Rough Draft Proposal for USDOJ, Legislators and WI Public
We are in need of a thorough investigation of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WIDOC) by the US Department of Justice (US DOJ ).. We believe we have enough evidence, testimonies, and legal actions to show a department that has completely lost it mission to rehabilitate prisoners and ensure public safety. And furthermore, we agree with a study put out in 2013 by the University of Milwaukee’s Employment and Training Institute1, that our state’s overincarceration actually causes more crime.(1)We hope this report is enough to spark an investigation by the DOJ..
But although WI does have the highest per capita number of Blacks in its prisons for the US, it is not only the Blacks who suffer over-incarceration here. Unlike other states, Wisconsin uses contradictory rules and processes to hold prisoners decades beyond their release eligibility dates, and over half its admissions each year are for people with non felonies, reincarcerated with little or no due process when they are accused of violations of a rule of supervision(2). Money has become the main driver for the prison system and we fear, damage control the main occupation, for those heading the WI Department of Corrections. Documents showing the evolution of this present dysfunction are included. (3) Most fixes do not require legislation.
We hope the US Justice Department will use what it learned in an investigation done in 2014-16 ( approx). This ended when WIDOC published new guidelines. The Justice Department left, and the guidelines were, in the main, dropped. Most significantly, however, the Center for Investigative Journalism ( WI Watch) articles which precipitated the investigation, highlighted the pattern of abuse in WAUPUN Correctional Institution ( WCI) in particularly by one guard ,JOSEPH BEAHM. and his cohorts,. After the Justice Department quit the investigation, Joseph Beahm was made head of the solitary unit in which he worked ( called RHU or “restricted housing unit”) .Until very recently, he remained there and we heard very little from the prisoners housed there- we feared it was too dangerous to speak out. We just learned that Joseph Beahm was recently transferred to Fox Lake Correctional Institution( LCI.). Included in this report are links to the 2014Wisconsin Watch Articles, one including the actual complaints by the prisoners,(, obtained by open records request (3),.
Finally, we hope that with a thorough investigation , the USDOJ will see the end result of this loss of mission. as there is no corner of the system that is not corrupted, and will push for sweeping reform.. There are staff members everywhere who are trying to help where they can, but they are not supported and the trajectory is pointed ever downward: "They are not trying to help us.” is one of the most common statements we hear from prisoners.
I) Reports and statistics,
II) Letters on overcrowding and understaffing/
a) Former guard essay:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-Hh-erXAXMsmiFkLe8Hx5gJt-Lbt8pp1/view?usp=share_link
B) A few letters from prisoners by prison-https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bM9r3_1vzhkAViSCJD-5Z6na-AXt0SEQ/edit?usp=share_link&ouid=110165518202991476262&rtpof=true&sd=true
C) CCI and NLCI description by fine writer who knows both(FIX LINK)
b) Fights, tabbing in GBCI, one death when prisoners were released after weeks of lock down- fight over phone/prison reaction was to lock everyone down again. One prisoned was killed , one severely wounded
In another incident a very quiet and compliant man stabbed his cellie. The entire prison was put back on lockdown,
FFUP believes there is a crisis looming in our prisons with prisoners spending too much time in their cells with no end in sight and all functions cut, Reports of fights and violence when finally let out are commonplace as many people are not stable enough to maintain balance under such abuse.( also see section IIB)
c) Guards working 12 to 16 hour shifts. All professional staff very short
1) NLCI has NO Doctor or Nurse practitioner
2) We are getting reports from both mental health treatment centers WRC and WWRC ( Wisconsin Resource Center (WRC)and Wisconsin Womens Resource Center(WWRC) of loss of mission- In both cases prisoners in extreme need are not getting treatment, IN WWRC the reports are about conduct reports for very petty things and no treatment, Mood is foul among staff. ( see section IIIC)
d) FFUP report from before the Pandemic by volunteer Ben Turk -https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ugB42aPnjNbf5ryFHnWGqIboaRYtNDDo/view?usp=share_link
Footnotes for Pg1
1)a)Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Males:/Workforce Challenges for 2013 by the University of Milwaukee’s Employment and Training Institute: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H1EEZQb6zwAMSVpCc6vCS3P2CIOuwBA1/view?usp=share_link
b)Wisconsin Disparities report by Pamela Oliver, UW Sociologist 2013
2)"The How of no Parole":https://drive.google.com/file/d/17unyUyGZvzzDlIbeRn32oIBcxkP2GgPe/view?usp=share_link
3))Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism articles on assaults at WCI
Complaints obtained by open records requests : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cVsMrWQeu-fqBR-ObVh-2NmI8sLqUrFw/view?usp=share_link
B. With many prisons on general lockdown due to overcrowding and understaffing , here are some reports of emergencies
a)Ian West has repeatedly pleaded for help and is disregarded, screaming and pounding all day- prisoners around him very concerned and has sent me HSU’s responses to his request slips-. Polite thankyous
b)( will get first name) Suzuki stabbed his cellmate[-very quiet guy now in solitary, we think temporary lock up while investigation goes on-
c)After weeks on lockdown, prisoners were allowed out to use the phones- fight ensured, 2 stabbed, one died/ whole prison locked down again,
C)Women’s Prison in Fond du Lac ( TCI) :Particularly disturbing are reports form many women that they are force to walk with coats to their HSU , some 1/4 mile away four times a day get insulin and diabetes treatment, they re allowed to wear thermals but not coat or sweaters indigent diabetic prisoner ( they way about 15 have to take this journey four times a day uncovered, They are turned back untreated if they try to cover themselves with anything
IIA)RHU units (Restrictive Health Units)- this is where the worst has no bottom. Most prisoners here are under 30 years old , mostly Black and nearly all are mentally ill and are here because they acted our in general population. There is no treatment: psychologists come to the cell door and ask if the prisoner is going to “self harm.” If the answer is yes, he goes to “Obs”- observation unit- where all is taken and he/she is strapped down. Prisoners here get NO tools with which to work out their frustration , anger etc which means that self harm is the norm. They get only a rubber pencil, crayon or light pencil to write with and letters have to be short as these are hard to use and very hard to read . Contact with family and the outside is difficult for many, made worse since WI DOC implemented a third part mailing system which nearly destroys communication for families as well as make most of FFUP’s functions impossible.( see section: )
Most prisoner here, we find, have had their outside diagnoses change to something less severe- often”malingering” so they require no treatment and most are truth-in--sentencing prisoners( TIS) which means they are released at their court specified release date- ready or not. Many are released to homelessness, most to little or no support, They are then whipped back into prison for non felonies- often as little as a missed appointment, and they get stuck forever, often incurring new felonies as did #3 below, for acting out ( expelling fluids is common one)
Here is an article about a psychologist who quit his job due to this practice: (fix links no back) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rBKskYCV7FOcb-X8IQH79rHdBgFMfJMe/view?usp=share_link
Some RHU cases
1)Jake Mashl 685667 GBCI ( mother: Nikki Mashl /email@example.com):
Jake has Asperger's, ADD and multiple other syndromes in which he is explosive and disruptive at time. His smother , Nikki, says when he is on his meds he is appropriate and easy to get along with. He lives with his mother and has the maturity of a teen ager. He was in Medium security but was transferred to GBCI. I note that most of the people in GBCI RHUs are Black. It is Jake’s Asperger's that gives him the special location where anything goes and in a system where corruption is normal, all restraints are gone here.
“They” found pills in his cell and a broken antenna and all his meds were taken away Nikki says Jake had nothing to do with the items and that they were planted is suspected- (Jake has no friends and no way to get the times or use for them). Jake has no friends and says he know nothing about where these things came from.
All his meds were taken away , his phone privileges, zoom, and Nikki says has never signed the waiver to get mail. ( Textbehind delivers mail only to those who waive all legal consequences) . So he has no outside contact, He at one point was banging his head against the wall trying to get someone to come.
The big thing is that although his mother is constantly calling the prison and Madison powers pleading that they give him his meds back, allow calls etc, SHE HAS HAD NO CONTACT with her Since before thanksgiving, He contact has been through the social worker and complaint calls she makes/
Jake was Convicted of
943.01(1) Damage to property.
947.01 Disorderly conduct.
948.12 Possession of child pornography.
(1m) Whoever possesses, or accesses in any way with the intent to view, any undeveloped film, photographic negative, photograph, motion picture, videotape, or other recording of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct under all of the following circumstances may be penalized under sub. (3):
Xavier is very young, 20. Mentally challenged, his diagnoses before arrest were disregarded. Public defender was no help. He has 3 years in and family are very worried that he will be harmed irreversibly. We are trying to get his medical records from before prison as they would show him seriously ill and not stable enough to stand trial . Like most of the people in WI RHUS ( restricted health units, )they are there because they acted out in general population. They are mentally ill and cannot take the chaos and abuse that is daily in general. Most also, went thru a process like Xavier did, where they are “evaluated” for competency and that is, according to prisoner reports, relentless interrogating/testing that goes on UNTIL the outcome desired by the DOC is reached, The exhausted prisoner simply says whatever is desired in order to have the ordeal ended,
I believe, Xavier, like so many youths, was a kid in trouble, needing guidance and treatment who instead is stuck in a system that only wounds terribly.
Xavier’s WI DOC data 689448 (BD 2003, 20 yo, B))no release dates given on DOC profile
941.30 Recklessly endangering safety.
943.23(2)operating a vehicle without the owners concent, grant theft auto
943.32(2) (2) Whoever violates sub. (1) by use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon, a device or container described under s. 941.26 (4) (a) or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the
941.29(1m) (1m) A person who possesses a firearm is guilty of a Class G felony if any of the following applies: 941.29(1m)(a) (a) The person has been convicted of a felony in this state.
3) Terrance Grissom- ( Joy Thompson -:firstname.lastname@example.org, mother )
Terrance case is an example of what happens to many prisoners after they go through what Xavier above is enduring. Terrance has been in prison for decades and is an old law prisoner, eligible for parole decades ago ( life sentence them meant 11-13 years if behavior was good) He is mentally ill and is at WRC now being “assessed”. He is refusing medication and the DOC is trying to get him assess "incompetent" so they can drug him heavily. I have received letters from concerned prisoners that he is severely being over drugged. They move him every few months to a different max- usually between WCI and GBCI.
This is the end product of what happens when the mentally ill are funneled into our prisons. The DOC has no capacity to treat or understand and can only isolate and drug. The prisoner becomes more and more combative and the guards more abusive. Their solution is to drug the guy to a zombie state.
The ridiculous part is that his mother , Joyce, wants him in Colorado, where she lives and where she could visit often and the prison system is much better in all ways.
Terrance I convicted of multiple misdemeanors and he keeps getting more charges and time as he acts our when he feels abused.
Terrance Grissom 193184 WRC.(BD 1970, 52yo, B) MR 4/5/36
There are 20 cases here, Below are the earliest in 1988: 943.20(1)(A), 943.15
(1) Acts. Whoever does any of the following may be penalized as provided in sub. (3):
(a) Intentionally takes and carries away, uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of movable property of another without the other's consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of such property.
943.15 Entry onto a construction site or into a locked building, dwelling or room.
(1) Whoever enters the locked or posted construction site or the locked and enclosed building, dwelling or room of another without the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of the premises is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
00001. Latest 2022- while at CCI:946.43(2M)(A) Any prisoner confined to a state prison or other state, county or municipal detention facility who throws or expels semen, vomit, saliva, urine, feces or other bodily substance at or toward an officer, employee or visitor of the prison or facility or another prisoner of the prison or facility under all of the following circumstances is guilty of a Class I felony:
4)Sean Forster Hoare Jane forester 590081GBCI ( Bd 1981, 41 W) : email@example.com, mother . Sean has Myrsa and has not seen an outside doctor since 2019 ( verified by conversation with nurse) , he has gone on hunger strike and will not come off until he gets care, SHU says he will not get care till he eats- This is illegal and unconstitutional but things continue= he has lost over 100 pounds and Contact is sparce- sent him law on refusing care, went to DRWI- Nurse said he is getting electrolytes.
Sean’s transcribed story ( written in small pencil print, unscannable)
IIB)RHU Statements and case sites coming ( deliberate indifference, selfharm etc)
To Tommy Carter Terrance Kirksey Jovan Williams Fredrick Morris
Anonymous report general conditions- “rivers of blood”
“Torture in Wisconsin Prisons” :FFUP’s 2020 report
IIILAWSUITS AND EXHAUSTED COMPLAINTS ON EVERY ISSUE
We intend to provide soon , case site by WI prisoners on all issues. But particularly those of the most extreme abuse- Here remedies will have been exhausted and the truth of the complaints will not be in much question, These are coming: deliberate indifference cases, extreme force, PREA violations etc. But here are a few reports of deaths and near deaths :
Timothy Durley in GBCI RHU speaks of his own untreated asthma attacks and the death of neighboring prisoner due to deliberate indifference. This starts with a report to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services( WDSPS) about the death of Charles WiIliams and the to a letter by Durley on the death where prisoners tried to get guards to respond and failed, The he tells of his own asthma attack where noone would come to help.
Death of Antonio Wheatley
Letter to DOJ with multiple testaments/Sister’s number 434-446-1053(sister)
Death of Antonio Wheatley and two others compiled by group abolishmke.com
TWO: Suicide of Joshua Bella and attempt by Mr Williams
IV Reports coming about other areas of corruption
A)Mail and court access. reports coming: Terrance Kirksey, Matthew Stechauner, Jeff Macmillan
A)Interference with mail
B)Not processing complaints/not allowing exhaustion of remedies/ retaliation for litigating
C) Not allowing law library except if pending case
Here there are many won lawsuits= the care is generally abysmal -however, lawsuits are paid for by the taxpayer and no or few changes are made, we will cite and sum a few cases and site ongoing complaints in final report.
Denial of treatment
Taking away meds and treatments prescribed by outside doctors
Method is through what is called “special needs committee” and the new head of health who , we are told has a policy of taking away all amenities/meds where their removal is not “life threatening” particularly egregious is his taking away old turkey meds for psychological problems. There is no way to know about prisoners deaths except when they are public enough to be undeniable, we only learn through the prisoner grapevine.
B)WIDOC’s only treatment centers in DOC in trouble
1) WRC: ( Wisconsin Resource Center- treatment for men)
a)on unit 17 , which houses max prisoners reports staff are refusing to call psychologists when prisoner are in deep destress and requesting help. He says only those who self harm seriously to get to the hospital get attention and this is only on the max unit
b)Prisoner in WRC says on his unit there are no toilets in the cells and permission must be ask to get out to a toilet- this is refused regularly and screaming ensures.
c)Statement that he has been at WRC of _ months and has got no treatment- many many prisoners there getting no treatment
Note: in best of times, WRC is a very temporary treatment facility and prisoners are returned to the same old bad upon release, there is usually no follow up just as with visits to the outside hospitals- there is often no follow through, We have tried with no success to get prisoners soon to be released to treatment here, the DOC insists they have to be referred to WRC by psychologist or social workers and this never happens to the most needy in RHUs, who are mostly considered “Malingering'.” I have noticed in reading psychological reports sent to me by prisoners, that there is little understanding between black young prisoners and psychological ( white ) staff.
Reports from women now at WWRC (women's treatment center) say mood has changed and no longer is treatment on the roster- petty Conduct reports and hostile mood. Meds are messed up routinely. here is one -more coming;
C)More general corruption _ coming These are probably the most common complaints we get, probably because there is no where. All these behavior hinge on the fact that there are no wok ring mechanisms within the prison to hold staff accountable. .
1)Property not protected when prisoners moved- stolen
2)PREA a joke, Almost impossible to get protection with PREA violation
3) TEXTBEHIND third party mailing- uncalled for, ineffective/we believe the DOC motive is to stop prisoner litigation which it does effectively. drugs cone in the prisons unabated Guards and some visitors bring them in,
WHAT WE FEEL IS NEEDED
1) charts on “why We should Care”: these ARE OLD BUT THE TREND REMAINS THE SAME- GIVE A GOOD PICTURE OF WHERE WE ARE AT AS A STATE.
a) treatment advocacy center: #WI mentally ill in psychiatric hospital beds Vs WI mentally ill in our prisons
b)WI Budget Project, spending on schools V prisons
c)prison population Minn v WI
d) Numbers for yearly WIDOC admissions- shows reincarceration for non felonies at a little over half.
2) More graphics- the how of no parole: One big reason why we are unique as a state and why the overcrowding can be largely solved without legislative actions is because this mess was created without legislative action, -
the “How of no parole: https://drive.google.com/file/d/17unyUyGZvzzDlIbeRn32oIBcxkP2GgPe/view
Coming will be larger report on who we are holding unjustly and stupidly,
Plea for help
It is important to remember that the prison system has no control over who they get at prisoners,> WE HAVE ALMOST NO TREATMENT FACILITIES OUT HERE FOR Those without lots of money(1). So Judges turn a blind eye while they allow the railroad of the mentally ill to solitary HELL in our prisons to run unabated.
1) cone which worked well until recently- It needs to be big enough to treat prisoners for a long time- at present the men's treatment facility WRC ( Wisconsin Resource Center) only takes people for a short time -then they go back to the prison and generally as with hospital visits, nothing is followed through on. The race issue is also big as far as who get treatment and access to the excellent nonprofit programs- RHU s are overwhelmingly Black and in reading PSYH reports- there is no sign of understanding among staff .There was an effective treatment center built at the women’s prison in Fond du Lac, and complete change of rules was made, All this was mandated y the Flynn Doyle lawsuit, We need that as model and from reports form from psychologists, the facility was effective and well run.
2) STAFFING SHORTAGES and OVERCROWDING go together .THe Wi DOC lost its mission when it chose to take federal money and expand population X3. Warehousing became rule and scapegoating prisoners, exaggerating dangerousness became the means. 2)
As it is now, only those people who are desperate for the paycheck( which is huge due to Taxpayer paid overtime), on mission to help turn prison around ( and there are some) or real sadistic thugs can stand to work there
a)stop the fearmongering and be honest with the public about what you need to fulfill your mission to rehabilitate the prisoners and keep the public safe. Work WITH advocacy groups like FFUP to educate the public on the benefits of a well run prison system in which ALL are held responsible r their actions, not just prisoners.
b) Set up a process by which DOC Madison and prison staff can meet regularly with familes and groups like EXPO and FFUP to discuss ways to address systemic problems. Help us build a system in which people who want to help people want to work. We truly believe that the understaffing problem will go away if we together create an environment where the work is meaningful and fulfilling,
c))REDUCE PRISON POPULATION BY UNSTICKING RELEASE MECHANISMS! RE3EASE THOSE PRISONERS WHO HAVE rehabilitated themselves-thousands ARE Eligible and no laws need to be changed, others can use mechanisms in place but have been blocked. Unstick parole for old law prisoners!
d) stop reincarceration without felonies and enforce new guidelines for parole officers that truly support the newly released prisoner. Allocate enough funds so the POs CAN HELP and push for a system that rewards PO that are successful in helping their charges successfully reintegrate into their communities.
e) Do serious evaluation of all our laws and practices that cause overincarceration
3) Investigation needs to undertaking on the PROCESS by which thousands of mentally ill are railroaded into prison ad how and why this fact is so well covered up, Then, the process by which these same individuals get stuck forever in solitary.
Some links to reports used:( linked elsewhere also)
1. WI incarcerates more Blacks per capita than any other state
A)Wisconsin Disparities report by Pamela Oliver, UW Sociologist 2013
WI Justice disparities Pamela Oliver ;
B)Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Males:Workforce Challenges for 2013
By University of Milwaukee’s Employment and Training Institute
2)WIJournal of Investigative Journalism’s ( WI WATCH) WCI assault articles
A) General articles over three days
B) B)WW WCI assault ICE complaints obtained thru open records,
Staffing crowding and death in WI DOC.pdf "by volunteer Ben Turk