On March 19, 2020 a prison doctor brought the coronavirus pandemic into the Waupun prison (WCI). As we approach the one year anniversary of this event, we want to review how Wisconsin has handled COVID in prison. Unfortunately, thanks to opaque bureaucracy and the unaccountable prison system (DOC), it’s impossible to make an accurate assessment.
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. Continue reading “COVID Spreader Shakedown at Racine CI”
Last week, Governor Tony Evers introduced his new state budget plan, and, as far as the prison system is concerned, it didn’t matter at all. There are some decent provisions included, like legalizing marijuana, expanding TAD funding and closing youth prisons without requiring the construction of new ones, but the proposal falls short of closing prisons and our other defund the DOC demands.
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.
For the second winter in a row, people held at Columbia CI have defended themselves against the daily violence of incarceration in that facility. We do not know many details yet, but we’re hearing that on Dec 30 and 31, three staff were severely beaten. The preceding incidents for these specific assaults remain unreported at this time, but we do know that prison is a site of daily violence and dehumanization, and in the face of these events, we affirm our belief that any act of resistance by any incarcerated person against staff is always an act of defense. Our message to DOC guards is simple: if you do not want to get hurt at your job, do not take a job based on routinely hurting people. Eventually, someone will fight back.
We joined the candlelight vigil outside Governor Evers’ house organized by MOSES to commemorate those killed by the Governor’s neglect. Around fifty people showed up to the posh lakeside neighborhood, blocking the street, singing and speaking about the hardships imprisoned loved ones experience and the governor’s lack of action to prevent these deaths. Continue reading “Free Our Loved Ones Action”
Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes held a virtual town hall to discuss the 2021-23 budget in regards to prison and policing on December 8th. He and members of his administration lied to participants and muted people who objected to those lies, undermining their branding of the event as a “people’s budget listening session”. More than 250 people were on the call. These participants were put into seven or more break out rooms to facilitate the collection of public comments. Continue reading “Don’t get it twisted, Governor Evers doesn’t need our help”
Wisconsin prison boss Kevin Carr has both publicly and privately requested that prisoner advocates and anti-prison organizers help him expand funding for programming and mental health treatment in the DOC’s budget.