Wisconsin Prison Watch
U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIII: Neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime…
First off, my apologies for the confusion. July’s newsletter was wrongly dated (May) and the return address was that of the defunct PAC. Any mail sent to the PAC address has been forwarded to WPW. Thanks to all of you who sent a check or stamps for a subscription. This will be the last newsletter sent to those who have not subscribed and remember, we do not demand payment. If you’re indigent or only have a few stamps and want the newsletter, just let us know. If you’re flush and want to send us something extra, well, it’s much appreciated. We’re going to keep going as long as we can.
This issue is different than the last; not many “breaking news” stories of abuse and neglect and no reports of courtroom victories. This newsletter is filled with stories by prisoners and prisoners now living outside the walls. The stories are not “news” but they should be. What these guys are talking about happens every day to prisoners in Wisconsin and has become “normal”.
What’s important about their stories, is that they are telling them. They are unafraid of reprisal or retribution. They know that sitting back and “taking it” is not a way out, it’s not a solution. They refuse to let the system degrade and dehumanize them.
The point is, filing complaints and appealing the rejection and taking things to court or to the press or to the outside is the only way to retain any sense of dignity. Fighting for dignity and humanity is all they have left – everything else has been stripped away by the system. They refuse to let the system strip away the only thing remaining. Nuf said.
We know the guards’ union and others are ginning up another try at John Doe “reform”. They say this is needed because prisoners abuse the system. Well, let’s talk about abusing the system. Ken Harris (Matlock) has been trying to get two perps in front of a judge for three years now. Yes, a judge found probable cause THREE YEARS ago!! How long did it take for you to get convicted? That’s abuse of the system!
In case 2007 CF 380, Dodge County, a guard was charged with felony abuse of a prisoner. I went to CCAP to review the case and found it had disappeared!! I called the Dodge Clerk of Courts and was told that the case had been expunged!! Expunged!? Cases cannot be expunged!! My name is on CCAP even though charges against me were dropped and I won a suit against the city of Platteville for false arrest. I asked that my case be expunged and was told “that is not possible”. I guess it’s only possible if you belong to the club. Even a pissant guard gets special treatment because he belongs to the club. That’s abuse of the system!!
In the above case, the accused guard quickly filed a complaint against the prisoner saying that the prisoner bit him. DA Bauer was quick to charge the prisoner, threatening him with a twelve year sentence, but at preliminary hearing, the DA had to drop the charges because it was obvious that the guard was lying.
When the guard union started pushing for John Doe “reform” last year, DA Bauer was right there in front of the cameras with warden Thurmer and Secretary Raemisch, squealing about how prisoners abuse the system. DA Bauer is now Judge Bauer taking the newly created 4th branch in Dodge County.
The Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday August 24 has a story of a Sauk Co. cop who willfully and knowing ran over his girlfriend. Columbia Co. DA was brought in as special prosecutor and guess what, without contacting the victim, “a deal was made” and charges were dropped.
We all know that “justice” is a concept that only applies to the connected, the rich, and those who work for the system. The poor, the disenfranchised, the addicted, and mentally ill get a different kind of “justice” – swift and sure. Poverty, and desperation along with addiction and mental illness are criminalized while exploitation, cruelty and arrogance are handsomely rewarded. Different standards apply. If you wear a uniform, a robe, or a business suit, the laws work to protect you and your property. If not, watch out!
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners Project has sent thousands of books to Wisconsin prisoners, free of charge. The all volunteer staff has devoted thousands of hours and spent thousands of dollars trying to help prisoners help themselves. This sort of self help and autonomy are frightening to the DOC who want to control every aspect of your lives. They have used the pretense of “security” (the universal trump card) to ban WBTP from sending free books to prisoners. No other state has banned WBTP from sending books directly to prisoners. Many other prison book projects in other states send books into Wisconsin prisons. The courts will probably have to sort this out – just like they did with our newsletter.
WPW has filed an open records request with the Parole Chair, Al Graham, for all the minutes of every meeting of the Commission since his appointment. We’ve asked for any correspondence with the Governor’s office regarding parole policy and criteria for parole. We want to know how his office is wasting a million dollars a year pretending to give meaningful parole consideration.
We know the Parole Board, the PRC and BOCM are part of the merry-go-round the DOC uses to keep prisoners longer than needed. We’ve been informed by a few guys stuck in the “Bermuda Triangle” of CCI barracks where classification and movement come to a halt. This so-called “transition facility” is an interim placement for those moving from maximum and medium to minimum settings, but it has become a holding pen where guys languish for many months “waiting for bed space”. In the mean time, the Parole Commissioners will not even consider parole for them because they are not at a minimum setting. Just another part of the Merry-go-round.
Here’s another Merry-go-round scheme. Say that PRC recommends a minimum placement but BOCM head Heise disapproves. Guess who evaluates the appeal? One of Mr. Heise’ subordinates! Yeah right, that’s a meaningful review where a subordinate evaluates his boss’ decision.
Power to all the people!
WPW & PAW
WISCONSIN PRISON WATCH P.O. Box 292, Boscobel, WI 53805 email@example.com
Wisconsin Prison Watch Legal Primer
Subject: John Doe Proceedings, Wisconsin Stats. s. 968.26.
My name is Dujuan M. Walker. I am a former prisoner and current full-time college paralegal student, member of Wisconsin Prison Watch Legal Team, and member of Prison Action Wisconsin (PAW). Our goal of the WPW Legal Team is to educate prisoners and to help them expand their resources so that they are not powerless against official corruption inside and outside of the Department of Corrections.
When prisoners’ rights are violated, the United States Constitution provides that these prisoners shall have access to the Court System for a meaningful redress of their grievances. In most cases, when a prison official has violated the civil rights of a prisoner, that official has also violated state and/or federal criminal statutes in the perpetration of the civil rights violation. For instance, when a prisoner is beaten by prison staff or denied medical care or left naked in a barren cell for several days, etc., a prisoner may have a cognizable claim in Federal Court for violations of the U.S. Constitution (See: 42 U.S.C. s.1983), or in State civil court for intentional tort claims, medical malpractice, etc.. Of course in civil court a prisoner’s remedies are limited to monetary damages and injunctive relief against the perpetrators. However, the judicial system offers another remedy. The same prison official(s) who committed the above stated civil rights violations are guilty of violating Wisconsin Statute s. 940.29, “Abuse of a Person In a Correctional Institution.” This crime is a Class I felony and punishable by three years in prison and fines. The statute which directs and authorizes a judge to investigate your claims of criminal conduct by prison staff and to file criminal charges after the judge has found probable cause against the perpetrators is 968.26, stats., and this statute is called the “John Doe” statute.
When a complainant files a petition under 968.26 stating that he/she has “reason to believe that a crime has been committed” within the jurisdiction of the judge, the judge must examine the complainant and any witnesses in order to determine whether or not probable cause exists to charge the potential defendants with a crime. State ex.rel.Reimann v. Circuit Court214 Wis. 2d. 605, 611 (S.Ct.1997). The judge must act as a “neutral and detached magistrate” in his probable cause determination. State v. Washington, 266 N.W. 2d. 597, 605 (S.Ct.1978). The complainant need not offer proof that a crime has been committed, that it is more likely than not that it was committed, or need not offer evidence in his/her complaint, but only need to cross the “reason to believe” threshold. Reimann, Supra. Upon the request of the complainant, and at the judge’s discretion, a John Doe Proceeding may be conducted in secret in order to protect the complainant, prevent the perps from collecting perjured testimony, prevent them from escaping, tampering with evidence, or intimidating witnesses. State v. O`Connor, 252 N.W. 2d. 671, 678 (citing State ex.rel Jackson v. Coffey,18 Wis. 2d. 529, 546, 118 N.W. 2d. 939). Again, do not worry about being discriminated against because you are a prisoner, because the judge must act as a neutral and detached judge and “should not weigh the credibility of the complainant or choose between conflicting facts and inferences.” Reimann, supra, 214 Wis. 2d. at 625. (citation omitted). Also, do not worry about your complaint being inadequate, as you are a pro se (on your own) and untrained litigant and the courts must liberally construe your filed papers regardless of misspellings, improper form, etc. In addition, the courts have held that “Where a mere technical error on the face of the petition, or an inadequacy therein, can be cured by a simple request for additional information, justice may be best served under Wis. Stat. s. 968.26 by the judge simply making such request or examining the complainant.” State ex.rel. Williams v. Fiedler, 2005 WI. App. 91, 282 Wis. 2d. 486, 498-499(Ct. App. 2005).
Be sure to include the names of any and all witnesses in your complaint/petition and do not hesitate to include prison officials because although they will likely lie to cover up the crimes of their co-workers and their own crimes, you get them on record testifying under oath and committing perjury. The John Doe statute command a judge to summon any and all witnesses which you request so that they may be questioned under oath as to the matters alleged in your complaint. See: Williams v. Fiedler, supra. But use discretion and only request witnesses that you really feel have relevant information about the crimes committed against you.
The power of this statute is invaluable to prisoners. Past experience shows that district attorneys in the small, rural counties where most prisons are located are not exactly excited about prosecuting prison staff when they have violated and victimized prisoners. There are personal and political implications involved in situations such as this, and although these concerns are not supposed to take precedent over the Federal and State Constitutions, they almost always do.
However, the John Doe Statute and the caselaw which interprets it guarantees that a complainant is entitled to a “neutral and detached” judge. Of course there is no guarantee that a state judge, who is elected and not appointed, will obey the law if it would make him/her unpopular.( That is, if ruling in a prisoner’s favor will make the judge appear to be “soft on crime” the judge may ignore the law, in violation of his/her oath, in order to stay in good standings with prison staff and their political allies, etc.). In that case, a judge’s abuse of discretion would be reviewable by a higher court. But as long as you present “reason to believe” the judge must act. And during the investigative process hopefully the judge finds probable cause and appoints someone whose not afraid to prosecute state officials for violating the law.
Most prisoners simply file lawsuits when their rights are violate by neglectful, malicious, and vindictive prison staff. But filing criminal charges against them is another level of justice. The perpetrators cannot hide behind the state’s attorney general’s office and taxpayer money to represent them and cover the costs of the damages awards which they must disburse to prisoners after they’ve broken the law. In criminal court they must pay their own lawyers and do their own jail time if convicted, and pay their own fines.
In many cases when prisoners prevail in civil court and prove that prison officials violated their rights, the DOC continues to let those officials work for the department as if nothing ever happened, sometimes even promoting them. But when they are convicted of a crime for abusing, neglecting, or ill-treating a prisoner (940.29 stats.) or misconduct in public office (946.12), etc, then they can no longer work in the DOC. Therefore justice is much more personal and other crooked “correctional” staff are deterred from violating prisoners’ rights.
This is not to say that suing prison officials is ineffective, on the contrary, you are entitled to a remedy in civil court as well. So bring both actions against the perpetrators who have violated your rights.
Should your criminal action not succeed then your burden of proof in the civil court is much lighter. Should the criminal action succeed, then your civil suit for money will be a “slam dunk”, as the perps will be collaterally estopped from denying certain facts which were already proven in criminal court! Stand up and defend your dignity against people that will not respect the fact that you are human beings!
If you have any questions or comments please contact me at the WPW address as soon as possible. I will respond as time permits, as I am gainfully employed, a full-time college student, and involved in several projects that are developing to benefit our communities. We wish you well in this struggle for justice and equality.
“I should have been a cow!”
by Kenneth Harris #062836 AKA: Matlock
Recently the news reported about how cows at the slaughterhouse slated to become hamburger had been abused, and the abusers were dealt swift justice in order to protect the future hamburgers rights. On April 17, 2005, I was abused by guards at the Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI), which sent me to the hospital. Since cows received swift justice, I expected the same, but I was wrong. For details see Harris v. Grams, 2008 u.s. Dist. Lexis 3103, District Court Case No. 3:07-cv-678-bbc.
Prior to me filing the federal lawsuit, pro se, on April 24, 2005, I filed a John Doe complaint with the Columbia County Circuit Court pursuant to wis. Stat. ~968.26 alleging that I was the victim of crimes committed by CCI staff.
On September 14, 2005 the hearing was held in front of the Hon. Daniel S. George, Branch I, of the circuit court. I supplied the court with affidavits of nine witnesses, and I subpoenaed a nurse to whom the perps had bragged about what they did to me. On January 26, 2005 the court found “probable cause” that the guards abused me. Once this happened the cover up machine of the DOC and the state went to work, by first going after the nurse who testified to the truth. To see what the DOC did to this nurse, read page 3 of the May 2008 edition of the “Wisconsin Prison Watch” newsletter.
Once probable cause of a crime was found, the Judge referred the case to the Columbia County D.A, who never contacted me, nor any of my witnesses, and left the case stagnant for months. I contacted the court, and on March 14, 2006, the court again referred the case to the D. A., who again never contacted me, “THE VICTIM!” I then filed a motion with the court to get the D.A. to do his job and prosecute the perps. On January 31, 2007 (over one year after I filed the complaint, and nine months after the court referred the case to the D.A. a second time) the D.A. now informs the court that the “D.A.’s office had not had the opportunity to review the transcripts of the September 14, 2005 court proceedings.” On February 14, 2007 the court gave the D.A. 30-days to review the transcripts and the record of the John Doe proceeding, and report to the court.
Six months went by and neither I nor the court had heard from the D.A, which caused me to file more motions with the court trying to get (now unswift) justice. I asked for a court date to argue the issue of a biased D.A’s office, and the motion was granted. The end result was that I also filed a motion for a “Special Prosecutor” to be brought in pursuant to wis. Stat. §978.045(lg) and prosecute the perps. On August 13, 2007, the motion was granted, and on September 17, 2007, the court appointed Patricia Barrett, Sauk County D.A. as the Special Prosecutor for the criminal John Doe case. It is now July 13, 2008, or over nine months since Ms. Barrett became the Special Prosecutor, but like the Columbia County D.A.’s office, Ms. Barrett never responds to my letters, and she contacted me once, and that was in response to WPW s Frank Van den Bosch calling her and asking why this case is not being prosecuted. The Wisconsin Constitution provides residents of the State of Wisconsin court access and rights, as it states:
“Remedy for wrongs. Section 9. Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries, or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character, he ought to obtain justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay.”
See Article 1, § 9 of the State Consti-tution. In my case, it appears that the words “completely and without denial,” and “promptly and without delay” were removed from the State Constitution, as the case is now three years and three months old, yet the case remains stagnant, this in spite of the fact that there were nine witnesses, and a nurse whose credentials were impeccable. Looking further into the State Constitution it states in relevant part:
“Victims of crime. Section 9m. … This state shall treat crime victims, as defined by law, with fairness, dignity and respect for their privacy. This state shall ensure that crime victims have all of the following privileges and protections as provided by law; timely disposition of the case; . . . . ”
See Article I, §9 of the State Constitution. In my case the “fairness,” and the “timely disposition of the case” were thrown out the window by both D.A.’s offices, and it appears that I can’t get help from the court. What’s interesting about this is the fact that the state has prosecuted citizens with far less or no reliable evidence or witnesses, and gave them big time in prison, yet this case has both reliable witnesses and evidence, and here it is over three years later and no prosecution.
WPW’s Mr. Frank Van den Bosch has repeatedly called Ms. Barrett and left messages with her asking that she return his calls, but as of late she refuses to. No matter, a trial date of March 9, 2009 has been set by the federal courts, so I will see the perps in court.
A blowhard Senator, one Jeff Fitzgerald was on the radio bragging how “no prisoner John Doe has ever been successful, thus John Doe reform is needed so prisoner’s cannot use the statute.”
Of course, this case alone shows exactly why no prisoner John Doe has been successful, and it’s because the state’s and the DOC’s massive cover up machines see to it that none are. If this case had no merit it would not still be languishing as if stuck in an ocean of goo, the goo being a quagmire of bureaucracy, as no D.A. wants to be the one to break the state’s record of ZERO successful prisoner John Does. It appears that the “Special Prosecutors” give prison guards “Special Protection.”
Finally, this case needs the help of other prisoners, both incarcerated and free. I ask that you bombard Ms. Barrett with letters asking why this case is not being prosecuted. Ms. Barrett’s address is: Sauk County Courthouse, 515 Oak Street, Baraboo, WI 53913, and write to Prisoner Action Wisconsin (PAW), and the WPW, as well as Senator Lena Taylor and others. Comrades, it is time that we prisoners band together and use the courts and legislature to fight the corruption that runs rampant and unchecked in the DOC, and we must fight for each other, as this case shows why John Doe Reform must never happen. Remember, “A coward dies many deaths, but the brave die but once!” Until next time, all I can say is, “I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A COW, MOOOOOOO!
Comrade Kenneth Harris AKA Matlock
In 1964 Malcolm X gave a famous speech called “The Ballot or the Bullet”. In that speech he accused the United States of violating the human rights of twenty-two million Afrikan Amerikans and vowed to take this complaint to the United Nations.
Over the past few years, the United Nations has conducted an investigation into contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Reports to the U.N. have urged the U.S. to halt racial profiling of Muslims and Arabs, to place a moratorium on the death penalty and to end the sentencing of youth to life in prison until the racial bias in the justice system is uprooted.
Stan Willis, a civil rights attorney and Chair of Black People Against Torture said, “part of the reason why the U.S. thumbs its nose at the U.N. is because Americans are ignorant about the World body and how to use it for change.”
My brothers and sisters, not a day goes by that the DOC staff does not commit an act of what I call “Prison Staff Terrorism.” The last issue of WPW had an article that exposed the retaliation of DOC bureaucrats against a psychiatrist who refused to change a prisoner’s diagnosis. Dr Narinder Saini says that refusal to change the diagnosis cost him his job. The DOC wanted to send this mentally ill prisoner to the mental torture chambers of WSPF. I’ve sent a copy of that article to the Special Rapporteur.
Wisconsin has a long history of racist prison staff using their power and prison regulations to harass, intimidate, & terrorize New Afrikan and Latino prisoners. It’s important that we contribute our experiences to this U.N. Commission. Attorney Willis also said, “pushing Black concerns in the international arena does not replace hard work on the ground in Amerika. The work against racism has to continue on the domestic front, but Blacks should learn and use the United Nations structures as another tool against oppression.”
I encourage all New Afrikan, Latino, Native Amerikans, Muslims and all prisoners of color to write and give their personal accounts of racial discrimination and DOC Staff Terrorism, especially those of you on administrative confinement.
May Allah guard, guide and bless us all.
Comrade Muhammad Crutchfield #224332 CCI
from the U.N. website
Upon receiving reliable and credible information the Special Rapporteur transmits, either under the form of an allegation letter or urgent appeal, information or case summaries concerning alleged violations regarding contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance to the State concerned, in order to induce the national authority to undertake the necessary investigations of all the incidents or individual cases reported. The Rapporteur will also ask to be kept informed of the outcome of the investigations carried out.
Consideration of communications concerning human rights violations will enable contemporary forms of racial discrimination to be detected and identified accurately. The analysis of these cases of alleged violations and government replies will help towards a better grasp of manifestations of racial discrimination and thus help to identify and determine indicators of its contemporary forms.
Please note, that as a general rule, both urgent appeals and letters of allegation remain confidential until published in the annual report of the Special Rapporteur to the Commission on Human Rights. A summary of such communications and the replies received from the concerned State are formally included in the Special Rapporteur’s annual report to the Commission.
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
From the Shawshank Redemption
The chairman of the parole board says, “The files say you have been locked up here for the past 40 years. Do you feel rehabilitated?”
Red looks at him and says, “Rehabilitated… well, let’s see… rehabilitated, I don’t have any idea what that means.”
The board member says, “That means, are you ready to re-enter society?”
Red says, “I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it is just a made-up word, a politician’s word so young fellows like yourself can have a suit and tie to have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?”
The parole board member responds, “Well, are you?”
Red says, “There is not a day that goes by I don’t feel regret. I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him, and try and make him see the way things are, but I can’t. That kid is long gone. This old man is all that is left. I’ve got to live with that.
“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”: André Gide
AT THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
3099 E. WASHINGTON
SEPTEMBER 22, 2008
PRISON ACTION WISCONSIN INC.
P.O. BOX 05669
MILWAUKEE, WI 53205
* Demonstration and rally at DOC headquarters for the purpose of supporting our loved ones behind bars and for holding the Parole Commission to account for the waste of one million dollars per year of our money.
* The Parole Board is keeping our loved ones locked up beyond any reasonable time. They are violating the intention of the sentencing court for political and ideological reasons.
* We will be heard. Our concerns will be answered. Our loved ones will come home.
Busses leave from Lena’s Grocery in Midtown Mall at 9:30 A.M., Monday, September 22, 2008. They will return to Milwaukee in the early afternoon. Fare is on a sliding scale according to what you can afford. To save a seat, call Unity 414-491-6514 or Anthony at 414-464-9094.
Attend our next meeting, September 13, 2008, 10 A.M. until noon, at Johnson Park, 17th and Fon du Lac Ave., Milwaukee, WI. PAW is open to anyone concerned about the state of the criminal justice system, the prison system and the impact these systems have on our community. Come one, come all. Let’s make some noise!
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners/Rainbow Books
426 W. Gilman St., Madison, WI 53703
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2008
ARE WISCONSIN PRISONERS LOSING THE RIGHT TO READ?
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS BANS WISCONSIN BOOKS TO PRISONERS FROM SENDING BOOKS TO ALL PRISONERS IN WISCONSIN
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners (WBTP), an all-volunteer group established in 2006 by Rainbow Bookstore staff, volunteers, and other concerned citizens received a letter on May 13, 2008 from John Bett, Administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Division of Adult Institutions (WI-DOC-DAI) stating “effective immediately, the WI-DOC Division of Adult Institutions will no longer allow books or publications from Rainbow Bookstores in any DOC facility.”
Mr. Bett’s letter stated that DAI policy required books and other publications to be new, shipped to the facility directly from the vendor, and claimed that Rainbow Bookstore was not a vendor.
Rainbow Bookstore, however has been incorporated in WI since 1989, and has operated a retail bookstore at 426 W. Gilman St. in Madison ever since. WBTP sent this information to Mr. Bett on June 6th, who then responded on July 2nd informing Rainbow Bookstore that the DOC-DAI requires all approved inmate property items to be “received new and from an approved vendor.”
The DOC Administrative Code, however, distinguishes between inmate property and publications in specific listings of the code. Although the code for inmate property indicates that property must come from “approved retail outlets,” this language does not appear in the code for receipt of publications, nor does the code specify that books and publication must be new. The code in fact says: “The department shall facilitate inmate reading of publications, including books, magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets” -a policy that should be applauded given that a wide variety of studies indicate that in-prison education reduces rates of recidivism. The policy also states that inmates may receive publications directly from commercial sources.
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners has asked Mr. Bett to supply information about how to apply for approved vendor status. The DOC has not responded.
Since their inception, Wisconsin Books to Prisoners has sent over 4000 packages of books nationwide. Wisconsin is the only state in the U.S. that is banning books to prisoners.
10 year Anniversary Conference
Members of PAW, WBTP, and WPW will attend this conference. We’ll report in the next (November) newsletter.
Update on Warren Lilly
The DOC, in an effort to stop Warren’s 1200 day hunger strike, began a new force feeding regime where they kept Warren strapped down with a tube in his nose for two hours, three times a day, six days a week. The pretense for this cruelty was to “insure Mr. Lilly would not regurgitate his food”. Warren has never vomited his food. This was pure and intentional torture. He went to court and won an injunction to stop the torture. The feedings are again one half hour in length.
While strapped down with a tube in his nose, another group of goons entered his cell and stole all his legal work and his address book. He remembered my address and has sent word out that he needs support. He asks that others join him, fasting every Sunday in solidarity with his struggle. Write the Governor and let Warren know you’re taking part in this protest.
September 1, 2008
Governor Jim Doyle
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707-7863
ph. 608-266-1212 fax 608-267-8983
Dear Governor Doyle,
On Sunday, (Month, Day, Year), I fasted with Warren Lilly, Jr., a hunger striking Wisconsin prisoner, in support of the following objectives:
1.) The immediate reduction of the national (city, county, state, federaL) prison population by 70 – 80% through the release of all non-violent offenders.
2.) The nationalization of state’s laws which govern imprisonment. We are a nation of people not a nation of states. The laws we face, which affect our freedom, must be uniform.
3.) A national limit on the number of Americans that can be held, by any authority, to 1 in 1250 per census population.
4.) The abolition of parole and probation. They serve no function other than to extend imprisonment, and to entrap those least likely to obey severe limitations on their freedoms.
5.) The re-enfranchisement of all disenfranchised Americans, and the abolition of the practice of disenfranchisement. There must be an end to retribution. To perpetually punish an individual for a past wrong is a wrong in itself.
Warren’s pledge of support to these objectives is his more than three years of hunger striking. I pledge to support his strike and objectives. I call upon you, as Governor to embrace these objectives and put an end to how your father described the institution of prisons, “… as intolerable within the United States as the institution of slavery, equally brutalizing to all involved, equally toxic to the social system, equally subversive to the brotherhood of man, even more costly by some standards, and probably less rational.”
“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people”: Spencer Johnson
COINTELPRO , RGCI and Cowardly Complicit “Inmates”
by Carlos Abadia
COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert and often illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. The FBI motivation at the time was “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.”
The FBI used many COINTELPRO tactics to break up many political groups such as The Black Panthers Party, The American Indian Movement, the Communist Party and Students for a Democratic Society. People like Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez were also targeted along with many others.
They infiltrated, used informants, wrote false letters, and used other dirty tricks to pit one member of a group against another. This in fighting disrupted the real mission of many groups. Need I say more when I say don’t forget AIM and the Panthers and SDS?
Here at Red-Planet Corruptional Institution we have our own brand of COINTELPRO. The J. Edgar Hoover wannabes accused me of posting anonymous messages regarding John Doe reform and favoritism by staff for their pet “inmates”. I was hauled off to the catacombs of segregation, questioned and taunted. I was told that if I admitted to authorship of these notes, “a deal could be made”. I refused. The offer was brought again after further threats of Boscobel, Administrative Confinement and so called “proof”; I refused! The false and stacked up charges and lies against me were part of a conduct report fabricated by RGCI staff. All sorts of “evidence” was claimed to prove my guilt, but nothing was ever presented because they knew I had real evidence to counter the bogus CR. Some “inmates” who claimed knowledge (lied) of my authorship of these offending notes got special treatment; one was sent to Fox Lake CI, and the list goes on.
When special treatment is handed down by prison staff to “inmates” for lying on another prisoner, the entire system breaks down. Of course, gossiping “inmates” will lie for a better job (or any job) or a transfer or some special treatment. When staff encourage lying and engage in playing one prisoner against another, COINTELPRO is at work. But it only works when prisoners become “inmates”, when they forget who their comrades are, when they put their own personal interests above the interests of all prisoners.
I stood up and called these people out. I wrote to my representative, I wrote to WPW, I wrote to the press, I alerted my entire network of outside support and what I got in return was retaliation by staff and a stab in the back by “inmates”.
My legal mail was “inadvertently” opened. My job was taken away. My property was stolen (by my “inmate” cellie) while I was in seg. and the prison refuses to investigate. Prisoners who lined up to lie on me were shocked to learn there was no 360 or Boscobel. My family, network and support system were lied to by the Evil Empire of family run and operated, crony & nepotist system. I had to defend myself from these false charges. And I had to endure all this stress.
To those who understand, this article is written as a way to expose the “normality” of this incident. The staff mentality of hyper-security and petty tyranny is normal. The retribution and blatant reprisal for filing complaints is a daily life occurrence for most prisoners and most prisoners accept this or are cowed by it. Accepting this shit is NOT acceptable. I pray for the day that inmates become prisoners and set aside their opium of choice – TV, radios, game boards and sports – and wake up to the reality.
The goons in uniform cannot stand a challenge and they are continuously looking for petty rule infractions to justify their existence. Their petty minds create fantasies of plot and mayhem so they can justify their abuse, lock-downs, pay raises and overtime.
In closing, inmates and prisoners both know that I have always stood up for them and helped them, legally, to stick it to the Department of Corruption! I’m done. From now on I’ll only accept applications from prisoners – “inmates” need not apply.
“A guards’ job is talking, not yelling. A guard who is yelling at prisoners has lost control”
WISCONSIN’S ROBBER BARON
By Guiseppe DiPiazza
On June 1, 2004 the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) instituted a change in policy, which stipulated that the families and friends of prisoners could only send money in in the form of cashiers checks, and money orders, for prisoners’ benefit. Cash, and personal checks were no longer permitted.
Prisoners as a whole, come from the lower social economic spectrum of society. Therefore this change in policy has put a financial strain on both prisoners and their loved ones. Where once friends could slide a dollar or two in with a letter, now the first couple of dollars is spent purchasing a cashiers check or money order. This means many prisoners, the largest percentage of whom are paid $1 a week, no longer have the financial help they need for the mere necessities (e.g. toothbrush, soap, shampoo, etc.).
But was this change in policy legal? No, according to Ron Sklansky of the Wisconsin legislative council staff. According to Sklansky the “agency must follow the rules it promulgates in the administrative code.” Those rules are very clear in stating that “all money in any form” shall be credited to the appropriate prisoner account. Clearly allowing for personal checks and cash to be sent to prisoners.
Several prisoners have filed complaints, using the DOC’s Inmate Complaint Review System (ICRS), noting the DOC’s violation of administrative code. The DOC has acknowledged they are in violation of this rule, but refuse to change their policy. Which begs the question why would the DOC want to illegally funnel money from prisoners, their families and friends into the pockets of the financial institutions, and big businesses that sell money orders?
The definition of exploitation is those in power taking advantage of those they have power over, which this is a classic example of. This is yet another example of the state’s DOC robbing money from the have nots – this time illegally – and putting it into the hands of the wealthy. It is time to make some noise. Tell the DOC that they are not above the law. We need to start writing letters, and e-mailing our state representatives, placing posts on internet message boards, and blogs. Stop this government sanctioned theft.
An Appeal from Moso
Just a short article to get the news out about the last case we just won in the Federal Court in Johnson V. Raemisch, et al. We had litigated that case on grounds that I produced the documentation to prove everything said in the articles they objected to as “inflammatory” and a “threat to security” was actually true.
The court quoted my words in its opinion, where I argued this is a case where the Emperor has no clothes on, as they didn’t want the published articles to “expose” what they were doing. But once the court was presented with the documents showing everything said was true regarding the secret deal made to keep prisoners locked up in prison who are under the old law by blocking release on parole. The powerful Guard and Police Unions forced changes in the law that stripped a lot of our rights in court. Now they are careless and arrogant and have no regards for how they treat us.
Some of the points I made in the “offending” article and proved to true in front of Judge Crabb were: 1. The political scheme of the Republicans when they controlled the Federal government, was to block Democratic voter turn out by locking up minorities and others they felt would vote Democratic. 2. The corruption of the Parole Commission, making decisions to carry out the Governor’s political agenda, rather than use legal criteria for parole consideration. 3. The lack of any accountability of the lower level prison staff who make the PRC and programming decisions.
I produced all the documentation that proved each and every allegation published in the paper and argued the defendants knew it was all true, and their decision to block delivery of the publication was to keep it all under wraps, a “cover-up” if you will. They made their mistake by attempting to argue the articles were spreading “false” information, and thus it was “Inflammatory”. They didn’t anticipate that I had the evidence to prove it, which included a lot of confidential documents. This is what blew them out of the water.
I even produced a secret email, that accidentally “leaked” into my possession, where it showed two right-wing judges conspiring with each other trying to figure out a legal angle to block an inmate from relief on his post conviction motion. The inmate had proved he was correct under the law, which was admitted in the communication but, the judges had no intention on providing him with any relief. I’m sure Barbara Crabb was impressed with such documentation proving the articles were not based on the ravings of some left-wing radicals in prisons trying to simply stir up a riot. This is the picture the defendants tried to paint. A bunch of whining prisoners making outlandish accusations against these “honest” prison and government officials. Well the proof was in the pudding, and we produced the pudding.
However, I must complain that I had asked for more members to join this lawsuit, but no one else was willing to step up to the plate. We could have won a large settlement had most of you done so. We have entered a settlement and one fourth of the settlement was donated to the WPW. It really wasn’t for the money, but instead the principle and to stand up for what we believe in.
In any case, it’s time for others to make some sort of contribution. As I have said in the past, which is now coming to the light, the political winds are changing. And we have our voice loud enough, it will now get heard. It will take contributions so the machine can continue. All of you who will get some benefits of what this organization is trying to do, send in a couple of dollars. As stated before, you can send it straight out of your prison account. There is nothing more that would cause these people concern than to see us support this chance we have to change “politics as usual”. So if you want to do more than talk, send in what you can. The time is coming when we will need to move and make things happen to help all of us.
WSPF-GP Frequently Asked Questions – Answered
by Shawn L. Pierce
Many of you have seen the advertisement for “volunteers” to join WSPF-General population which was used to trick “fools” like me. Here’s a REAL Frequently Asked Question sheet
1. Question: Is there a library?
Answer: There are 4 ranges on Charlie and only range 2 has a library which is only available on Saturday & Sunday.
2. Q: How about canteen?
A: The list is considerably smaller than at other institutions and the prices are three times higher. Staff buy the same items for a lower price. The $3.50 bi-weekly we get doesn’t buy anything.
3. Q: Is there a Law library?
A: The book/paper items are all 5 to 6 years out of date.
4. Q: How’s the air conditioning?
A: Probably pretty good in the offices. In the cells it sucks. In the winter it’s frigid and in the summer it’s hot.
5. Q: Can I PRC out of WSPF?
A: Everyone wants out of this place! The problem is, not enough “fools” are volunteering and not enough beds in other joints are opening up. So to keep this place full, we get held back.
6. Q: How about jobs?
A: There are no utility workers and only one unit clerk.
7. Q: How are visits?
A: All visits are no contact – through glass, just like seg units in other joints. Why would family drive three hours to talk through a phone?
8. Q: How’s the recreation area?
A: Let’s call it what it is. Dog pens. Small cyclone fenced cages. I wont even go out there. I’m no dog.
9. Q: Satellite TV and radio?
A: No CW or MYTV-14. We must keep our antennas facing one way so we can’t pick up ethnic radio programs. Word is that the warden doesn’t want “Black” programming shown. I believe it.
10. Q: How’s the programming and education?
A: These people don’t care about helping a prisoner. I’ve written the warden twice, asking how WSPF will help me with my goals or how they will help me to re-enter and re-integrate. 2 months later, I’m still waiting for an answer. Other prisoners have written with the same questions and the warden hasn’t responded to them either.
I’ve personally asked every man on Charlie unit do they want to be at WSPF-GP and all 125 answered NO!! They would rather be at any other maximum institution.
If this place cannot function as a real general population institution, they need to go on and call it what it really is… a facility that enforces idleness, deprivation of all meaningful environment stimulation, little to no constructive activities and an environment that assures maximum control over us.
WSPF is a warehouse and needs to be shut down. It’s not a GP facility. It’s a waste of tax dollars. Only the prison staff and WIDOC benefit.
Why the Drug War is a Crime Against Humanity Explained
By Carmen Yarrusso
09/08/08 Like the Iraq war and the “war on terror”, the so-called “drug war” is a government contrived “war” based on lies that generates massive profits for a few while causing massive suffering for many.
The drug war is futile by design (and thus never-ending) because it doesn’t “fight” drugs—quite the contrary—it strongly encourages production and distribution of prohibited drugs by guaranteeing extremely high profits.
But the most insidious and evil aspect of the drug war is it manufactures its own enemies by criminalizing the most basic of human rights—the right of sovereignty over your own body. The drug war could not exist without first inventing a bogus crime.
Our government wastes billions of tax dollars each year harassing and jailing millions of decent, productive Americans for a government-invented “crime”. The use of drugs (even dangerous drugs like alcohol and nicotine) simply doesn’t meet any reasonable definition of “crime”.
Real crime requires action that harms another. Real crime requires both a victim and a perpetrator. For example, robbery harms another and has both a victim and a perpetrator. Only a corrupt, depraved government could invent a crime you commit against yourself.
If you use certain drugs, our government claims you’re both a criminal and a victim at the same time. Since the perpetrator can’t be separated from the victim, the victim is further punished for the “crime”. This pathetic perversion of justice is vigorously championed by our government for selfish political reasons.
More than 50 government agencies share billions of your tax dollars each year “fighting” a government-created crime. Of the millions of illegal drug users, the vast majority use marijuana. If marijuana were legal like alcohol, these government agencies would suddenly lose billions of dollars because millions of former “criminals” would suddenly be granted sovereignty over their own bodies. The vast army amassed to fight the drug war would need to be dissolved at great cost.
That’s why our government strongly opposes even honest debate about marijuana legalization because this massive money-making scam would soon end.
Ingesting nicotine, alcohol, fatty foods, or certain drugs may be unwise. But why is it a crime? If a drug user or a non-drug user harms another they should be treated equally. But the bogus “crime” of drug use doesn’t require harming anyone. Nor does it require a victim and a perpetrator. It only requires a government-invented, bogus criminal/victim, a drug user.
By using lies and deception our government convinces gullible Americans that simply putting something into your own body is a serious crime. But evidence clearly shows that nearly all the harm associated with drug use is caused by creating the bogus crime, not from the actual drug use. There are millions of drug users, but relatively few are harmed by their drug use. These few should be patients, not criminals.
But it’s not just the millions arrested for drug use who suffer from this gross injustice. We gullible Americans have allowed our government to invent a bogus crime that causes massive misery worldwide while costing the taxpayers billions.
Consider the following list of easily avoidable human tragedies that are the direct result of a government-invented, bogus crime: A tax-free, unregulated, multi-billion-dollar drug industry necessarily run by violent criminals; a giant law enforcement bureaucracy wasting billions in a futile attempt to curtail this drug industry, which, in fact, guarantees its extreme profitability; a deteriorating public education system robbed of billions to support this law enforcement bureaucracy; courts and prisons over-flowing with non-violent “criminals” while murderers, rapists and real criminals go free; tens of thousands of children enduring the suffering and stigma of having one or both parents in jail for a bogus “crime”; the gradual erosion of our Constitution as more and more civil liberties are sacrificed to fight a crime “made in USA.”; rampant corruption of foreign governments (like Mexico and Columbia), so driven by US drug profits that life and human rights are secondary; thousands of adults and children infected and dying from HIV because distributing clean needles is a “crime”; violent street gangs with little incentive for education or legitimate jobs reaping huge drug profits made possible by a bogus crime; a growing death toll from police breaking down doors to catch people using substances less dangerous than tobacco, alcohol or fatty foods; a growing cynicism and disrespect for all laws and authority fueled by the knowledge our government can arbitrarily invent a bogus crime…
This sordid list goes on and on.
We’re appalled when Islamic regimes invent bogus crimes against reading certain books, or listening to certain music. Using certain drugs is our government’s version of the same thing. But the worldwide consequences of US drug prohibition are far more serious and severe. All of these “crimes” lack the moral basis of real crime. All are clear cases of a repressive government dictating the private personal behavior of its citizens.
If real crime is knowingly causing harm to others, then the real crime here is not drug use, but making drug use a “crime”. And the real criminals are not drug users, but ordinary people like us, who sit back and condone a ruthless scam that has been exported and exploited around the world leaving massive human suffering in its wake.
Wisconsin Prison Watch
P.O. Box 292
Boscobel, WI 53805
The United States spends about $57 billion annually on its prison and jail system. Over $500 billion on the military budget. Hundreds of billions on police and courts. How much on schools?
WISCONSIN PRISON WATCH NEWSLETTER
Please subscribe me to your newsletter
Enclosed is a remittance in the required amount (cash, money order, postage stamps, check)
I am currently incarcerated in the state of __________________ ___ $5.00 per year
I am an “outside” friend, relation, or supporter of a prisoner ___ $15.00 per year
I work for the DOC, FBI, ATF, DEA, CIA, Milwaukee Police Dept. ___ $100.00 per year
Please also accept $_________ as a donation to be used in the struggle for justice.
Please send your newsletter to:
Remit to: Wisconsin Prison Watch – P.O. Box 292 – Boscobel, WI 53805