The Milwaukee Turner’s Confronting Mass Incarceration (CMI) is doing a series on restorative justice and circles. This series has featured panels that include prisonphiles like DOC Secretary Carr and DA John Chisolm.
These panels are all done via ZOOM and there is no way to actually live up to the organization’s name and confront these prisonphiles. All questions are put into a chat box and then cherry picked by the moderator, who has a clear priority of appealing to power and silencing every confrontational question. Video of the first panel is up on the Turner Hall youtube page.
After seeing this occur in the first panel, we decided to collect those questions and print them here. So, here are the questions submitted, but not asked of DA Chisolm at today’s panel.
Do you work with the DOC’s community supervision division (DCC) to bypass due process protections by revoking people you suspect of crimes rather than actually convicting them?
That practice saves money and resources, but also focus the carceral power of the state unto a small group of people arbitrarily chosen to suffer continuously for the sake of your prosecution quotas?
How does it feel to work a career based on ruining the lives of targeted groups of people?
Doesn’t the racial targeting of police and prosecution make you a pillar of white supremacy in Wisconsin?
People are coming into your system because they are Black. Milwaukee ranks 8th in the nation for racial disparities.
How is your role as someone threatening further trauma impact the success of those restorative processes? How can you expect someone to be vulnerable to the intimate self-examination restorative justice requires, while your office hangs the threat of incarceration and torture over them?
Is that real restorative justice? I always understood estorative justice as an alternative to incarceration, but prison systems and courts operating restorative justice processes turns it into an augment to state violence rather than an alternative. Does the approach you are taking to restorative justice deepen the reach of state violence and white supremacist coercion into a more intimate level of a “respondent’s” life?
You made a deal to get Baron Walker released after he and his family were featured as an example of the old law problem in the 53206 Documentary. Why did you ensure that his release would not set a precedent or help others plagued by exactly the same injustice also get out?
How many months did you make Baron, Beverly, and their kids wait while you figured out how to ensure that others would remain trapped?
I went to a panel discussion shortly after this happened, there you framed all your work as a good deed, but in reality, it seemd the bulk of your effort went into protecting the parole commission’s ability to continue harming others who didn’t get lucky enough to be featured in a popular documentary. How does a person get the gall to act the way you do?
Those protections have been eroded and are, compared to a few decades ago, basically meaningless today. How does it feel to be the foreman of a white supremacist “factory outlet”?
Most of those old law prisoners are still incarcerated, and half of Wisconsin’s captives have now tested positive for COVID, 25 have died, unknown others are suffering life-long health effects, many others also died without getting tested, or due to lack of medical resources during the pandemic. Even outside of the pandemic, rates of death, suicide, and permanent debility and medical deterioration are elevated in prison. Most of the people held in Wisconsin prisons come from Milwaukee, all of them go through the Milwaukee DA’s office, which you have been head of since January 2007. How does it feel to be directly responsible for 14 years of death and hardship?
So how is violence perpetrated by police officers addressed? Especially when the DA’s office refuses to bring charges against officers.
How can we invest in alternatives to police when police and your office are taking so many resources that everything else is starved and crowded out?
Given the racial disparities in prosecution, and the fact that Wisconsin prisons are basically concentration camps staffed by white supremacists, are you an openly racist person, or do you somehow convince yourself that this is all coincidence and somehow not your fault?
I mean, you have probably had a hand in the deaths and ruined lives of more Black people than any other single person in this state, and you are clearly proud of what you do at your job, so, is it okay for us to conclude that you take pride in capturing and killing Black people?
Would you publicly call for defunding your office, and MPD so that we have resources to fund those more effective community-based projects?
How can you say that DA Chisolm does what’s right? His department runs up incareration rates on the north side to the highest levels in all of amerika. Why is someone who does that allowed to present himself as a progressive or liberal?
To Danielle Sered as she describes the failings of the prison system: Again, how can you say this after praising DA Chisolm, who, for 14 year has filled WI prisons and cycled people through them, and specifically disproportionately targets the Black community?
Danielle just described in great detail that putting people into prison (what you’ve been doing aggressively for 14 years) doesn’t reduce the liklihood of recidivism. Why do you use assessment tools that conflict with that data / common sense?
How often do you use crimeless revocation and the DCC on those cases that you screen?