- gathered news of retaliation, and threats of a staff walk-out
- got an article published in the Shepherd Express
- Learned devastating details about the Dec 3 death
- Discovered that Warden Novak is preventing administration of flu shots
Hunger strike and possible second lockdown-related death
Response from DAIOn December 12, Makda Fessahaye replied to a December 4 email from FFUP about Mr Bracey's death (though at that time, we didn't know it was him or have details). She said his death is being investigated and emphasized a list of positive things or lefted restrictions that "did occur during this time." Some of the things she listed contradict reports from our friends in CCI, so we will check on them before sharing them.
Fessahaye's message ended with the following assurances:
We have concerns about these statements. First, it sounds like up to 50 people are being retaliated against for complaining. If Ms Fessahaye really wants to encourage people to file complaints, she needs to stop Warden Novak from retaliating against people for filing them.The DOC is committed to working with law enforcement on their investigations and returning CCI to normal movement as soon as possible while maintaining the safety of those in our care and our staff.Our staff share your passion for the safety and security of those in our custody. We encourage all of the people in our care to report any acts of misconduct through our inmate complaint process. Every inmate complete is investigated.The Department of Corrections is committed to maintaining an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Any individuals who are found to have violated work rules will be held accountable.
Second, if the complaints investigations are being done by investigation supervisor Captain Pigeon, then there's no reason to have faith in them. Captain Pigeon has already obstructed sheriff's investigation by as reported by William Ledford here.
Third, there's a long history absent accountability for staff at CCI. If Fessahaye's assurance that people who violated work rules or engaged in discrimination, harassment and retaliation was acted on, many staff at CCI would face discipline or firing. The DOC considers CCI understaffed despite having a 1:3 staff to captive ratio, and staff are already threatening a mass walk-out over the people who took action to defend themselves against staff abuse, discrimination and harassment. It would be unreasonably optimistic to think that the DOC will hold their staff accountable on their own. We must demand it.
Demand Warden Susan Novak's terminationThere are a number of staff problems at Columbia Correctional Institution, but the person ultimately responsible for conditions is Warden Susan Novak. A number of people who've written us say that she either originates the issues, or tolerates, allows and covers for staff abuse and neglect.
FFUP is joining in the calls from people held at CCI for Warden Novak's termination. We've organized a call-in event for Monday targeting Ms Fessahaye's office and demanding Novak be replaced. Please join this event, share it with friends, call in yourself and demonstrate that abuse, racism, retaliation, and killing people through medical neglect will not be tolerated in Wisconsin.