Secretary Carr told lies and exaggerated his accomplishments in this video and in responses to our calls and emails.
1. Reducing the prison population. He’s fudging some numbers, but more importantly the population continued gradually rising under his watch until March of 2020 when it began a slow decline in response to the COVID19 emergency. That response has not met the emergency.
More than 1/3 of Kevin’s captives (8,458) have tested positive. The prisons are still overcrowded, making social distancing impossible, and at least one prison, in Racine (RCI) ran out of isolation beds. Kevin downplays by counting 7,222 people who tested positive as “inactive” because time has passed since the test. Scientists do not know the true length of COVID19 infections, many people’s symptoms recur or last longer. Given horrific prison healthcare standards, some people still experiencing symptoms likely fall into the 7,222 labelled “inactive.”
We suspect the population reduction will not last past COVID. It is important to note that in late July, the DOC population rose again for a few weeks. That is, in the middle of the pandemic and following the George Floyd rebellion, while the country was experiencing a national reckoning about racial injustice, Kevin was unable to maintain his meagre decarceration efforts.
2. Revocation policy. Kevin is referring to the fact that 40% of prison admissions are initiated by his community supervision (DCC) staff through crimeless revocations. DCC agents work for Kevin Carr. Their revocation practices have been his to change since January of 2019. Advocates meet with him, the Governor, and various DCC officials repeatedly, since their first months in office, but it’s not until November 2020 that Kevin proposes (doesn’t enact, just talks about) the first steps to change it. Those first steps do not include stopping all crimeless revocations. They do not include counting vested street time to prevent DCC agents from extending people’s sentences. They do not include a commitment to closing MSDF, a prison built to accommodate the revocation zeal of Milwaukee DCC agents. They do not include clemency for people unjustly revocated under the previous policy. Those are all things that Carr and Evers can do, but aren’t.
3. Make 1000 more people eligible for earned release. This program is supposed to let some people out early if they meet certain criteria. The changes were first announced at a September virtual townhall, but will not be implemented until 2021, if at all. Again, these are changes he could have made long ago. He also makes it sound like this is 1000 releases, but expanding eligibility for this program also does not garauntee expanded releases. The DOC staff in the Bureau of [slur removed] Classification and Movement (BOCM) and Program Review Committees (PRC) get to choose who of the eligible people are also considered “suitable.” Many BOCM and PRC staff are deeply committed to and financially benefitting from Wisconsin’s high prison population. Guards also have the ability to interfere with a captive’s eligibility for release.
Advocates for people sentenced under the old law (who need BOCM, PRC, and clean incident records when they go before the parole board) are familiar with their obstruction. The PRC denies access to programming, BOCM blocks security classification changes, and guards increase harassment to provoke or fabricate incident reports. Every mechanism that involves the considerations of DOC bureaucrats should be met with skepticism.
4. Kevin also repeatedly shouted “we’re doing everything we can.” Which is definitely not true. There are mechanisms that bypass this obstructive bureaucracy: clemency and sentence commutation. Governors of other states have used these mechanisms, aggressively, in response to the pandemic, and even before it.
Kevin Carr cannot grant clemencies, but Governor Evers can, and Kevin can publicly urge him to do so.
Here’s how you you can help:
-Contact Secretary Carr’s office 608-240-5065 firstname.lastname@example.org
– use the suggested script in the video, or feel free to improvise. There is no requirement to be polite with Kevin, he is killing people.
-Share this video and encourage others to make the call.
-Learn more about the prison system. It is a part of all of our lives, most of us don’t even know it. Get a penpal, find an advocacy organization to join, or just do some research and take informal direct action. Embrace and explore abolition!