Friday, February 28, 2020

Incarcerated people speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few messages on COVID-19 from incarcerated people in Wisconsin. These are excerpts from recent correspondence. We have released a report  detailing the DOC's lack of preparation for this crisis and demanding drastic preventative action by Governor Tony Evers.

We are now organizing these posts by facility where the news is coming from.

Waupun Correctional
Columbia Correctional

From other facilities:

From someone held at Oshkosh CI:

Not yet. But I did see where CCI and Waupun have it. Plus I know UW-Oshkosh has been asked to house covid-19 patients. Well all of those institutions have one thing in common... There dirty laundry is sent here. Well not Waupun. And CCI only sends there sheets here for laundering. But UW-Oshkosh rents there linens from bsi here. That means there soiled covid -19 linens will come here for sorting and counting. Then they go to a classifier to get separated for proper weights. Then they get into a washer. That will mean anywhere from 5-8 inmates that will touch this dirty linen. And potentially infect everybody in the bsi department. Some where around 90 inmates. Then they go back to there units...etc. So when corona gets into this institution...that will be why!


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Warden Novak continues to provoke instability at CCI

This is an open letter Ben from FFUP sent, along with related correspondence as a follow up to our meeting about the lockdown and conditions at CCI. We continue to gather information showing the poor conditions and destabilizing policies that Warden Novak and staff at Columbia Correctional create.

A full report on that will be forthcoming. We've received a lot of information and could use help compiling it. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with that, please contact Ben at Thank you. 

Dear Makda, Kevin and Shannon,

Staff at CCI continue to engage in systemic unfair practices with the apparent intention of creating a needlessly hostile environment.
On February 8, a Sgt named Dustin Rohwer began issuing dozens of conduct reports for rules violations involving opened windows. Other Sgts did the same in other units. There are two problems with this:

First, rather than warning people that the rule against opening windows would be more strictly enforced, CCI staff just started handing out conduct reports, disrupting people's lives and visitation.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Nine Rule-change Recommendations

Account and recommendations from another survivor of the CCI lockdown, named Mathew  Schumacher. If you would like to support Matthew's efforts, please write to him. 

Matthew Schumacher
Columbia Correctional Institution
PO BOX 900
Portage, WI 53901

I received your information from Mr. Jones after reading your notes from the Carr sit down. I would like to give you a little background about myself and then some of the changes that I think the DOC needs to look into.

I was 17 years old when I committed my crime and I received life without parole. I was a mess my first 10 years in prison. I was scared, angry, confused and I was still struggling with the demons that took me down the path I went down. I had no hope and I cared more about my prison reputation. I was staffed to GBCI in 2000 and only made it a few months before being shipped to the supermax. I was given a 360 for conspiring to escape and battery to staff. After a little over a year at the supermax I was sent to WRC due to the lawsuit against the supermax as I was deemed to have a serious mental illness and I could not be sent back.

Black Mass Incarceration, by DeWitt "King DoC" Faulkner

This essay was written by DeWitt Faulkner, a survivor of the CCI Lockdown.

You can write to DeWitt here:

DeWitt Faulkner
Columbia Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 900
Portage, WI 53901-0900

Black Mass Incarceration

Wisconsin is in a period of unprecedented mass imprisonment. The a whole lock up a greater amount of its citizens than any other nation, amounting to three million souls. A fivefold increase in prison population has been labeled one of the most startling cultural shifts of the last generation.  see..(Council on Crime and Justice,The collateral effects of incarceration on Fathers, and communities. 4(2006) (monograph) available @ final200312006.pdf).citing Beck, A.J., Karberg, J., & Harrison. P.M. (2002). Prison and jail inmates at mid year 2001.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

CCI Lockdown Update: letters from Jerome Long

We've received two letters from Jerome Long, who is charged with the October 22 assault on Sgt Phibbs at Columbia Correctional. This was the first of three assaults leading to the deadly extended lockdown through November and December of last year.

Long says he knew he was struggling with anger management and requested changes and treatment from PSU that would have helped prevent the incident, but staff acted "as if [the assault is] what they wanted me to do. So that way they could put me back into seg housing status."

Four days after the assault, he was transferred to Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (WSPF) in Boscobel. Since then, he's been subject to enhanced security measures and harassment every time he's moved out of the cell. He intends to go on hunger strike starting February 13, and will refuse to leave his cell voluntarily.

Jerome also reports that Sean Young is continuing to refuse food since this incident when guards sexually assaulted him because he was distraught after receiving news of a death in the family. It appears Sean has gone off and on hunger strike, because Jerome says he started the hunger strike on January 30. Also, the DOC filed a request to force feed Sean on December 11, only six days after starting his hunger strike.

Sean has also filed a John Doe motion, which is a legal follow up when the DOC ignores a PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) complaint.

Judge Robert P. VanDeHey of Grant County dismissed that motion on January 13.

Judge VanDeHey

You can write support letters to Jerome and Sean at the following addresses:

Jerome Long
PO BOX 1000
Boscobel WI 53805-0900

Sean Young
PO BOX 1000
Boscobel WI 53805-0900

Jerome Long

Sean Young

Also to advocate for Jerome and/or Sean, please contact the following officials and demand that their mistreatment end and that their hunger strike demands be met.

WSPF Warden Gary Boughton (608) 375-5656 or

DAI administrator Makda Fessahaye (608) 240-5104 or

Letters from Jerome:

I received your letter today, and I felt a need to reply as well as an obligation in regards to the treatment of prisoners in the Wisc. Dept. of Corrections…

Now I’m a Bi racial 38 yrs. Old man serving my 3rd Adult incarceration dating back to 1998-2001, 2002-03 and 2004-present. I’ve really hadn’t never experienced any verbal derogatory slurs. But my mistreatment has been more so from me not being given the fair chance receive much needed help and treatment from the properly trained staff at WRC (Wisc. Resource Center) for my mental health issues. And it appears to me as if CCI staffers from the admin. staff on down all played a part in the conflict that is created on daily basis, and there’s no accountability for any of the staffers. Even when you do write to the DOC secretary office, nothing is done. And filing a complaint is pointless unless you’re going to file a civil suit. And even then they don’t care because they still keep their jobs and the money isn’t coming out of their pockets, so until something with that changes then it’s the same ole games being played. So my situation was based on the PSU supervisor and unit manager and admin staff not trying to fix the phone usage system at CCI and willing to help me make contact with my family. And when I informed the PSU staff about my stress levels and simply demanded to (be) placed on a voluntary permanent feed cell status. Until farther notice to ensure my safety and others safety given my levels of stress and anger and high likelihood of a attack occurring it was as if that’s what they wanted me to do. So that way they could put me back into seg housing status and back on admin confinement as I had just been taking off AC status after 18 months of it. Because some staff fear my presence in population...This was said to me from another inmate following him talking to a sgt. about me. The sgt. said to him that “Long is not a dumb guy...he’s very smart and very strong physically and mentally.” “and for that reason a lot of staff are scared of him.”

So following that encounter and me talking to PSU staff only to be denied a simple request and then that some PSU staffer say to that… “Well maybe you have wore your welcome out here?” “And a change of scenery would be good for you.” So I felt too that my assault situation could’ve been avoided but they just didn’t care to do so.

So I see myself as a person who will take a stance and draw the attention to the problem. But more people need to stand up and do something because the only thing the DOC staff is trying to do is make it seem as if their jobs are too dangerous, and that they’re underpaid...But truth be told they are truly lazy and non-charlot (challant? -Ed.) about stuff until a staff gets attack then yeah now they want to yell “Foul” and press charges on the prisoners.

So that’s what I’ve seen going on for years. That’s my truth…

Thank you

Sincerely Signed

Jerome Long

I received your letter, and yes you all at FFUP can definitely publish my issues and experiences in such report. And I don’t have any objection to being credited.

Now as for me doing OK here at WSPF for the most part I’m surviving some uncalled (for) “Abuse of Power” by WSPF admin. staff. As I’ve been on some security precautions such as back of cell and 3-man escort w/ supervisor present with taser*. Now it shall be noted that these were put on me at CCI before I was sent here on Oct. 22, 2019. And since being at WSPF I have not once threatened any staff. Nor any kind of assaultive acts, nor any kind of resistive behaviors during countless escorts out of my cell to other places throughout the unit. But after 3 ½ mos. and counting the security director and warden is continuously extending my precautions for month after month after month for something that has nothing to even do with these staff. So I feel as if it’s a tool for harassment. And I plan on starting a serious hunger strike on Feb. 13th 2020. If the warden don’t put an end to this unprofessional conduct. As the security director said to me on Jan. 16th 2020 that due to serious nature of the incident it’s his unwritten rule that I’m looking at 6 mos. of these precautions being on me. So clearly what’s the point of reviewing a person’s precautions when there’s no intention of you even seriously considering the removal of such precautions. So that’s all for now with me.

Now I’d like to bring to light something that I was informed about, this is involving a inmate name Sean M. Young #505480. He’s my next door cell-mate back on Dec. 4th 2019 he claims to have been called to the unit strip cage door where he says “Staff sexually assaulted him.” He wrote the inmate complaint and to the security director as well as the warden, only never to even (be) interviewed by anyone about such issue. He also made a PREA recorded phone call and wrote to the dept. of corrections secretary office only for them to nonchalantly disregard what he’s bringing to their attention. He also filed a John Doe claim with the court on this matter and it seems to be all being covered up...He pending some civil action against the DOC in US Courts system for stuff dating back to 2018, 2019 and now 2020. As issues seems to be ongoing.

He’s currently on a hunger strike that started on Jan. 30th 2020 no food, no fluids… Now please reach out to this guy. Please understand that his postage is very limited so his response to you might be some delay from time to time...But I gave him your info as well in hopes that he reaches out to you in his words. But I’ve done my part.

Thank you
Take Care
Sincerely Signed

Jerome Long


PS It shall be noted that I’m not going to be willingly agreeing to come out of my cell anytime soon unless it’s a life or death matter. As long as they feel the need to have a damn entourage with me...

* "Back of cell" means anytime a guard opens the trap on his cell, to deliver food or mail or anything, Jerome must stand at the back of the cell, facing the wall.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Action Gets the Goods! Notes from February 5 Parole Commission Hearing.

Twenty-seven people from around Wisconsin came out early on a Wednesday morning to support fundamental changes on the parole commission. After the meeting, we held a small debrief and then rally (only a dozen or so people stuck around braving the below freezing weather). We plan on returning to attend the next meeting on Wednesday March 4. Next time we will have our rally immediately after the hearing goes to closed session, however unpredictable that may be. This month, we learned that public examination and demonstrations of support is an effective way to speed the change we need. Hope to see more people on March 4!

The meeting.

It took the DOC 20 minutes to arrange a larger room in the training center for us. There we waited another ten for commissioners LaCost and Drankiewicz to join us. Tate said they all left the small meeting room together, but the others were inexplicably delayed.

The room was chilly. It reminded formerly incarcerated attendees of the prison housing units the DOC keeps uncomfortably cold to keep people from being able to think straight. While we waited for the commissioners to make it into the room, we asked Chairman Tate to turn up the temperature. He apologized and said “us being here will warm it up,” then added, joking “you all brought the heat.”

Monday, February 3, 2020

Open Letter to Governor Evers on Technology Education

Here is a letter Charles Kurkura sent to Governor Evers about technology literacy for inmates in the Wisconsin DOC.  If you are interested in helping advocate or get a program like this off the ground, please contact Charles at:
Charles Kukura
Stanley Correctional Institution
100 Corrections Drive
Stanley, WI 54768


Governor Evers:

My name is Charles Kukura, and I am an inmate from the Stanley Correctional Institution.  I highly doubt that you'd remember, but I've met you on several occasions, as I worked in public education (PK-12) for 15 years as a technology consultant out of CESA #10, (Ross Wilson was my supervisor), as well as directly with school districts in the Eau Claire area.  In addition, I was an adjunct instructor for CVTC, teaching computer and EMS classes.

I share a passion with you in recognizing the need for technology literacy in our state.  The public school sector has made huge advancements in the last few decades.  I believe that it is due to federal funding via e-rate, as well as the leadership you've provided during your tenure as the Superintendent of DPI.  I thank you for your service to our great state, both now, and while you were at DPI.


          2008 rally by families of prisoners in front of the WI DOC headquarters                    FAMILIES for a  SECOND CHANCE   WE invi...