Saturday, December 7, 2019

Updates on CCI lockdown from Nate Lindell and William Ledford

Letters from Nate Lindell and William Ledford. Both have reported trying to send more detailed accounts of the lockdown, but had their emails intercepted. Nate received two conduct reports for “disrespect” in direct retaliation for writing to us about the lockdown.

Summary:

  • the lockdown continues and may go on until Jan 1.
  • A man in RHU died due to medical neglect on December 3.
  • Abuse continues, including restraints on disabled people.  
  • The investigation supervisor refused to let Ledford have a private conversation with a County Sheriff who came to investigate.  
  • Sgt Sansbury received a serious head injury and has retired with disability benefits.   
  • The administration is building a “bubble” around the area Sansbury was working to prevent incidents occurring again.
  • Guards are threatening to walk off the job, though this doesn’t seem to be an AFSCME-led action.   

Nate's first letter:


We're on lockdown, again, as the CO/Sgt "Sains-berry" (spelled phonetically) was "pushed," on Friday 8 Nov. 2019. Sains-berry is notoriously foul mouthed, yells at prisoners, follows them around to make sure their shirts are tucked in; i saw him stare at a prisoner insultingly/aggressively, with contempt, for over a minute, as I waited to see Dr. Dixon-Bauers (a psychologist). The guy's loud about how he's going to retire in some months, seems like he wants to leave w/disability benefits. EVERYONE has a story about how he insulted or harassed them.


Such was the case for Sgts. Fitz & Gander, the first was severely beat & the second who was minorly assaulted: both had rude/insulting, lazy (delayed letting us out of our cells for passes, didn't let us out to use the phone, didn't pass out our mail) attitudes, as do many staff here. [it's not entirely guards' gault, as most are working double or even triple shifts, meaning little to no slee, which studies have proven results in people acting as if they're drunk - loss of impulse & emotional control, irrational behavior, arrgressive outbursts - plus most guards have no education beyond high school, only go through a couple weeks of "security" training (not ideology-free education as to human nature & psychology, which would give them the tools - but not the will, which only supervisors can impose - to smoothly interact with prisoners) at the WDOC academy, followed by what is often counterproductive "mentoring" by older C.O.'s (who teach rookies to treat us abusively: yell at us, ignore our concerns, threaten us with discipline as if we're cattle and not human beings)].

Supervisors let them act that way, to ensure guards will cover for them, too, when supervisors stretch or violate the rules. Some prisoners (all of whom have MANY other matters stressing them out!) get pushed too far and snap.

Consider that, according to the Feb 2019 final PREA report for CCI, there are 840 prisoners (intended to hold 551) and 323 staff employed here. OVER one staff member (mostly guards) for every three prisoners! OVER TWICE the staff:prisoner ratio that the US/Federal system has (look it up on bop.gov), yet CCI's Administration has not only failed to rehabilitate us (with all those king's men, you'd think - if they wanted to - they could even put Humpty Dumpty back together again!), but SEEMS (the magic word...) incapable of stopping assaults on staff... as minor as the assaults typically were.

Lack of staff isn't the problem; LACK OF TRAINING AND LACK OF SUPERVISION to ensure guards act professionally, is a major part of the problem; other parts of the problem are:

  •   The INEFFICIENT USE OF STAFF (eg: allowing Sansbury to chase prisoners around to make sure their shirts are tucked in)
  •  housing MENTALLY ILL prisoners on units not equipped with staff trained to effectively deal with them, UNDERNIAGNOSING such prisoners, & TREATING THEM PUNITIVELY, which aggravates their mental health, 
  • and conditions, such as: keeping all prisoners in our cells over 22 hours a day (if we don't have a job or a pass, we're stuck in our cells - there's no adult education, few programs only 45 minutes of indoor rec. 5 times a week during winter) with nothing to do but watch TV (and, unlike at every other WI max-security prison, CCI restricts the channels they relay to our cells to 13)

Staff and the Administration are either smart & want these assaults on staff (so they can attack progressive changes underway, including Gov. Evers' term as governor) or are too stupid to see how their inaction/actions are making such assaults likely (nobody's just randomly assaulting staff).

I believe staff are smart, & what they're doing is what a prisoner was allowed to sue about in:
Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013):
"Turley's Eighth Amendment and conspiracy complaints concern continuing actions. The nature of his allegations are that prison officials repeatedly and regularly imposed lockdowns for improper purposes, and with each continuing day and period of lockdown,Turley's injuries increased."
That's a case brought by an Illinois prisoner, who alleged that staff were concocting excuses for lockdowns as part of a conspiracy to coerce the governor & Legislature to increase staff's pay & benefits, so staff shortages would be filled, when the problem wasn't insufficient staff but staffs' treatment of prisoners. Turley was brilliant, as he exposed how prisoncrats are not concerned with our rehabilitation but w/ making $ off of our imprisonment!

Any prisoners -- @CCI or elsewhere -- dealing w/ these lockdowns should file ICs alleging a Turley conspiracy. I'm on it.
 
FYI, we're being denied the following, due to this lockdown:
  • medication (on 9 Oct, first shift, Sgt. Brideau denied everyone on my range their meds b/c Stephen Brown didn't stand for 11:10 AM count; later, the 2nd shift Sgt. threatened to deny guys meds for not standing for count -- ICs will be filed); 
  • showers, even medically prescribed showers, all denied; 
  • clean clothes; 
  • supplies (e.g. Inmate Complaint -- ICs -- forms, medical & psych request slips, toothpaste, soap); 
  • hot food (all we've been given is cold bag meals, bologna sandwiches a total of approx. 14,000 calories/day); 
  • medical & mental health appointments; 
  • recreation -- we're stuck in our cells 24/7; 
  • phone calls; 
  • visits; 
  • property (anything ordered for/by us from catalogs isn't delivered); 
  • canteen/commissary.
Peg, please share this w/ all activists & media. Merci!

W/ respect, 
 
Nate.

 

Dec 4 update from William Ledford:



In answer to your questions:

1. No, the lockdown has not been completely lifted. In fact, according to rumors from the guards, the administration is thinking of extending it to January 1st.

2. Yes, showers were reinstated on 11/17.

3. Visiting and hot meals were reinstated on 11/25. Also canteen was reinstated.

4. While we have gotten limited laundry, we have not been allowed clean bedding since the beginning of the lockdown, nearly a month now. (I marked many of these things on my calander and/or daily log/journal.)

5. You should also be aware that this afternoon a man in RHU-2 (Restricted Housing Unit - segregation) died. Needless to say that medical attention has been less minimal, not to mention that they have been short staffed. Also, their favorite line in here if you have a medical issue is to 'put in a blue slip" (I.e., a formal Health Set ice Request), by which time it is way to late if there is a serious problem, like today. Guards, who have zero medical training, are the first line of a request for help, especially in a segregation unit, especially at CCI.

6. Upon the orders of Madison they have refused to distribute any property ordered from the vendors (e.g. J.L. Mar us, Union Supply, etc.). No real reason other than being malicious.

7. I had written Set. David Clark of the Columbia County Sheriff's Dep't. reporting some of the abuses that occur here, specifically in Unit 6, Lower A wing where they have all of the seriously chronically I'll, disabled, and aged prisoners (of which I am all three). All of the men down here are disabled and wheelchair bound due to amputations (I am a double amputee - both of my feet, and a Type I insulin dependent diabetic with other complications and at 57 am a senior citizen), paralysis, or old age.
On 11/25 he came to interview me. When I entered the room I saw a CCI supervisor, Cpt. Pigeon, sitting right he t to the Detective. When I told him I didn't want him there, that he had no business being there, he told me he HAD to be there or else the inter view would not happen. Of course, he did NOT have to be there - it was a classic DOC attempt at intimidation. Interestingly, he was also the "Investigations Supervisor.". Undoubtedly there will be some form of retaliation, but I refuse to be bullied or intimidated by any DOC employee.

8. Up until two days ago they had been handcuffing and belly-belting men, even us disabled men.

I will keep you updated on lockdown events. It is almost a certainty that when they have lifted the lockdown they will have invented a slew of further restrictions on us (but nothing regarding staff behavior!). They don't know how to think any other way at all even though none of that knee-jerk, moribund and archaic thinking has ever worked. You have anymore questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Take care,

Bill


Dec 4 email from Nate (excerpts):


★#1★

First, below is an exact copy of:

MEMORANDUM
DATE: November 15, 2019
TO: All CCI Inmates
FROM: Warden Novak
SUBJECT: Institution Lockdown

As most of you are aware, we remain in lockdown status. As we continue to evaluate recent events in the institution, we appreciate your patience and cooperation during this time. We realize that not everyone was involved in the recent events, and we are working towards restoring privileges when we can, and when it can be done safely. Starting this weekend, we will be getting people out for showers and provide clean clothing.

If you need to place money on your account for kiosk use, submit a disbursement to the Business Office. If you are approaching a court deadline, please notify the court of the current situation and use this memo as supporting documentation. There have been recent questions about television stations received at CCI. There has been a disruption to our normally available channels due to an antenna replacement project that the City of Madison is completing. They predict that all channels should be restored sometime in December. Also, our internal institution information channel is not working--parts are on order and when we receive them, repairs will be made.

As we evaluate our current situation, we will be reviewing the potential for additional showers and phone use next week. We are tentatively reviewing the possibility of restoring visits beginning Monday 11/25/19 and will provide notice when that is confirmed.

As we work through this process, we continue to evaluate information, concerns, and issues that have been brought forward by many of you. This process takes time, and there is no designated end date at this time.
[NOTE: This is the first memo we received after/about the lockdown that began on 8 Nov, immediately after C.O Sansbury was assaulted while working as the Program Services Bldg.  
A guard told us what follows: Although the inmate working there used Sansbury's radio (Sansbury was apparently unconscious) to get help for Sansbury, we all seem to be viewed not as that helpful inmate but as the inmate who attacked Sansbury....Guards threatened to walk out if "changes" weren't made, citing the recent assaults on Sgt. Fritz, Sgt. Gander, then Sansbury; we remain on a lockdown while they build an armored glass enclosure for the guard who receives passes in the Program Services Bldg.]

★#2★

Second, below is an exact (typos intact) copy of a notice:

DATE: December 2, 2019
TO: CCI Inmates and Staff
FROM: Karla J Souzek
Management Services Director
SUBJECT: Pay during Lock-down (lock-down that began on November 8, 2019)

During the lock-down pay is suspended EXCEPT for inmates who worked during the lock-down. Those inmates will be paid for actual hours worked.

[NOTE: In the original, "except" is bolded & in italics. See the date that the lockdown started? Look at code §DOC 309.55(9), & my note, below.]

★#3★

Here are some regulations concerning the lockdown @CCI, to help you understand how it's illegal. (See my explanations on that point, in brackets, under each regulation. Within each rule my clarifications are also bracketed.)


Rule 1 of 5
Chapter §DOC 302 ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION, SECURITY
CLASSIFICATION AND SENTENCE COMPUTATION
Wis. Admin. Code §DOC 302.205 Emergency suspension of rules.
The secretary [of the WDOC] may temporarily suspend the rules
specified in this chapter if the warden determines that there is a
disturbance or an emergency.
[NOTE: This allows emergency transfers, & about 20 guys here were so emergency transferred out of CCI after Sandburg's 8 Nov. assault. Problem is, there never was a "disturbance," nor an "emergency," or See ↓]

Rule 2 of 5
Chapter §DOC 306 SECURITY
Wis. Admin. Code §DOC 306.02 Definitions.
(7) "Disturbance" means any of the following:
(a) An assault on any person by 2 or more inmates.
(b) The taking of a hostage by an inmate.
(c) The destruction of state property or the property of
another by 2 or more inmates.
(d) The refusal by 2 or more inmates, acting in concert, to
comply with an order.
→ → (e) Any words or acts which incite or encourage inmates
to do any of the above.

[NOTE: One prisoner assaulting one guard is NOT a disturbance. While the Admin may claim that the reason for the lockdown was comments (or emails...) made AFTER the assault, we were locked down right after that assault; and, as Sgt. Awiti did in the CR I sent you, I SUSPECT that some staff lied about or exaggerated comments that were made, to bolster their threat to the Admin. to walk out if "changes" weren't made (a guard told me that the threat to walk out occurred).]

(9) "Emergency" means an immediate threat to the safety of the
public, staff or inmates of an institution, other than a disturbance. An
emergency may include, but is not limited to the following:
(a) A public health threat.
(b) A utility malfunction.
(c) A fire.
(d) A bomb threat or explosion.
→→ (e) An employee job action. ←←←←
(f) Any natural disaster.
(g) A civil disturbance.
(h) Inmate escape.

[NOTE: Again, one prisoner assaulting one guard, NOT an emergency, particularly when the inmate working by Sansbury used Sansbury's radio to call for help, which shows that prisoners oppose such violence.... A threatened walk out by multiple guards, that seems to be specified as an emergency...but hasn't it abated? Isn't a threatened walkout a violation of Act 10?]

Rule 3 of 5
Wis. Admin. Code §DOC 306.23 Emergency.
(1) If an emergency occurs that prevents the normal functioning of
the institution, the warden may suspend the administrative rules of
the department or any parts of them, except §DOC 306.07 to 306.09,
until the emergency is ended and order is restored to the institution.

[NOTE: See below rule, like this one, but concerning "Disturbances." It appears that our lockdown is based on this↑ rule, but no one has specified so....The question is, when is the emergency -- guards' threat to walk out -- over, & why are guards being allowed to cause an emergency, especially given Act 10?! ]

(2) If any emergency occurs, the secretary may convene an
emergency review panel to investigate the emergency. The panel
shall submit a written report to the secretary that includes the facts
relevant to the incident and an opinion as to whether this chapter
was complied with relating to an emergency. The department shall
provide the panel with staff adequate to conduct a thorough
investigation of the emergency.

Rule 4 of 5
Wis. Admin Code §DOC 306.23 Disturbance.
(1) If a disturbance occurs that prevents the normal functioning of
the institution, the warden may suspend the administrative rules of
the department or any parts of them, except §DOC 306.07 to 306.09,
until the disturbance is ended and order is restored to the institution.
The warden shall make provisions for access to medical care.


(2) If a disturbance occurs and a person is injured and if it results
in the suspension of these rules, the secretary may convene a
disturbance review panel to investigate the disturbance. The
secretary shall appoint the panel in accordance with s. DOC
306.08(5)(d) and the panel shall submit a written report to the
secretary that includesd the facts relevent to the incident and an
opinion as to whether this chapter was cvomplied with relating to a
disturbance. The department shall provide the panel with staff
adequate to conduct a thorough investigation of the disturbance.

[NOTE: the Appendix for this↑ says that "It is not intended that this rule be relied on frequently, but only in situations where the usual functioning of the institution becomes impossible." The report must be finished, as WDOC Sec. Chief Fuchs wrote my cellie, Jordan Berg on 20 Nov, saying:
The duty of the warden at any Wisconsin correctional facility is
outlined in State Statutes, Chapter 302 and one of those duties is
maintenance of order. There are times when they must impose
restrictions so that they can assess the safety and security of all.
The Warden may suspend or modify institution operations and
authorize a search of all or part of institution premises. The actions
taken by Warden Novak were appropriate based on the
circumstances and she exercised her authority, as allowed by
statute. A lockdown is usually lifted gradually -- resuming function
-by-function -- to assess inmate behavior and ensure there's no
further violence.]

Rule 5 of 5
Chapter §DOC 309 RESOURCES FOR INMATES
Wis. Admin. Code §DOC 309.55 Compensation
(9)LOCKDOWNS. Any inmate who has a work or program
assignment shall be compensated for the period of any lockdown
unless the lockdown is precipitated by the misconduct of any
inmate, in which case, under s. DOC 306.14(2), only those inmates
allowed to work to perform necessary housekeeping chores shall be
compensated. 

[NOTE: Given the appendix for §DOC 309.23 saying that lockdowns are only to continue if "the usual functioning of the institution becomes impossible," this denial of pay, based on a lockdown that should never have been, & surely should have ended after the report was filed, this denial of pay is unjust -- neighbors are filing ICs arguing so.]

★#4★

Continuing conditions:

 

Still no DR & Psych visits (Dr Bauers came by yesterday, offered me some "puzzles," ignored Berg, who lay in bed -- he wrote, said was depressed, suicidal); minimum security i/ms pass out food; we get showers & phone calls, but nobody cleans showers, & I haven't been given back clothes I sent out to be washed before lockdown, so rocking same pair of grunderwear... ; no rec, no out of cell activities but showers & phone calls; no cell cleaning supplies are issued; ICs about lockdown are regularly returned for irrational reasons, not filed; no property ordered from catalog companies has been delivered, since two weeks prior to lockdown (so, envelopes Peg ordered me, ain't got 'em, & I'm out); we've been disallowed to order holiday snack food -- just got the order forms got it before Sansbury's assault; lots of serious fights happening between cellies; yesterday morning, ambulance came & got someone, don't know who...; staff rarely make rounds to check on us...; we get same "hot" food every day, one meal always a meat patty, white bun, chips & cookies/sweets in a package -- environmentalist would go nuts! Every day each cell produces large bag of garbage (plastic spoons, wrappings, milk cartons, styro containers...)

Well comrade, I'm outta room. Busting my brain, poppin paper -- no rest for the wicked....

Madison books wobblies sent bunch of great stuff, spreading it ...making friends & raising awareness. Keep it up, but don't burn out. BELIEVE that I KNOW....A "vicious" circle of solidarity & love,

Nate.

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