COVID Spreader Shakedown at Racine CI

Warden Paul Kemper standing outside his prison.

Staff at the prison in Racine (RCI) are forcing captives to congregate in the gym, and then going cell to cell spreading covid19 by tossing everyone’s property. They do not change gloves between cells, and at least one of the tossed units has gone on isolation quarantine.

Coronavirus is still present in Racine, and at RCI. The pandemic hasn’t magically stopped spreading via surfaces, so guards rifling through everything in an infected but asymptomatic person’s cell will carry virus particles to every cell they shake down subsequently. Read the details about the shakedowns in the message we got from someone held at RCI at the end of this post.

The DOC’s terrible policies allowed major outbreaks, infecting more than half of the people they hold captive. Resuming property shakedowns and congregating people in gyms is a good way to ensure that the remainder also get infected, or that people who recovered get re-infected.

In the past, the DOC has put facilities on lockdown and done unit-wide cell searches after a significant security incident or the discovery of contraband. This shakedown does not appear to be inspired by such an event, but is just being done to bring people into conformity with new property limit rules. That means, they are risking everyone’s lives to enforce petty DOC rules about how many towels or blankets captives are allowed. Our contact said:

“we are being put at serious risk over NON serious issues. having too much allowed property is not a threat to the safety or security of the prison. in all the years I’ve been incarcerated I’ve never heard of a major unit shakedown to ensure inmates didn’t have too much allowed property, especially at a time like this.”

We’ve also heard that a memo regarding these property limits went out at the prison in Oshkosh (OSCI). This memo likely went to all facilities across the system, so we’re afraid that similar shakedowns will occur in these other facilities, if they aren’t already.

An admin at the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) said the shakedown violates a memo they sent about safe covid practices, so at least one Warden, Paul Kemper at RCI, has his staff disregarding his bosses’ safe practice rules. Unfortunately, the reformers at the top of the DOC will not require wardens to comply with their directives unless they receive written complaints.

Kevin Carr likes to position himself as a reformer, but he’s clearly not pro-active and needs to be continually pushed into doing the right thing.

Please join us by writing complaints. Email DOC officials and demanding they STOP THE SHAKEDOWNS.

Email the RCI warden, DAI head, and DOC secretary:
Paul.Kemper@wisconsin.gov
Sarah.Cooper@wisconsin.gov
Kevin.Carr@wisconsin.gov

Make your message personal, if you have time. Here is a suggested script:

The DOC must stop all unnecessary cell searches, immediately. A shakedown risks spreading covid19 by forcing people to move around, break social distance, and most importantly by surface spread through guards rifling through their property. STOP THE SHAKEDOWNS!

A message from an RCI captive:

…i just wanted to update u all on whats been going on lately. they’ve been doing major unit shakedowns, making everyone on the unit go to the gym. then going through the cells. I believe they did three units so far. one of the units they searched has gone back on quarantine, the entire unit. this is Milwaukee unit and its an isolation quarantine not a regular quarantine. this in my view is no coincidence since staff rarely if ever change their gloves when doing cell to cell searches. they look through peoples garbage,  dirty clothes etc and just go on to the next cell with the same gloves. handling the next persons stuff with the same filthy gloves.

i personally witnessed staff doing this during a recent electronics sweep (looking for bogus TV’s radios fans etc that aren’t on an inmates property list and were left to them by an inmate being released) of the entire unit, and once again a extra linen sweep. in that case looking for extra state issue clothing and bed sheets and  towels. Future health and lives are being put at risk over this as the general prison population has not been vaccinated for covid, only those 65 and over and many staff are refusing to get vaccinated out of some conspiratorial belief the vaccine will give them covid, cause them to die, become paralyzed, it may have a toxin in it or some other drug the drug companies want to secretly test on people, etc., ad nauseum.

i guess these impending searches are being impelled by a desire to see that all of an inmates personal property fits in three cardboard boxes, (not including electronics items and consumable commissary) and all legal papers fit in one cardboard box. the boxes they are referring make less space han we are actually allowed by policy, but that’s a side issue. The point is that this is not something that is serious enough to jeopardize peoples lives and health over, especially when there is no limit to how many times someone can get covid, and when they presently have a more dangerous and contagious covid variant identified in Wisconsin. People should know about what is going on. we are being put at serious risk over NON serious issues. having too much allowed property is not a threat to the safety or security of the prison. in all the years I’ve been incarcerated I’ve never heard of a major unit shakedown to ensure inmates didn’t have too much allowed property, especially at a time like this. if inmates possess everything the doc allows them to have, they can still be over allowable space limitations.