How the DOC is turning GBCI into a Supermax

Cell extraction team in Green Bay CI’s Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU). Video still from Wisconsin Watch, 2017.

By Mattew McAfee

I’d like to discuss how GBCI is being turned into the new supermax of Wisconsin.

How is that you ask?

Well the new renovations of the cages they keep us locked in for this is not a house, room, place, cell, or any other odd terms they use to describe the living conditions they lock us up to die in. Though most of us will be getting out, people like me who have to live in here every day, till our last breath—it is a living hell.

Continue reading “How the DOC is turning GBCI into a Supermax”

Snitch House Series

Senators Lena Taylor and Van Wanggaard, introducing their snitch house legislation on May 18.

During the May 18 public hearing on the Snitch House bill (SB124/AB258 also known as COP house bill) Lena Taylor and Van Wanggaard revealed that their co-authored, pro-cop legislation is everything we fear, and worse. We already have a long article detailing snitch houses (bootlickers call them COP houses) but, the more we learn and reflect on supporter’s statements at the hearings, the more we have to say. 

There is so much to unpack from Taylor and Wanggaard’s introduction that we are going to put out a three part series, starting this week. The bill gets its first assembly committee vote on Wednesday, June 2. Please call or email the democratic members of the committee before Wednesday!

This series will cover how snitch houses: 

Before getting into these harms snitch houses may cause, let’s take a quick look at the hearing—and the shady politics going on behind this legislation. 

Continue reading “Snitch House Series”

Snitch House Democrats

The aftermath of community defending itself against a snitch house.

There’s a bill working its way through the state legislature that will give police $600,000 to establish snitch houses in many Wisconsin cities. A snitch house, also called a COP or “community oriented policing” house, is a small police department that looks like a house and provides “wraparound services” like after-school programming to the neighboring community in exchange for improved community and police relations. By “improved relations,” they mean snitching.

Senator Lena Taylor brought the senate version of this bill to a public hearing in Milwaukee alongside some other trash. There, residents, including many of her constituents, roundly opposed it. Nevertheless, Taylor went forward, promoting it at a press conference and then seeing it pass unanimously in the senate on Tuesday, May 11.  

Now the assembly version of the bill, AB258, is coming up for a hearing in Madison on Tuesday May 18 alongside the assembly version of SB119, the notorious “fund the police” bill. SB119 is an empty republican provocation with zero bipartisan support. Governor Evers will certainly veto it. The snitch house grant is a bigger threat because, without intervention, it will actually become law. 

Continue reading “Snitch House Democrats”

JFC Starts with One Big Crooked Vote

This is what democracy looks like.

On Thursday May 7, the leaders of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) demonstrated a profound disdain for most people in Wisconsin. They removed 390 items from consideration in the budget process, including very popular measures like marijuana legalization, BadgerCare expansion, education opportunities, youth justice reform, taxing the rich, driver’s licenses for immigrants, and many many others. These were the JFC’s very first votes on the budget, and the way senator Howard Marklein and representative Mark Born ran the meeting showed their eagerness to rip off the people on behalf of their rich friends. 

Continue reading “JFC Starts with One Big Crooked Vote”

Union Supply Monopoly

Prisoners are isolated to ordering solely from union supply as a contracted vendor… I’m under the impression it violates the consumers protection  act where we are to have price competitiveness  and is at contrast with the reasons the doc initially cited as their reasons to start the four original vendors contracts in 2007 or so, which included wider selection and “price competitiveness”. Please advise … and stop this unjust overtaxing of loved ones and prisoners hard earnings especially where union charges way more than  others, takes three times the wait to deliver and puts families on hold hours to place orders. Also, where prisoners earn 5¢ per hour and doc takes 50% of hat 5¢ for restitution even hough courts imposed 25% and hen turn around and take another 10% for release accounts. Who is criminal in his situation?!!

—Jose Soto #307830, prisoner at Waupun Correctional Institution

 

The Wisconsin DOC is working towards only allowing one vendor to provide essentials to their captives: Union Supply. There’s a whole host of issues that come along with this, not least of which being that monopolies are historically price-gougers and unreliable, because there is no competition, so they can proceed however they want and do whatever maximizes profits, disregarding the needs and rights of the people they’re doing business with. Continue reading “Union Supply Monopoly”

Governor Evers Ignores the People, Funds the Police.

Gov Evers signing money over to the police on April 27.

Today, Governor Evers passed a law that gives money to police. It makes police and firefighters eligible for PTSD worker’s compensation.

Firefighters are fine. Cops are not. They are not workers and should not get worker compensation. The police are, and always have been the sworn enemies of the working class. They are the attack dogs of capitalism. When workers go on strike for labor protections, including worker’s compensation, it is the police who attack them and delay the passage of those laws. Continue reading “Governor Evers Ignores the People, Funds the Police.”

Open Letter to Wisconsin Democrats

A buncha dems watching Gov Evers sign the 2019 budget.

We are inviting all Wisconsin Democrats and all organizations addressing prison issues to publicly join the 3 demands of Governor Evers. Please sign the petition, and forward it to friends, and most importantly, public figures you follow and to your elected officials.

Below is an open letter we’ve sent to more than 120 Wisconsin members or affiliates of the Democratic party, including assembly and congressional representatives, state and federal senators, county board supervisors, city council members, party officers, and more.  We are also sending the open letter to a wide variety of state and local media.

Continue reading “Open Letter to Wisconsin Democrats”

Prison Expansion: How and Why We Fight

There is increasing bipartisan agreement in the state of Wisconsin behind prison expansion, and the decisions will be made in the budget process. The governor’s budget has already proposed expanded funding for a new youth prison, and expansions to 7 other facilities. The Republican legislature has been trying to build a new prison outside Green Bay for years.

This is the third in our series of articles about how to fight this prison expansion. In the first, we talked about where and when the budget fight would go down. The second tackled who and what we were up against. This one we take on the how and why of fighting prison expansion.

 

Prison Expansion: How We Fight

The conventional approach to public hearings is to be respectful, make your stories personal, appeal to the conscience of the politicians on the committee to fund beneficial programs and defund harmful programs. Regarding the prison system, that means pleading with them to fund treatment, alternatives, and diversion (TAD), mental health care, and community support, instead of building a new prison. Continue reading “Prison Expansion: How and Why We Fight”

John Tate’s Miserly Two Hundred

Banner dropped over I-43 on April 3rd- from riotmke

At last month’s Parole Commission staff meeting, the Chair, John Tate II made an interesting statement about the number of people the commission had granted releases to in the last year. Last Saturday, April 3, was the National Freedom Movement’s ParoleWatch2021 event, and the commission’s next monthly meeting is Wednesday morning (you can attend at 10 am via zoom here). so this seems like a good time to go in-depth about Tate’s work on the commission.

John Tate II came into his role as a reformer. He is a very diplomatic man and he’s in a delicate situation. Some who know and trust him believe he is doing the best he can in that situation, but anyone who is suffering, or knows and loves someone suffering in prison under the old law, knows that John Tate’s best has not been good enough.

If justice, fairness, reason, or any higher minded values held sway in Wisconsin, everyone serving under the old law, all 2800 of them, would be released by now. Organizers with FFUP, WISDOM, and the ACLU have been fighting to release people sentenced under the old law for years. The 53206 documentary featured the intransigent corruption of the parole commission in regards to one family: Baron and Beverly Walker. The commission and two-faced Milwaukee DA John Chisolm caved to pressure in Baron’s case, but they were very careful to ensure that his release would not create a precedent for the thousands of others in his same circumstances.

John Tate II holds the keys to these people’s cages, and he overwhelmingly refuses them freedom. Continue reading “John Tate’s Miserly Two Hundred”

Prison Expansion: What and Who We Fight

Graffiti on North Ave, Milwaukee- RiotMKE

Politicians in Madison want to build a prison, maybe two prisons. They want more cages in this state to hold people in. The leadership of both parties have prison-expansion plans in the upcoming budget, and if we do not fight back, these plans will go forward. More of our friends and neighbors will live behind bars. More people will suffer in solitary confinement. More will face racial or gender harassment, terror, negligence and abuse from prison guards as well as from medical and psychological staff.

We cannot allow this to happen. Continue reading “Prison Expansion: What and Who We Fight”