plain disregard of rules.
106) One of the subterfuges used at WSPF (Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, the former Supermax) which hides the real extent of solitary confinement use, is a so –called “warning system.” Here a four level, year long program called High Risk Offender Program (HROP) is sabotaged by a system where a “warning” can be issued which can send the prisoner back to the beginning of the program but the gives the prisoner no recourse to question or appeal.
107) Another camouflage is terminology shifts between AC and DS ( administrative Confinement and Disciplinary segregation). Most prisons often give conduct reports to inmates on AC and assign them to “disciplinary segregation” (DS) which further confuses the activists and public’s attempts to monitor what is really going on. Generally the conditions are the same with the two kinds of solitary and the prisoner is seamlessly transitioned back to AC after his DS time is over.
108) There are many of such confusing labeling and subterfuges we feel are attempting to camouflage the true extent of use of solitary.
Therapy, Treatment and Programming
109) Throughout the solitary units, where most of the mentally ill spend most their prison time, therapy sessions usually rare and tend to be brief and held at cell door, where all on unit can hear. Most prisoners complain they cannot talk freely in these circumstances.
110)The one treatment facility, Wisconsin Resource Center( WRC.) is run by both DOC and WI Health and Human Services Department and is inadequate to present needs because the stay is usually short, there is little follow up once the prisoner returns to the DOC system and because they treat only a small number of the thousands in need..
111) further , there is increasing evidence that the DOC is reluctant to refer many mentally ill prisoners to WRC even though these prisoners beg for treatment before leaving prison, as many of these prisoners will be leaving straight from years in solitary. We hope to do discovery on this issue to determine the extent of refusal to refer prisoners to WRC and if that is our finding, the reasons.
112) 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.(Exh #3 https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/3what-doesnt-kill-you-makes-you-stronger.pdf )
113) There is a critical shortage of all staff , particularly of health care and psychological staff. Another effort for discovery is to find out the level of shortage and the number of people who have quit and why they have done so.
114) As Far as programming , solitary confinement prisoners often face another catch twenty-two that keeps the parole eligible prisoners forever in prison. It is our belief that the prisons don’t allow essential programming to prisoners in solitary and the prisoner is told he is denied parole because he did not do the programming.
Dealing with self harm issues
115) Rules for dealing with those at risk of suicide are woefully inadequate and even those are routinely not followed. Increasingly warnings and pleas for help by prisoners who feel they are at risk of harming themselves are often not heeded and/or are laughed at .
116)The remedy for suicide attempts has been to put the inmate naked or near naked in a cell with no property (observation status)with close monitoring and a visit from professional staff.
117) In many prisons that ( Observation)status is often dropped and “Control status” is used, which has little monitoring and no professional staff visits. Suicide attempts are often met with more isolation and often with conduct reports.
118) The use of restraints in suicide prevention is often brutal and involves excessive force. In some prisons the inmates are kept in full restraints for days and not allowed up to use the bathroom .
119) Mentally ill inmates in solitary are often punished with more solitary time for self harm behaviors. Self-harm, usually cutting, is so pervasive in these segs at all of the max institutions that it occurs on a daily basis, sometimes multiply times in one day.
General conditions in Solitary and Outside Support Discouraged
120) Conditions in solitary units, whatever they are called, are deplorable, property restrictions are unconscionable, and the therapy that does go on is woefully inadequate. This leads to a lack of positive motivation and the inability of staff (guards and professional staff) to actually help has fostered sadistic behaviors in some and a determined willfully ignorance in others.
121)Plaintiffs in WCI, GBCI and CCI allege that solitary cells are often filthy and feces spread, are not adequately cleaned between uses. Also, temperatures are not regulated and are extreme in every season.
122)Property allowances in all solitary units are punitive to the extreme and for many units there is no canteen allowed and where it is permitted, the inmates tend to be indigent. For example, the inmate is given a plastic rectangle of liquid soap about 2” by 1 inch long and is expected to use that for soap for 3 days when it actually not enough for one good wash up. We will verify these claims through discovery.
123)Further, plaintiffs complain that food portions have been steadily declining and prisoners are always hungry. This leads to lethargy and many have no recourse but to sleep all day.
124)Plaintiffs believe that family support is generally discouraged. WI DOC has made it very difficult for the families and friends to stay in contact with and help their imprisoned loved one and this is particularly of concern with those in solitary. For example, property allowances need to be revisited and rules for incoming books need to be changed to reflect our internet world and what is done in other more progressive correctional systems:
125)Family’s and friend ability to help their loved ones to cope with solitary by sending books is truncated with receipt rules that require a paper receipt which most internet outfits cannot do. Likewise, free books to Prisoners groups that give to Wisconsin prisoners face rules more draconian that other states.( for example, the books have to be new). Other hindrances to helping prisoners get through exist.
126) Books available by the prisons to solitary inmates are woefully inadequate so opportunities for learning in seg are diminished for people without family and friends with means.
127)Hygiene is also very important to many inmates and is important to anyone’s feeling of well being yet the basics are unavailable to the neediest inmates and families have no way to help since products like soap and deodorant and shampoo are not available at the only vendors families can buy from. The family’s ability to buy through vendors is made more important by the WIDOC’s unique interpretation of Statute 355 passed by WI legislature in 2015. Often all or most of money earned by inmates or sent in by families is taken by the DOC to pay for prisoner debts before the prisoner get any.
128) Mentally ill prisoners are routinely punished for behavior caused by their mental illness. The most vulnerable mentally ill inmates are easily goaded to “snap out “and are perpetually given CRs and sometimes new cases for assaults. Suicidal thoughts are often taunted and in general all negative emotions are escalated in this environment that encourages punishment as the only resolution of every problem.
129) Finally. Time out of cell for many solitary confinement prisoners is the first thing routinely cancelled with staff shortages. It is our information and belief that routinely, most prisoners spend 24 /7 in cell except for those that have showers out of cell.
Medical care to long term solitary inmates
130) Inmates who have been in solitary for inordinate lengths of time are not routinely assessed by a physician. Under WI Statutes, inmates placed in solitary must be under the care of a physician. However, if an inmate in solitary in WDOC does not request to see a physician, he is not seen. Despite WIDOC recognizing the deleterious effects of solitary confinement, inmates in WIDOC are not routinely assessed for the well-know effects of such an excessively sedentary life-style on their physical and mental health.
131) LaRon McKinley-Bey, served 27 years in nonstop solitary confinement, the longest serving solitary confinement. He was told he would never get off AC and was told his tests revealed he was an incurable socio/psychopath. In 2016 he took part in a hunger strike that was well publicized and included public protests. The warden of WCR negotiated with LaRon and he is now in general population in Colorado, an Instantaneous cure.
132) LaRon seems to be the only benefactor of the 2016 hunger strike, for it is our information and belief that now strikers are not monitored, and the ability of the public to keep close to conditions of strike or strikers is severely curtailed.
133) Ras Atum- Ra Uhuru Mutawakkil is now the longest serving administrative confinement prisoner with 17 years straight solitary His proposal, COMMON GROUND, is a common sense approach to relieving tensions within the prison while turning the corner toward healing.(See exh#4
134) As stated in beginning of this complaint, some states have joined the international community in acknowledging the destructiveness of solitary confinement and have replaced the what many see as a “revenge only” corrections policy with a healthy balance of treatment , training, and punishment coupled with community programs that help communities deal with its’ problem in healthy ways, lessening greatly the reliance on incarceration.
135)Colorado’s transformation is of special interest to WI residents because the head of CO system, Rick Raemisch, was WI DOC Secretary. A life changing event for him was a day he spent in solitary ( see exhibit #5 https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/6raemisch-my-night-in-solitary-2014.pdf) The rules and principals now used in CO are well set out in their website. It is increasingly a system that now stresses rehabilitation and public safety. Present efforts have culminated in the 2017 ban on solitary longer that 15 days except for in the most extreme cases and even in those cases humane treatment and concerted efforts to end the confinement are mandated.(exhibit #6 https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/7colorado-bans-solitary-confinement-for-longer-than-15-days.pdf)
136) Plaintiffs seek relief from Defendants' knowing and deliberately indifferent failure to provide necessary care for serious mental health needs, it’s arbitrary use of solitary as a population control tool, and it’s disregard of prisoner’s basic needs which puts Plaintiffs at substantial and ongoing risk of physical injury, mental illness and premature death. For the mentally ill and otherwise handicapped, the Americans with Disabilities act prohibits the very treatment that the WI DOC most relies on.
137) We believe that although the whole tapestry of dysfunction is complicated, the details of the whole system are all rightly brought up here because of their common cause: overcrowding and loss of mission, evolving from decisions of the 1900’s and first decade of the 21st century. We believe that the primary bad actor is the refusal of we, the American public, to accept its responsibility to its vulnerable citizens. But here we target The WI DOC because they accept gladly the misguided shortsighted dictums and have abandoned their mission to rehabilitate and keep the public safe.
138)All efforts to move the system toward a balance between rehabilitation and punishment have been met with fake rules and public posturing which is short lived and transits back “normal” as soon as public attention wanes. Litigation is necessary.
139) Plaintiffs bring this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12132; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to remedy the gross deprivation of adequate mental health care and arbitrary use of solitary in the WI DOC.
140) Also, we ask the court to take into account the growing international and national awareness that long term solitary confinement IS torture and assert as did Justice Kennedy (exhibit #7 https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/8justice-kennedy-denounces-solitary-confinment.pdf) that prolonged solitary confinement is a violation of human dignity and is unconstitutional, not only when applied to people who are particularly vulnerable or sympathetic, but to everyone.
Evolving standards of Jurisprudence in the U.S.
141). On his 2011 interim report , Juan Mendez, Special Rappoteur of the Human Rights Council on Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or degrading Treatment (CAT) , called on the International community to, among other things, impose absolute prohibition on solitary confinement exceeding 15 consecutive days. He concluded that even 15 days in solitary constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and that any longer in solitary can cause irreversible harmful psychological effects.(EXHIBIT 8#
142) Article 1 of CAT (CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE” AND OTHER CRUEL AND INHUMAN ,OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT”)defines torture as: “any act by which severe pain or suffering whether physical or mental is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purpose as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, When such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”
143)European bodies have taken a particularly progressive view on the use of solitary confinement, allowing it only after a medical examination certifies the prisoner fit to sustain the isolation and with daily monitoring of the prisoner’s psychological state. Additionally, the Council of Europe’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) stated that solitary confinement can rise to the level of inhuman and degrading treatment and ―should be as short as possible.
144)In March 2015, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee when he received a question on prison overcrowding. He responded with a sweeping condemnation of the American prison system and particularly of solitary confinement which, he said “literally drives men mad.”(exhibit#7)
145). Until recently, the courts have focused on limiting solitary for vulnerable groups. For example, courts have ruled that the 8th Amendment limits the placement of people with serious mental illness in solitary. Courts have similarly found that putting people with physical disabilities in solitary can violate federal law.
146) In his 2015 statement, however, Justice Kennedy invoked solitary confinement as not just another potentially harmful prison practice but as a violation of human dignity: “[t]he human toll wrought” “exacts a terrible price” on all people; and how solitary can bring all people “to the edge of madness, perhaps to madness itself.” Here he is saying that prolonged solitary confinement is unconstitutional, not only when applied to people who are particularly vulnerable or sympathetic, but to everyone.
147) Justice Kennedy seemed eager to consider whether prolonged solitary confinement is unconstitutional. If faced According to onlookers, with a lawsuit raising this issue, he wrote, the courts may have to decide “whether workable alternative systems for long-term confinement exist, and, if so, whether a correctional system should be required to adopt them.” In other words, he was saying, bring us a case.
148) In his October 2016 final report on solitary, Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez showed optimism about the general trend, though not without exception, toward reform in the United States. He listed the Federal Government efforts that chipped away at solitary confinement use including President Obama’s announcement that juveniles in the federal prison system will no longer be held in solitary confinement. He also listed state -level reforms, such as Colorado policy to reserve the use of isolation for “only the most violent and dangerous offense types,” pending legislation in Colorado and Pennsylvania to lessen the use of solitary confinement, and further reform efforts at more local levels—including New York City’s ban on solitary confinement of those who are under 21 years of age, are seriously mentally ill, or are physically disabled.
149) in November 2017 , Standford University came out with a report on how prisoners who endured long term solitary were doing after release. It sites the devastating effects solitary confinement has on anyone- whether they go into prison mentally ill or not. The realization that long term solitary confinement actually causes mentally illness and a diminished capacity for success AFTER release is also growing in this country. (“Mental Health Consequences Following Release from Long-Term Solitary Confinement in California” Consultative Report Prepared for the Center for Constitutional Rights )
150) In October 2017 Colorado banned solitary confinement for more than 15 days.:“Long-term isolation costs too much, does nothing to rehabilitate prisoners, and exacerbates mental illness – or even causes it in prisoners who were healthy when they entered solitary,” spokesman John Krieger said. “Since more than 95 percent of prisoners will return to our communities, the smart approach for public safety is to focus on rehabilitation.”(exhibit 7#)
A1)Injunction: listing of prisoners who need immediate relief
A2) changes to be done immediately(specifics to be worked out)
1)Property allowances in various seg units
2)Books and reading materials to inmates- rules need to be changed.
3)Guards who have history of abuse of inmates must be fired or given assignment with minimum contact with inmates- give guidelines-
4)Strict rotation of guards must be instated- no less the 3 months and the incoming guards must outnumber those left by two to one. No newly hired guard is to work in solitary units until they have served at least a year.
5)Cameras will be worn by guards at all times. Camera shall be placed to cover blind spots on floors ( those will be pointed out by inmates) and cameras shall record at each site. Also videos shall be made available to inmates who need them to litigate- the rules surrounding availability and preservation of videos need to be reviewed.
6)protocols for dealing with Hunger strikes need to be reviewed and updated and enforced so the prisoners are adequately monitored and the outside has access to information on the strikers. Excessive force is not to be used and bottled water is to be given where asked. Hunger strikes are a constitutional right of prisoners.
B)Short term plan For Solitary units:
B1. )The segregation guidelines published in 2015 but only followed by GBCI shall be reinstated and enforced (SEE exhibit) . These allow a maximum of 90 days in solitary for any violation .
B2.) Guards training and discipline:
B2 a)Guards will be rotated out of segregation at 3 month intervals. There will be enough guards moved at each rotation so that the incoming guards are not just learning bad habits from long time guards.
B2 b)There will be mandatory cameras worn on forehead in all seg , RHU and AC units. Cameras will be posted and recordings will be kept in all areas presently consider the main assault areas by prisoners. Videos will be made available to inmates who request them.
B3)Extensive training of guards on how to treat difficult prisoners will be undertaken. Also, The Warren Statement that prison is the punishment- loss of freedom is the punishment , will be taught and the myth that the guards’ duty is to punish the prisons will be debunked in training. The mission statement of the DOC will be taught and discussed- to rehabilitate offenders and to keep the public safe.
B4) No one should work in seg/ac units( which are innately psychologically abusive environments )for more than three months consecutively, let alone years. Guards who have worked for years in segregation and who have an extensive list of complaints alleging harassment, rapes and beatings and against them will be removed from segregation duty and will be assigned to general population and closely monitored there. If the abusive behavior continues as evidenced by complaints, eye witnesses, and/ or videos etc he, she will be fired.
B5)DOC must keep accurate records and make available to the public of the data on quittings and firings of professional staff and guards and of staff shortages of guards, Health service units, Psychological services unit and physicians and all other services. Only with accurate regular information can the pubic allocate funds to make up for shortages. Also made available to the public are lock downs and meals served in cell due to understaffing and overcrowding. NO cells designed for a single occupant are to have two men in them, let alone one on the floor. Actual out of cell time available to inmates will be logged each week , what activities were made available and what was closed due to lack of staff or other problems. Overtime by guards, forced and volunteer will be made available to the public.
B6)No new guards will work in solitary units, seg or AC. A guard must have worked at that institution for at least a year(?) before being assigned to a solitary unit.
B7) Very important for any real change is a change in policy which ensures that the decisions by the psychological staff overrule security unless security can prove that the psych staff’s decision opens up an immediate and concrete danger. IF there is a dispute, the question goes to the warden.
B8)And at no time will a mentally ill inmate be given a CR or criminal charges for behavior which is cause by his mental illness.
B9) property allowed : Note: AC is slated as non-punitive and its residents were allowed all property until Supermax opened and rules were changed in 2000)AC/ RHU prisoners will provide ALL general population property where a valid security concern cannot be demonstrated .
B10)All restrictions on property will be reviewed with the idea that only a valid security concern warrants the deprivation. Hygiene will be made available for the public to buy their loved ones and Books bought off internet shall be allowed in with an email receipt. The Mandela RULES shall govern a reevaluation of all property restrictions. (Exh 9: The 121 Mandela Rules or the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners:
https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/pri_nelson_mandela_rules_short_guide_web-copy.pdf, were revised by the UN in 2015. This is a summation done by the Netherland’s non profit PRI. )
C) LONG TERM)
C1)The establishment of one or more mental healthcare treatment centers for male prisoners modeled and operated like the one for women at the Taychedah Correctional Institution(TCI). (see exhibit for view of TCI’s center)
a)Note: We have had alternate suggestions of converting Sections of WCI to general population AC transition I units. This can be done in addition but a well run well lighted treatment facility like the one in the women’s prison is needed and it is our understanding that it was put into the DOC budget a few years ago and taken out as other priorities arose.
b)What we are after is effective treatment and programming for the mentally ill that does not exist in The WI system for males. There is the Wisconsin Resource Center (WRC) but the stays are temporary and there is little followup when the prison returns to his former prison. Treatment suggestion/prescriptions from WRC are seldom followed and there is virtually no programming. What happens in NP, or north program is not treatment or effective programming.
a)Our overall goal is to follow Colorado’s example and end long term solitary confinement except for the most extreme cases examples . A few months ago CO banned solitary over 15 days except in the most extreme case. And in those cases , the prisoners are treated humanely, have appropriate property and treatment ,are well monitored and leave solitary as soon as possible.
Rick Raemisch, the former WI DOC secretary now heads the Colorado system and has visited WI trying to push reform here. The rules and plans they follow are available on the CO DOC website.
b) Entwined with the ending of our draconian solitary practices is the need to population reduction. For overpopulation is the basic reason for this overuse and abuse of solitary. Overpopulation and the attendant staff discontent/quittings and the lack of treatment-services, recreation etc that comes with stuff prisons- must be addressed before any real changes can be done. So far the DOC has provided window dressing in the form of rules that are not followed and always, the push to build new prisons. Reinstating parole and ending reincarceration for non-felonies can be done safely and start a return to balance.
The Wisconsin department of Corrections has abandoned its mission. It neither protects the public nor rehabilitates offenders. This must change. Young prisoners, TIS prisoners, are being returned home with no support, after receiving no treatment and many after lengthy, debilitating solitary confinement, while older rehabilitated parole eligible prisoners remain entombed. The way ahead is treatment, training and community involvement and we hope the first steps are here.
152) ADA CLAIM
For prisoners with behavior disorders such as adjustment disorders, explosive disorders and other mental illnesses which manifest in behavioral problems, i.e. self harm; or when solitary confinement has give rise to such disorders, and who are further maintained in solitary because of said behaviors,- that is, denied access to general population ( “which constitutes a program”)and its myriad programs, treatment etc: Plaintiffs-(most fit this criteria)-allege violations of the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
links to exhibits