Wednesday, January 22, 2020

March on the DOC reportback

Today we had another good action at the DOC against lockdowns and calling for Warden Novak at CCI to be fired.

First, we gathered at Worthington Park for about 20 minutes, talking to reporters (NBC news editors cut all the specifics out) and sharing notes on what we've heard out of CCI. Only 10-15 people made it out on this cold Wednesday morning, but we made the most of it.

We also organized a phone zap for people who could not attend the action. 


Then we marched up to the visitor's entrance at the DOC. Chants of "Hey! Ho! Warden Novak's got to go!" bounced off the building and through the neighborhood. After our last action DOC administrators expressed willingness to meet with us, but they didn't actually set up a meeting time until last night. They also asked that they only meet with 2-3 representatives. Also, Secretary Carr was not available until noon. Unfortunately, we had already sent out invitations and press releases so we were unable to push back our action, but we still took the meeting with Carr.


At the end of the march, we delivered our demands and questions to the DOC receptionist. No officials DOC came down to speak to the group or take  advantage of the opportunity to speak with media who came with us. We warmed up for a bit in the lobby, and concluded the rally. Three of us came back at noon for the meeting.

We met with DOC Secretary Kevin Carr, his assistant Shannon Carpenter, and the head of the Division of Adult Institutions, Makda Fessahaye. On our side of the table, Rachel Kincade from MOSES and Linda from WORT's Soul Sessions joined Ben Turk from FFUP.

Thorough notes from that meeting are online here.  The short version is: only one of our demands has been met (that the CCI lockdown and modified movement end, it already has).

So, we will continue to agitate and pressure Secretary Carr and the entire Government of Wisconsin to address the human rights crisis going on in the DOC. Fortunately, there are a number of opportunities related to that coming up. Please attend and help promote these events:

Thurs Jan 23, 6:30 pm, Milwaukee. Secretary Carr will be on a panel at Turner Hall with their Confronting Mass Incarceration series.

Wed Jan 29, all day, Madison. The ACLU is hosting a "Smart Justice" Lobby Day. This will be an opportunity to confront legislators and advocate for reforms and against the absurd "Tougher on Crime" package that some law-makers have proposed. These bills, introduced by clueless law-makers trying to appeal to ignorant constituents will expand Wisconsin's racist overcrowding and mass incarceration crisis.

Wed Feb 5, 9:30 am, Madison. The monthly meeting of the Parole Commission. We encourage everyone to attend and demonstrate support for long overdue reform efforts to release people sentenced under the old law who have been trapped for decades. At the DOC headquarters, 3099 E Washington Ave.

Wed Feb 12, 8:30 am, Madison. Supporters of Incarcerated people meeting. A gathering of loved ones and supporters of incarcerated people. Secretary Carr will attend the meeting.




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