Monday, May 25, 2020

Ways to pursue release in the face of COVID-19.

This is a mass email we sent to hundreds of incarcerated people last week to help them self-advocate for release in the face of COVID-19. We've been demanding such releases since mid-march, but the Governor's office has been incredibly callous and entirely unhelpful.

If you have an incarcerated loved one, or want to advocate for any particular individual's release, this email describes the means we've been able to find to attempt that. None of these methods have proven successful at all, let alone reliable.

Our hope is that many people pursuing them, and many more holding up the specific lives Governor Evers is unwilling to even consider releasing--including elderly people, immune compromised people, people who have mere months left on their sentence, or who have done years longer than their sentencing judges likely intended--we can compel Tony Evers to finally start caring, at all, about people who live different lives than him, or most of his staff.


Organizing Update May 21- by Ben Turk

How FFUP works: Peg is intake, Ben is outreach. We're both unpaid volunteers stretched beyond our capacity. We need your help to make the workflow manageable. If you need a response and individual help regarding conditions, health issues, abusive staff, etc contact Peg, by paper mail.
FFUP c/o Peg Swan 29631 Wild Rose Drive Blue River, WI 53518
If you want something posted and sent out to reporters, contact Ben by replying here. Indicate if you want your message published anonymously or with your name. I am going to focus on mass mailings, so if you ask questions, I likely will not give an individual response, but will include any info I can in the next mass mailing.

This week, I’m going to focus on releases due to COVID-19, but first: We've created a hotline for people with symptoms who aren't getting tested. If you or someone you know is in that situation, call 414-207-9691. A volunteer will ask a series of questions and pass your answers on. We've put funds on that #, so anyone can call.
I'll address Kerby (act355) lawsuits (which are on hold) raids and lockdowns, etc in the next mass mailing. The rest of this email is about three things you or your family can do to pursue emergency release:

1 Sentence Modification from a judge
2 Clemency from Governor Evers
3 Extraordinary parole from Chairman Tate
We have not confirmed that ANYONE has won release by these (or any) methods. Our goal is to pursue them along with a pressure campaign demanding action.

1. Sentence Modification from a judge.
I connected with the public defender’s office and confirmed they are actively looking to assist people due to covid-19! Contact them at the office for the county where you were convicted (listed below).  Be warned, this is a longshot, and a slow court process. We're hoping with the public defenders help, some judges might be more open than normal.
The good part is there are no automatic restrictions. Instead, anyone can contact the public defenders, who will review your entire situation and determine your chance of success. People with A or B felony convictions will have lower chances, but with enough other mitigating factors, the PD might try. Sometimes your chances will be limited because of things you have no control over: the judge and DA in your sentencing county (Racine, Sauk, Rock, and Portage have been esp difficult).
In your first letter / phone call share the following information to help the PD review your chances.
     - if you qualify financially for a public defender (most incarcerated people do)
     - what you were convicted of
     - time left on your sentence
     - health and medical issues
     - age
     - reentry preparedness and situation
Here’s a list of PD offices by county. If the county you were convicted in isn’t listed, contact the main office instead (see end of list).
Ashland 715/682-7257 411 ELLIS AVE S-STE B ASHLAND 54806
Barron 715/537-1191 410 E LA SALLE AVE – STE A BARRON 54812
Brown 920/448-5433 139 S WASHINGTON ST GREEN BAY 54301-4210
Columbia 608/742-1150 2520 W WISCONSIN ST- SUITE 105; PORTAGE 53901-1023
Dane 608/266-9150 PO Box 7884; MADISON 53707-7884
Dodge 920/386-5577 PO Box 146 JUNEAU 53039-0146
Douglas 715/392-7866 1316 N. 14TH ST-STE 401, SUPERIOR 54880
Eau Claire 715/836-2006 21 S BARSTOW-3RD FL; EAU CLAIRE 54701-3669
Fond du Lac 920/929-3990 160 S MACY-1ST FL; FOND DU LAC 54935-4241
Grant 608/723-6436 207 W. MAPLE ST-STE A; LANCASTER 53813
Green 608/325-5065 2841 6TH ST, MONROE 53566
Jackson 715/284-9553 438 N WATER ST; BLACK RIVER FALLS 54615-1017
Jefferson 920/674-2800 110 W. LINDEN DR., UNIT C; JEFFERSON 53549-1491
Kenosha 262/653-6404 604 57TH ST-STE 201; KENOSHA 53140
LaCrosse 608/785-9531 205 5TH AVE S-STE 200; LA CROSSE 54601-4059
Lincoln 715/536-9105 100 S. MILL ST-STE 104; MERRILL 54452-2736
Manitowoc 920/683-4690 927 S. 8 th ST-STE A; MANITOWOC 54220
Marathon 715/842-1603 370 GRAND AVE; WAUSAU 54403
Milwaukee 414/227-4130 819 N 6TH ST-RM 908; MILWAUKEE WI 53203-1606
Monroe 608/325-5065 2841 6TH ST, MONROE 53566
Oneida 715/369-1655 7 W KING ST RHINELANDER 54501
Outgamie 920/832-2774 100 W LAWRENCE ST-STE APPLETON 250; 54911
Ozaukee 262/284-1862 1032 S SPRING ST; PORT WASHINGTON 53074
Portage 715/345-5382 1025 CLARK ST; PORTAGE 54481
Racine 262/638-7530 420 6TH ST; RACINE 53403
Rock 608/758-6170 101 E MILWAUKEE ST-STE 503; JANESVILLE 53545-3004
Sauk 608/355-3180 107 3RD ST – 2ND Floor; 53913
Shawano 715/524-2521 106 S MAIN ST SHAWANO 54166
Sheboygan 920/459-4026 1426 N 5TH ST-STE 1; SHEBOYGAN 53081
St Croix 715/386-4360 2100 O'NEIL RD-STE 400; HUDSON 54016
Walworth 262/723-3212 209 O'CONNOR DRIVE ELKHORN 53121
Washington 262/335-5370 215 N MAIN ST-STE 210; WEST BEND 53095
Waukesha 262/521-5173 407 PILOT CT-STE 500; WAUKESHA 53188-2439
Winnebago 920/424-3304 303 PEARL AVE-STE B; WINNEBAGO 54901-4774
FOR COUNTIES NOT LISTED: contact the Trial Division Admin. Tell them you need help contacting the appropriate office. 608/267-9588 17 S. FAIRCHILD – 5 TH FLR; MADISON WI 53703
That number goes to Jennifer Bias' office. She's who I spoke with. Ms Bias said she would rather people they can't help reach out, than have people they could help hold back, so give it a shot, but don't be surprised if they can't take your case.

2. Clemency from Governor Evers
The WI Constitution gives Gov Evers broad power to release many people. It's the fastest and best way to address covid-19. Governors in other states are doing mass clemency, but Gov Evers is a coward who doesn’t care about incarcerated people. He created criteria that exclude all from even being considered. He can change these criteria at any time, so we want to keep upping pressure on him until he does.
Pressure: filing Clemency Waiver Requests, publishing and promoting them. We’ve sent 75 so far, posted them to prisonforum.org and organized online press events for media about them. Led to some great articles.
Katie Domina in the Governor’s office says they received the requests, but she refuses to recognize the form or answer questions clearly. I don’t know if any waivers have even touched the Gov’s desk. If you, or your family want to contact her and follow up, she’s at: Katie Domina, Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Tony Evers, P.O. Box 7863 Madison, WI 53707 katherine.domina1@wisconsin (608) 438-6139
To file a clemency waiver request, hand write the following as though you’re filling out a form. This comes from an obsolete form, so the paper is not necessary. Our campaign is about demanding something that doesn't yet exist.
For Q 11, include all mitigating details, remorse, how you’ve changed, etc.
For Q 12, talk about covid-19, your health issues, fears, time left, etc.
Mail directly to Gov Evers, and send a copy Peg Swan. She will scan and post it (without SSN) and we will get reporters to look at and hopefully write about it. We only succeed if there's public shame on the gov.
Governor Tony Evers P.O. Box 7863 Madison, WI 53707
    1. Name 2. Date of Birth 3. Social Security Number 4. Type of Clemency Requested: [] Reprieve [] Commutation [reprieve means they lock you back up after the pandemic. Commutation means permanent release.] 5. Have you applied for an eligibility waiver before? 1. If yes, when 6. Mailing address (all correspondence will be sent here. Notify board of any change of address)7. Home address, if different from mailing address 8. Telephone number(s) Include area code. [Family members who can be contacted] 9. Crimes for which you will request executive clemency, if it is granted (use extra sheet if needed) 10.  Sentence and Sentence Length, date of sentence completion (including parole and probation) 11.  Describe (do not just list) the crime(s) identified in question 10. Explain the circumstances surrounding the crime(s), and why you committed the crime(s). Attach additional sheets of paper if necessary. 12.  Explain the extraordinary circumstances that you believe warrant a waiver of the Governor’s eligibility rules.
I certify that the information in this application is true to the best of my knowledge.
Applicant signature:        Date:
Materials voluntarily submitted by, or on behalf of, the applicant during the executive clemency application process, may be used for purposes other than consideration for executive clemency and are subject to Wisconsin’s open records laws Wis. Stat. § 15.04(1)(m)

3. Extraordinary parole from Chairman Tate (Exec Dir 31)
Only parole eligible people can pursue this one. It is asking John Tate for release due to the extraordinary circumstance of covid-19, as well as other health issues / disproportionate sentence. It’s pretty broad. 
Here is a message from Peg on how to apply. You can request the directive itself from her at the address above, but applying is done simply by writing letters to Tate and your Warden.
“In the Directive itself, the wardens are to “Determine if the inmate is statutorily eligible for consideration and forward the request to the Chairperson with a recommendation.” In the notice to me, it merely says the parole chairman with “consider the requests upon recommendation of the warden.” SO we will find out how much power the warden has in the decision. In the past, the applications never got to the parole chairman. SO you might want to send your applications directly to the chairman OR send to both. This is forging a new path.
I recommend doing a complete job on this is you if you apply for John Tate really wonts to release you-make it easy for him - recommendation letters from friends and family and former employers, completion of programs- certificates or a list if what you have done as far as jobs programs, volunteering, helping other prisoners- - any documents PLUS your story . If you Have family with a scanner, email a copy to us and we will put it on the web . But you should send it in your name I think ,for it will get less prejudging that way. if you have no support or funds , you can mail to us, we will scan and send it to Parole chairman with your name as return address. Do this on your own if you have the funds, however. And let us know what happens, Peg Swan"
Unfortunately, Tate hasn’t released anybody under ED 31. Really, he can release anyone anytime after their first parole hearing date, but he also still hasn’t gotten confirmed by the senate. If he is paroles too many, or the wrong person, they will fire him, and the coward Gov probably won’t have his back and might even replace him with someone who will make even less waves.
Commissioners LaCost, Drankiewicz, and Kramer are still making lousy recommendations. Remember: Tate can ignore them. If you have a hearing coming up, ALWAYS write Tate before and immediately after. Encourage your family to write too. I believe that LaCost, etc are sick assholes. They want to feel like they have power over your destiny. They don't. I suggest being always polite with them, let them play games and go feel however they want, but talk to Tate if you want a fairer shake.
Last week reporters said Tate had released 43 people in two months. The previous commission chair, Dan Gabler only released 97 people during his whole 2 year tenure. Anyone deferred by Gabler might like to know he recently got thoroughly trounced in his judge reelection campaign! He was the incumbent, but Rebecca Kiefer beat him 70% to 30%. Serves him right. I hope he never works again.

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