Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Staffing, Crowding and Death in the Wisconsin DOC

 A new report from FFUP.

Download and print or read the full report here:

The introduction and executive summary are below:


Wisconsin’s prison system is in crisis. Department of Corrections (DOC) officials claim the problem is understaffing and propose solutions like raising guard wages and building new facilities. These solutions expand their own department and increase Wisconsin’s capacity for mass incarceration, all at great expense for Wisconsin taxpayers. More importantly, they will not address the real humanitarian crisis, and may make it worse. A closer look at guard levels and staffing dynamics in the DOC shows that the problems comes less from understaffing than from overcrowding, high turnover and mismanagement. Expanding the DOC only expands these problems. 

GUT-PUNCHED, a Promise Betrayed

No prisoners will be eligible for pardon under Tony Evers’ new pardon advisory board guidelines. Governor Evers and Mandela Barnes made it seem like the parole board would bring long-awaited relief to incarcerated people. While revealing the order creating the board, they made statements and social media posts about Wisconsin's high incarceration rate and told the press “we believe in forgiveness and the power of redemtion” which made headlines across the state. Unfortunately, that forgiveness does not extend as far as it might seem.
You don’t have to look beyond the first page of Governors Evers’ newpardon application to see the betrayal. After a year of talking about dramatically reducing prison population and then months of back and forth between the governor’s transition team and the public; and after hundreds of prisoners submitted their heart-rending stories about indefinite delay of release, the new pardon application comes out with these fateful words:
Eligibility: You are eligible for a pardon only if all of the following conditions apply to you:
1. You are seeking a pardon for a Wisconsin felony conviction.
2. You have completed your entire sentence at least five (5) years ago. This means you:
Completed all confinement; and
Completed supervised release (e.g., probation, parole, or extended supervision).”
website containing pardon application: https://evers.wi.gov/Pages/pardon-information.aspx

So, who benefits here? Those who are past supervision (not “on paper”) already can vote. The pardon does not expunge the record, it does allow firearms but after five years out an ex prisoner gains little benefit from the pardon. Prison population will certainly not be reduced with this limitation.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

FFUP Youtube Channel

Forum for Understanding Prisons now has a youtube channel, where we'll be sharing videos we acquire via open records request and other content. Please like, subscribe, and share the channel and our first video, about an assault at Columbia Correctional Institution last October.

Our hope is that videos like this will increase awareness of conditions in Wisconsin prisons, and deter guards from abusing more people.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

executive clemencies given to prisoners by WI governors 1970 through 1986

note form LRB librarian: the reports you are looking for were published in the Senate journals, some of which are available online -- but only back to 1981.  

My colleague from the Wisconsin Historical Society Library sent me this information, in case you want to look at the original documents ; it should be the same information that was published in the journals.  The links are to UW catalog records:
It looks like WHS Archives does have the pardons from the Secretary of State’s office: https://search.library.wisc.edu/catalog/9911124663502121 (“Record includes copies of executive orders to directors of penal institutions listing terms of pardon, name of institution, parolee, and director, court of conviction, length of term, crime, and signatures of the Governor and the Secretary of State. No records exist for 1948-1955.”) 

There is also a catalog record for “Pardon papers” that includes 1970-1976: https://search.library.wisc.edu/catalog/999464258602121. This record has a finding aid. The record also notes that there are some restrictions because of confidentiality.

You can contact the archives to find the materials and get help accessing them: askarchives@wisconsinhistory.org.

Pat Reichert
Senior Legislative Librarian
Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau

urls executive clemencies 1970 to 1986

Attached is the executive clemency report from Gov. Knowles for Jan. 1969 to Jan. 1971 that the LRB has in its Wisconsin documents collection. 

Gov. Lucey pardons from Jan. 1971 to Jan. 1973 as found in the 1973-74 Senate Journals (pages 174-179).  

Gov. Lucey pardons from Jan. 1973 to Jan. 1975 as found in the 1975-76 Senate Journals (pages 379-409). 

 https://ffupstuff.files.wordpress.com/201 9/01/lucey-pardons-1975-1.pdf
Gov. Lucey pardons for 1975 as found in the 1975-76 Senate Journals (pages 2300-2315).  From this point on, the report covers calendar years.  

Gov. Lucey pardons for 1976 as found in the 1977-78 Senate Journals (pages 150-159).  

Gov. Lucey and Acting Gov. Schreiber pardons for 1977 as found in the 1977-78 Senate Journals (pages 1520-1537).  This file is 9 pages long.

Acting Gov. Schreiber pardons for 1978 as found in the 1979-80 Senate Journals (pages10-19). 
Gov. Dreyfus pardons for 1979 as found in the 1978-80 Senate Journals (pages 1094-1097). 

Gov. Dreyfus pardons for 1980 as found in the 1981-82 Senate Journals (pages 140-147).  

And for good measure, I scanned the 1981 report from Gov. Dreyfus (1981-82 Senate Journals, pages 2046-2053);

Staffing, Crowding and Death in the Wisconsin DOC

 A new report from FFUP. Download and print or read the full report here: https://casesprison.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/staffing-cr...