This is part of an ongoing series where we attend the monthly staff meeting of the parole commission and make notes available to the public and to captives held under the old law (sentenced before 2000).
September’s meeting was on Wednesday the 1st. It was attended by commission chair, John Tate II, all three commissioners, and two records associates. The public portion was about 20 minutes long, and there was a “no action” case they discussed in closed session afterward.
Tate started the meeting similarly to the last few meetings, bringing up a few tweaks that suggest he is making gradual changes to the parole commission process. First, he indicated that parole commissioners should use third person rather than first person language when describing their choices. So, rather than saying for example, “I recommend a two month defer” they should say “the commissioner recommends a two month defer.” Tate said this “better indicates that these are the agency’s choices, not individuals.”
On Monday August 30, following a news conference on transit, some prison abolitionists confronted Wisconsin governor Tony Evers. Evers’ aides ushered him away and tried to defend the governor’s policies. Here is video of the encounter, and our response to his statements.
When we spoke last Monday, you ignored well-founded criticism and dodged public accountability on prison atrocities by telling me you wanted a statement in writing. You instructed that we send you some resources to verify what we are saying.
Well, here’s our response, in writing, per your request:
Around noon on Saturday, August 28, 2021, dozens of activists descended on the sprawling maximum-security Green Bay Correctional Institute (GBCI) in Allouez, WI. The direct action event was organized autonomously by a coalition including ABOLISHmke and members of the local Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). Our goals were manifold: to expose the routine atrocities committed by staff with tacit support of local and state authorities; to confidently assure those still trapped inside that we love, care for, and honor them; and to highlight and signal boost the experiences of formerly incarcerated people and loved ones of current captives. We also came with a set of demands for Warden Dylon Radtke and executives like Governor Tony Evers which we attempted to deliver to the front office.
These are resources to help participants prepare for our interactive abolitionist workshop on Tuesday August 31, 2021.
TUESDAY AUG 31, 6PM Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts 926 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI Donations accepted for JGCA and SHUTEMDOWN2021
Description: Join us for a potluck and interactive two-part abolitionist workshop. In part one, we envision prison abolition not as an abstract ideal or long-term aspiration, but as a force growing within from the rebellions of prison captives. In part two, we learn practical lessons about how to achieve restorative justice through international solidarity with Indigenous-led anticolonial autonomous movements in northeast Syria and the southeast Mexican region of Chiapas.
Imposed PDF of this article available for printing here.
I want to start this off with a thought experiment. Imagine that, for one reason or another, state authorities retreated from your area. For all intents and purposes the government was just gone one day. How would you organize your community?
I would like the opportunity to expose the hazardous and unhealthful conditions of confinement in the prisons in the state of Wisconsin and all of its subdivisions; which has created a substantial risk of harm to all mentally ill prisoners, medically ill prisoners, and prisoners who are showing signs of illnesses.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In February of 2021, the Wisconsin prison system (DOC) decided to reduce companies providing commissary to incarcerated people from three to one. As we previously reported, the company they chose is Union Supply. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article about this upcoming change. Malik, who is incarcerated at Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (WSPF), sent us the following response to what MJS has published. We have added a couple notes and hyperlinks to sources, to expand on what Malik discusses.
As usual, rather than be forthright & truthful, the Wisconsin prison system (DOC), via their mouthpiece John Beard, is spewing lies, half truths & omitting significant information about this vendor situation. One key thing in the Journal Sentinel article is Beard’s statement about there being a “security” issue with having Marcus as a vendor because our people can go to the store & purchase items. In essence, he’s suggesting that our people & Marcus staff will conspire to put contraband in the products.
ABOLISHmke, news and analysis from a bad place. We write from an anti-authoritarian perspective on police, prisons, and more in the so-called state of Wisconsin.
We will publish anything sent to us that conforms to our editorial standards for authenticity, conflict, and rigor. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions: abolishmke [at] protonmail [dot] com.
Wisconsin’s parole system is a corrupt and harmful charade. Reform progress under the new chair, John Tate II has been achingly slow, and the parole commission engages in convoluted logic and willful ignorance to justify deeply unjust practices. At their recent staff meeting on August 4, Tate shed some light on early release through executive directive 31 and other parole practices.
The meeting started 30 minutes late, and lasted about 25 minutes. It was held at the DOC headquarters in Madison, but the public was only invited to attend online. The full staff was present, except commissioner Doug Drankiewicz, who attended via zoom. The late start seemed to be due to technical difficulties with the zoom meeting, seemingly because they changed the format to better restrict public participation. Tate has always been very concerned about possible disruption from people at the meetings, though none has ever occurred.