Monday, May 29, 2023

Wisconsin Families for a Second Chance -YOU ARE INVITED !

"prison assembly line" from old magazine

                 Wisconsin  Families for a Second Chance

                      we meet twice a week 

for more information, email :

Wisconsin Families for a Second Chance is a new group made up of families and friends of prisoners, activists and  advocates. We are coming together after many years of  battling alone for healing. We are  dedicated to bringing fairness and  balance to our Justice System. Much of  each weekly meeting is spent brain- storming strategies for individual prisoners, and we learn much from each other,  But we also believe that the WI Department of Corrections (WIDOC) needs to change fundamentally and so, have filed a report with the US Department of Justice ( USDOJ), asking for an investigation of the WIDOC. We are also working on a lawsuit to mandate real mental health treatment in our prisons and the building of a mental health treatment facility and are working with legislators and the media.

 And we need your help, We need you to stop listening to the constant fear mongering incessantly applied to prisoners. We need you to spend a bit of time learning just who you are incarcerating and what your billions of dollars are being spent on. We are developing a website to show you in detail who the State of Wisconsin holds in your name, including their stories and writings, but for now we ask you to think about these three groups of he wrongfully held people:

1) Officially 40 % of the population are mentally ill.( we have been told by a public defender that is it more like 70 % ). They are here  because prisons are our defacto mental health institutions- we have confused and alienated people out here- problems escalate until they land in there. Many end up acting out in general population while in prison and then are put into segregation, called “restrictive housing units” or RHUs-. Which is 24/7 solitary confinement. The prison will deny they have “solitary confinement”   but this is playing with words. They are given a rubber pencil or a crayon to write with and virtually no other tools with which to express themselves in a healthy way ; self harming is common. They are punished for this behavior and often receive more prison time for other behavior they have no control over., Our families group includes distraught parents of prisoner who desperately need treatment, but are caught in this endless cycle. Those who escape increased sentencing, are released upon their court mandated release date,- untreated, untrained and severely traumatized.

 2) The reason you don’t know about the above group is because of a second factor- Half of the prison admissions each year are for rule violations- NON felonies. It is a neat little trick, that once a prisoner is released, often with virtually NO Support, he or she is carefully monitored by his or her parole agent and for even minor rule infractions, they are easily revoked. The balance of the unserved sentencing is used to return these “offenders” to prison without charges appearing on CCAP, nor processing through the courts. Administrative Law Judges within the DOC render the decisions which return these men and women to the prisons.

The practice of incarcerating for rule violations is one of the reasons for prison overcrowding and must be stopped. Instead, prisoners need treatment and training while in prison and help with  maintaining and building a strong support system  when they get out. .

.3) The third group is the most astounding- Why  are we building geriatric and hospice units for  the elderly, sick and infirm rather than letting them go home to their loved ones? And did you know that there are at least 2000  prisoners who can be released at ANY time, those incarcerated before 2000/ What is called OLD LAW prisoners?- Most have been eligible for decades. And why not let them go home? We recently tried to gain release for an old law prisoner who  was dying of cancer- compassionate release, letters etc failed, and a lawsuit was too late. All he wanted to do was to be with his family when he died. Dominique Marak. He died in prison. He loved to do collages of portraits of prisoners using pictures of garbage- I include one here- in his honor.

And with that  glimpse, I will end with this.  Prisoners often say that once they enter prison, they are no longer considered human.  I ask you to learn something about the prisoners we are warehousing. People change, they are not their crime. Also, please consider joining us in our weekly meetings.

For more information or to join our weekly group:

Email: Peg Swan:  (  or write 29631 Wild Rose Drive, Blue River, WI 53518);

Tony Zilstra:

Kandis Volaske

Rob Slamkabob

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