This essay was written by DeWitt Faulkner, a survivor of the CCI Lockdown.
You can write to DeWitt here:
|Columbia Correctional Institution|
|P.O. Box 900|
|Portage, WI 53901-0900|
Black Mass Incarceration
Wisconsin is in a period of unprecedented mass imprisonment. The U.S.as 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 @http://www.racialdispairty.org/files/CEI final200312006.pdf).citing Beck, A.J., Karberg, J., & Harrison. P.M. (2002). Prison and jail inmates at mid year 2001.
Wisconsin has a higher incarceration rate the national and Midwest average: between 1983 & 1999, Wisconsin's incarcerated population more than tripled. The mas imprisonment disproportionately affects racial minorities, affecting an estimated 13% of black males in their 20s as of 2003.see Nass, supra note up top. In fact, it has been estimated that if incarceration rates are unchanged, one in three African- American males may expected to go to prison in their lifetime. See Bonczar, T.P.(2003). Prevalence of imprisonment. in the U.S.population, 1974-2001.Washington, D.C:Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Two in five African-American men ages 25-30 in Milwaukee County have been incarcerated in state correctional facilities, and in the poorest neighborhoods, roughly 2/3 of men aged 30-40 have done time. Milwaukee county has seen almost a 400% increase in number of prisoners released from D.O.C. facilities annually; this population is mostly male (89%)and minority (73%).
An increasing reason for this is that a felon in Milwaukee is (50%) more likely to receive prison time than one elsewhere in the state. See Judith Greene & Kevin Pranis, Treatment Instead of Prisons: A Roadmap for Sentencing and Correctional Policy Reform in Wisconsin, 6 (2006) (available at http://www.csdp.org/ research/Wisconsin_Report_Treatment_Instead_of_Prison_Jan_06.pdf).
Negative Social Effects:
These figures are important in part because research suggests that high incarceration rates in a community may actually increase crime rates. The annual cost associated with each prisoner in Wisconsin prisons is between $27,000 and $30,000, with greater than average annual cost associated with minimum security prisoners, and that cost expected to increase. More recent reports place the cost at around $40,000 or more.
Concentrated imprisonment and release in a community has several reinforcing economic effects. Generalizing, these include loss of human capital (individual skills, knowledge, and work availability of the prisoner), physical capital (as housing stock is neglected,infrastructure decline due to a diminishing tax base, and communities gain bad reputations, deterring new businesses and inhabiting economic development), social capital ( since prisoners lose the ability to network and our families and communities participate in the stigma attached to imprisonment). Any economic deficit is multiplied by the loss of recirculation and investment of wages, opportunity cost, and chronic inefficiencies associated with poverty. You see, I have a medical condition called Ulcerative Colitis which is (Auto immune disease) which eat at the walls of my stomach. It cost thousands of dollars to purchase medication and give me treatment,due to the stress, and anxiety caused by everyday living, away from my love ones,in prison housing.
Incarceration has grave collateral effects on health. Because prisoners face close contact with infected persons, unsanitary conditions, and inadequate treatment, researchers note that mass imprisonment subjects " entire communities "to " increased risk of fatal disease " and is " increasingly recognized as a public health issue." Donna Willmott & Juliana van Olphen, " Challenging the health Impacts of Incarceration: The Role for Community Health Workers", Californian Journal of Health Promotion. The cost of Incarceration include "additional medical expenditure for post-release treatment of offenders and the treatment of others who are infected as a result of Incarceration, as well as the loss of health and happiness among those affected." Spotlight ailments include AIDS; see(Mass incarceration of black males account for high rates of HIV among both Men and Women at (73%).see Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ( 2017 -2018) and drug- resistant infectious disease. The tendency of Incarceration to exacerbate preexisting mental and physical illness has also been to further negatively affect local markets and prison pharmacies.
Mental health effects are independently severe, given the vast and disproportionate population of the imprisoned who present mental health issues. Jails and prisons have essentially become the largest psychiatric facilities in the United States, and the experience of Incarceration often contributes to a downward cycle of mental health problems. It was this kind of illness that led to the (3 attacks on officers) here at CCI,in 2019. All of this could have been avoided, If there was proper mental health treatments for those inmates , real training for correctional officers, medical and mental health staffing. An investigative report by the Milwaukee Journal- Sentinel ( September 10,2000)Kissinger, Megan."Trading one locked door for another," cited in Green & Pranks, supra note 8@40. They found that 15 to 20 percent of the state prison population suffered chronic mental illness.
Mass imprisonment also serves as a carrier for racial and cultural division. It has led to an alarming, and racially disparate, increase in broken homes and disenfranchised communities. Rising levels of male incarceration are suspected of lowering marriage rates among African-American women.Particularly when time gets hard and you have a single mother, carrying all the weight on her back and struggling to pay the bills; makes her go into survival mode which pushes her to do whatever in order to survive. To embarrass to ask for Government assistance or any kind of help she finds herself now jeopardizing her freedom by now selling drugs or worst her body. Haven't been able to finish school, young mother with children and no husband at home to help; due to being incarcerated, she's finds herself prostituting to survive and feed her kids. Now, hating herself and thinking she's not worthy of nothing,she finds herself using drugs to escape the pain. She shrubs her body with soap, until her skin is raw and notice the tracks that now runs up her arm. She tells herself, she would stop when she makes enough money, but now she has a habit that's expensive. You see this is starting to look bad, we know where this story is headed and how it ends(prison or death). Her children ends up in foster care, her with a disease that might be deadly to her or child, a father whose incarcerated trying to fight the system for rights he no longer has because he's doing 10-20 years in prison.And this is very costly. So where does the funds come from? Taxes, that my family and the public pays and budgets that are made on the labor of prisoners who only make .12 to .43 cents of Prisons wages.
Effects on immediate families include increased financial burdens, emotional distress, social alienation/stigma, and relationship strain due to guilt and other factors. An individuals incarceration often impacts several households in black communities due to the prevalence of extended family networks. The hallmark social effect of imprisonment is probably alienation which occurs at all levels. e.g.,between individual and family, and between family and community.
Finally, children with incarcerated parents (like myself) children suffers the loss of social support and often experience feelings of abandonment, loss and extreme anxiety, all of which are compounded by the social stigma attached to having a family member incarcerated. Researchers suggests that a strong father-child relationship is both preventative of the father's recidivism, and may protect the child from future involvement in criminal activities. Children of incarcerated parents are approximately six times more likely than other children to be incarcerated themselves, and half of incarcerated juveniles have a parents who has been to jail or prison. Effects experienced by children of prisoners including increased rates of dropout and suspension. see Ross Parke & K. Alison Clarke- Stewart, Effects of Parental Incarceration on Young Children 4-5(2002)(conference presentation) (available at http//www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/410627_ParentalIncarceration.pdf).
This is to touch on the issue you inquired. Again I fully understand what's at risk and its my choice to make. I like what your are doing for that young lady and you are the kind of people I need on my side. I've requested to have a sit down with the Captains and other staff so We can understand what's their goals, their expectations of the prisoners , so We can all be on the same page. We would also,want to known what could the inmates do in order to earn our restricted privileges back. Having this sit down with staff, will show on the prisoners part, that We are willing to build the trust and Staff and Prisoners relationships that We once had between both parties. Also, restore the hope and respect, between COs, Medical staff and other staff members associated with CCI. This was once a decent Max Institution for whoever had a long stay. I have faith that this Prison can get where we once was, but to do away with solitary confinement more than 15 days. I've had my share of Segregation time and it really does something to a human mind. It strips you of your humanity and you find yourself doing things and saying things you wouldn't say in a normal setting. You got prisoners throwing feces and urin at officers and even at each others.You have prisoners exposing themselves at women staff not knowing that's sexual assault a crime. You have prisoners becoming enemies because the environment is toxic. You got prisoners who were normal before they went in, then it's like something breaks in their head. Getting into deputes with the guards, where the guards can't take it no more. The environment gets very hostile. Then the guards lose their mind and they get to acting unprofessional like some kind of Mad person. The evil spirits jumps around were Crazy becomes the norm. Prisoners start to self harm,and some even attempts to take their own life. It gets so depressive down and you get caught up in it. Then you're placed on psychiatric medication and you become dependent on them. You slowly become a "Junkie" in need of a fix. Sometimes you take your MED's or sometimes you began to sell them.
The staff finds out you're dealing your medications, now you're taking off those particular meds that you once needed to help you with your mental issues. The sign affects of not getting your meds, put you in a deep depression, you become violent and a problem for the institution.Then you're locked back up again only to start the cycle all over again.