Wisconsin: DYING TO LIVE Food Refusal

On June 5th and 10th a food refusal / hunger strike was started at Waupun C.I. in Wisconsin.

The peaceful protest is against the long-term solitary confinement within Wisconson DOC’s prisons called “Administrative Confinement” (AC).

The group ROCWISDOM has issued this statement in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Wisconsin.

Here are the demands of the hunger striking men as stated in their petition you can sign:


Petitioning WI DOC Secretary Jon Litscher
Waupun prisoners begin “Food Refusal” to Protest Solitary Torture
By Prison Forum

Dying to Live
Announcing a Human Rights Campaign at Waupun Correctional Institution starting June 10, 2016.

Prisoners in Waupun’s long term solitary confinement units will start a food refusal action called “Dying to Live” to demand an end to solitary torture in Wisconsin prisons.

THE WHY: In the state of Wisconsin over a hundred prisoners are in the long term solitary confinement Units a.k.a. administrative confinement (AC). Some have been in isolation for 18 to 29 years concurrently.

The Problem: The U.N., several states, and even President Obama have come out against this kind of confinement, citing the torturous effect it has on prisoners.

The Objective: Stop the torturous use of long term solitary confinement (A.C.) Here are our demands:

1) Place a legislative cap on the use of long term solitary confinement (A.C.)

2) DOC and WIS legislators must adopt/come into Compliance with the U.N. Mandela Rules on the use of solitary confinement.

3) Form and implement an Oversight Board/Committee Independent of DOC to stop abuse and over-classification of prisoners to “short” and “long” term confinement.

4) Immediately transition and release prisoners who have been on the long term solitary confinement units for more than a year in the Wisconsin DOC to less restrictive housing.

5) Ensure proper mental health facilities and treatment of “short“ and “long” term solitary confinement prisoners.

6) Instigate an immediate FBI investigation into the mind control programs being used in the system. We believe these exist to break and recondition anyone they consider a threat to their regiment. All mind control programs aimed at dehumanizing prisoners under the guise of “mental therapy” must be investigated and stopped.*

Here is a links to an article on mind control programs in our prisons:

For more information on AC, including the Mandela Rules, to read AC prisoners profiles and writings by AC prisoners, and much more, go to Solitarytorture.blogspot.com and from there you can browse other prison issues.
To contact us, email prisonforum@outlook.com

This petition will be delivered to:
WI DOC Secretary Jon Litscher


More prisoners pledge to strike and DOC reacts
By Prison Forum

JUN 4, 2016 — Hello, I thank you for signing this petition. Communication with the prisoners is difficult but at least one inmate has been moved to another prison and we are told more prisoners are pledging to refuse to eat in solidarity with the others. Some prisoners are starting to refuse food early but the official start date is June 10th.

Lots is happening on our side and besides scrambling to get ready for rallies on June 10th and 11th, we are searching for ways to get and maintain contact with the striking prisoners. Our mail sometimes reaches the prisoners sometimes not and phone calls are once a week. Senator Harris- Dodd is helping to coordinate wellness checks with other legislators that have shown interest. With a “wellness Check” the DOC liason for the legislature checks on or visits the prisoner (we hope daily) and reports to the legislators. This will help.

It is important that we let the people in power know that we care- that solitary Confinement over 15 days has been deemed torture by the United Nations and that some these men have been in isolation for DECADES.

Please go to our website Solitarytorture.blogspot.com to get addresses, emails and phone numbers of those in power over these men. There is also a “how you can help” list at right.

Let us know when you do contact them: prisonforum@outlook.com. Also here are sample letters to the legislature and media; and a sample press release to send to online and regular media, and lots of prisoners’ writings, studies and articles on this barbaric practice.

Thankyou again for your interest. There is a worldwide awakening to the horror of solitary confinement and the prisoners on AC are asking us to include them in our advocacy and to work for the elimination of this practice.
Administrative confinement has been a secret torture and finally these courageous prisoners are putting it on the map.


Madison: Friday June 10th. 1 pm, Madison capitol steps, West entrance
Milwaukee: Saturday, June 11th.12 noon, Milwaukee Court house steps
See web for contact numbers: http://www.solitarytorture.blogspot.com [and below!]


Call and email the following people and tell them to meet the six humanitarian demands of the “Dying to Live” Food Refusal Humanitarian Campaign Against Torture. The objective of this campaign is to expose and stop the torture that is Administrative Confinement (AC).

a) Governor Scott Walker
Tel: 608-266-1212
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707
Email: governor@wisconsin.gov

b) WI Doc Central Office / Secretary of DOC Jon E. Litscher
Tel 608-240-5000;
P.O. Box 7925,
Madison, WI 53707
Email: jon.litscher@wi.gov

c) Columbia Correctional Institution Warden :
Michael Dittman, Warden CCI
P.O. Box 950
Portage, WI 53901-0950
Tel.: 608-742-9100
Fax: 608-742-9111
He does not give out his email.

d) Waupun Correctional Institution Warden:
Brian Foster, Warden WCI
PO Box 351,
Waupun, WI 53963
Tel.: 920-324-5571
Fax: 920-324-7250
Email: brian.foster@wisconsin.gov

3) Call or write the FBI in Milwaukee, WI and demand they investigate mind control programs in Wisconsin maximum prisons.
FBI Milwaukee
3600 S. Lake Drive
St. Francis, WI 53235
Tel.: (414) 276-4684

4) Call and email your local new media and ask them to cover this food refusal, “Dying to Live” campaign. Use one of our templates to get started.

5) Contact your own legislators and ask them to learn about Administrative Confinement and support our campaign against solitary torture. You can find out who your legislators are and get contact information here: http://maps.legis.wisconsmin.gov (enter your address or zip in right corner) or here: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/about/contact/)
OR by googling:”Who are my legislators in Wisconsin?”

6) We will be announcing a “rolling fast” to express solidarity with the food refusal where we take turns fasting for one day each for as long as the prisoners continue their action. Document your story live for social media, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Black Men in Prison

This is a series on WuWM, called Project Milwaukee. The latest broadcast was titled Cutting WI’s High Black Male Incarceration Rate: Progress, But a Long Way to Go.

“It’s been one year since WUWM began an in-depth series on the state’s high rate of African American male incarceration.

Wisconsin leads the nation, by far.

WUWM is checking in with a few key players in the efforts to reduce the numbers. Republican state Rep. Rob Hutton of Brookfield says developments in Madison have been slow. But he’s hopeful change is on the way, including in the form of legislation that would provide treatment alternatives to prison, for non-violent offenders.”

Read and listen to the rest here.

Wisconsins’ prisons racial disparities must be fixed

Wisconsins’ prisons racial disparities must be fixed : Daily-cardinal

April 09, 2014
By Haleigh Amant

It may come as no surprise to many that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Even more unsurprising to some might be the racial disparities in our prison system (black men are more likely to be sent to prison than white men in this country).

But what did seem to shock many, including myself, was a study done by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee finding that Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate of black males in the country, with 13 percent incarcerated. That is nearly double the country’s rate and can be summed up with just one major Wisconsin city: Milwaukee.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/daily-cardinal/wisconsins-prisons-racial-disparities-must-be-fixed/article_b400c6f4-c003-11e3-99da-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz2ywwTj4R0

Mother forms foundation for female inmates

From: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
June 17 2012

In the face of every female prisoner in Wisconsin, Alice Pauser sees her daughter: A woman who committed a crime, yes, but who nonetheless deserves love, compassion and the chance to make something of her life.

Pauser’s daughter, Genevieve, was just 19 when she was convicted of three felonies – including being party to the crime of first-degree intentional homicide – in 2002. Sentenced to life in prison, Genevieve will not be eligible for supervised release until 2025.

Instead of giving in to despair, Pauser channeled it into action. The result was The Demeter Foundation. Named for a Greek goddess who searched the underworld for her lost daughter, the foundation assists incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in Wisconsin. For prisoners, the foundation advocates for humane treatment and civil rights. After release, the foundation provides workshops on education, job readiness and self-esteem.

Pauser, who works full-time at Access to Independence, a disability rights organization in Madison, runs the foundation before and after work and on weekends. It is supported entirely through donations.

Through the foundation, Pauser, 56, of Fitchburg, has helped dozens of women. She successfully lobbied for a state law that makes it illegal for prison guards to have sex with inmates. And she has forged a closer bond with her daughter than either of them ever thought possible.

Read the rest here.

The Demeter Foundation:

Mail: P.O. Box 259283, Madison, WI 53725
Phone: (608) 298-3563
Email: tdfwi@live.com

Wisconsin lawmakers discuss proposal to cut number of prison meals to save the state money

Prisons cost money. Prisoners are human beings just like you and me. They need food in order to live. When are lawmakers and politicians going to stop abusing the human and basic constitutional rights of people in prisons by trying to deny them food? What good will it do the taxpayers who elect politicians, when more security is needed? When more medical bills need to be paid for because of the lack of nutrients and lack of food?

Why don´t politicians like Mark Radcliffe come up with laws for less long sentences? A reduction of people returning to prison like the revolving door phenomenon? Better education and more work for all are also badly needed.

Via The Real Cost of Prisons:

Wisconsin lawmakers discuss proposal to cut number of prison meals to save the state money

* STEPHANIE JONES The Journal Times, Racine
May 02, 2011

STURTEVANT, Wis. — Today’s prison menu includes oatmeal for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch and chicken a la king for dinner.

In the future, one of those meals could be taken off the menu, leaving a brunch and dinner.

State Rep. Mark Radcliffe, a Democrat from Black River Falls, has proposed a bill that would reduce the number of meals served at prisons and jails to save money. Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said it is an idea worth consideration for the state budget.

John Paquin, warden at the Racine Correctional Institution in Sturtevant, said he has not taken a position on it. But he is concerned it could bring about some security issues.

Inmates look forward to getting out of their cells for meals and other activities, he said. If the meal schedule is changed, Paquin said some of the approximately 1,500 inmates in the correctional institute in Sturtevant could get edgy or testy. They could also protest by not going to meals, he said.

“One thing inmates are always concerned about is the food,” Paquin said. “It’s not like they can go down to the local McDonald’s,” he said.

Radcliffe also did not return a call for comment on his bill. But Vos, who is co-chairman of the state’s Joint Finance Committee, said the proposal is worth reviewing if it saves the state money.

“I don’t think being in prison guarantees you three meals a day,” Vos said. “There are very few days I eat three meals a day, and I get along … But at the same time we want to make sure people are adequately taken care of.”

Tim Le Monds, a spokesman with the Department of Corrections, said he does not know how much it would save and the department has not analyzed the impact of the proposed change. But he said it’s his understanding that the proposal would not reduce the number of calories that are offered. Those calories are based on federal nutritional guidelines, he said.

Le Monds also said the state made a meal change last fall which saved money without cutting breakfast.

Instead of having different meals at all the state correctional sites, they created a standardized meal rotation schedule for all state correctional institutions. The change consolidated food ordering for approximately 30 different state facilities and saved money by ordering in bulk, Le Monds said. It started in fall, and Le Monds said it has already saved the state about $2 million.
Information from: The Journal Times, http://www.journaltimes.com


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget tightens early prison release

From: Green Bay Press Gazette:

Doyle program has affected 479 inmates for ‘limited’ savings

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to rescind former Gov. Jim Doyle’s cost-saving sentencing reform measures will have little positive effect on the state budget or even on Walker’s wish to restore truth in sentencing, data from the state Department of Corrections shows.

Walker has proposed changing the funding for the prison system, taking it from a $1.3 billion budget for this year to $1.2 billion in 2012 and then back up to $1.27 billion in 2013.

In Walker’s recent budget address, the governor said his plan would restore truth in sentencing, state efforts begun in the late 1990s to more closely tie court sentences to actual time that inmates serve.
While he didn’t address whether costs would increase because inmates could be kept in prison longer, he said the intention is separating issues of early release from budget considerations.

To some observers, the repealing of Doyle’s early release initiatives seem contradictory to Walker’s cost-cutting strategies.

“There appears to be substantial cuts planned in the DOC budget, and at the same time, we’re expecting prisoners are going to stay locked up for longer periods,” Brown County Judge J.D. McKay said. “That costs money. I don’t completely understand the logic of the two; they seem to run counter to each other.”

In reality, Walker’s planned changes to Doyle’s early release measures will affect relatively few inmates.

Doyle’s plan, which started on Oct.1, 2009, was originally expected to save as much as $27 million over two years. Actual savings have been minimal because relatively few inmates have been released early under the program, prison data shows.

Out of a prison population of more than 22,000, only 479 inmates were released early since Oct. 1, 2009, according to prison spokesman Tim LeMonds. No specific figure of cost savings was available, LeMonds said, but “over the last few years, it was extremely minimal.”

The largest share — 362 inmates — were released under the sentence adjustment program, a program that will remain largely intact under Walker’s proposed changes, according to Tony Streveler, the prison system’s policy initiatives advisor.

Read the rest here.

Spokeswoman: Wis. National Guard preparing for possibility of guarding prisons if guards walk

By Associated Press (via Fox6)
Feb 22, 2011

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin National Guard spokeswoman says its members have been visiting prisons to prepare for securing them in the event that correctional officers walk off the job to protest Gov. Scott Walker.

Lt. Col. Jackie Guthrie said Tuesday that guard members visited the Redgranite Correctional Institution in central Wisconsin and others in recent weeks. She stressed that the visits were to update long-standing contingency plans for providing services during an emergency, and that Walker had not asked the guard to be on alert.

Guthrie noted that then-Acting Gov. Martin Schreiber activated 6,000 members of the guard in 1977 amid a work stoppage to guard prisoners and deliver other state services. She said that, based on history, “of course we’re going to be prepared should such a call come.”

See also the Badger Herald:
Labor leaders call reports of strike endorsement premature.National Guard official says Guard ready to take over in case strike indeed occurs

By David Brazy
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday’s reports that the South Central Federation of Labor was calling for a general strike may have been premature, according to a federation official.

SCFL Vice President David Mandehr said despite media rumors, the federation did not endorse a general strike at its monthly meeting on Monday night because its bylaws do not allow the members to do so.

“Basically we had a vote, and it’s just a motion to form a committee on how we could get information out to our constituents if a general strike is called,” Mandehr said.

Mandehr said if a general strike would be called, it would have to go through the AFL-CIO with the SCFL’s affiliate unions.

The SCFL is an umbrella organization representing 97 unions and 45,000 members in five Wisconsin counties, according to the SCFL website.

Some of the confusion may have come from a statement on the SCFL’s website which said the federation would endorse a strike if the bill is passed.

“The SCFL endorses a general strike, possibly for the day Walker signs his ‘budget repair bill,’” the statement said.

However, under the statement endorsing a general strike the website also said the SCFL did not call for a strike at the meeting because they did not have the authority.

The SCFL also passed a motion opposing all aspects of the budget repair bill at the meeting.

If the repair bill is passed, many workers are not planning on backing down. Union member Cheri Caff said they will continue to stand up to Walker’s plan.

“We need to go head to head with him until he backs off of our bargaining rights,” Carr said.

If the repair bill is passed and widespread strikes follow — including correctional officers — the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to help support state prisons, according to Lt. Col. Jackie Guthrie.

Guthrie said the National Guard has visited state correction facilities this year. She added they do routine visits every year to be prepared in the event of any kind of emergency.

“We are always ready to ensure the safety of Wisconsin … we are also preparing for spring flooding and a flu pandemic but that doesn’t mean those things will happen,” Guthrie said.

Wisconsin’s prison population declines

From: Wisconsin Radio Network

by Andrew Beckett on December 23, 2010

in: Crime & Courts

It’s been getting a little less crowded in Wisconsin’s prisons. Department of Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch says the number of inmates in state prisons was at about 22,000 at the end of fiscal year 2009, down nearly 1,800 over the past three years. The numbers reflect a three-percent drop in the population over the last five years.

Read the rest here.

Innocent Wisconsin Convict Wavers Between Anger, Hope

by The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE December 7, 2010

It wasn’t the 23 years behind bars that made Robert Lee Stinson’s prison sentence so agonizing. Nor was it the humiliating treatment by prison guards.

What really tormented him was watching his youth slip away as he served time for a murder he didn’t commit.

The Wisconsin Innocence Project helped free him last year, and now the 46-year-old Milwaukee man wants to make sure no one else has to endure what he suffered. Stinson is seeking $115,000 from a state claims board this week, a settlement that could help him afford a criminal-justice degree.

“We want to shoot for $5,000 for each year,” the soft-spoken man told The Associated Press. “That’s not nearly enough to compensate me for spending 23 years in prison. But it will really help me purchase a vehicle and pay for tuition.”

The claims board is scheduled to consider his claim Thursday. Wisconsin regulations limit compensation for wrongful imprisonment to $5,000 per year or $25,000 total, but the board can ask state lawmakers to approve a higher amount.

“In one sense the money will really help him rebuild his life,” said Heather Lewis Donnell, Stinson’s attorney. “On the other hand, to put a figure on the loss he suffered is really difficult.”

Stinson was the victim of bad timing and questionable testimony.

He was 21 when he was convicted in the 1984 slaying of a Milwaukee woman whose nearly naked body was found bloody and beaten in an alley near her home. Police canvassed the area the morning after the killing and arrested Stinson because they said he couldn’t adequately explain his whereabouts the night before, Innocence Project lawyer Byron Lichstein said during a 2009 interview. An odontologist determined that Stinson’s bite matched those on the victim.

That was a ridiculous claim, Stinson said. His ongoing lawsuit against the city, two police officers and a dentist who testified at trial says he was missing a tooth where the bite marks indicated a tooth should have been, and he had an intact one where the perpetrator didn’t.

Still, he was convicted after two forensic odontologists testified that his teeth were a match.

The Innocence Project, which works to clear wrongly convicted inmates, convinced a judge to overturn Stinson’s conviction in 2008. The group raised questions about the dubious bite-mark testimony and released newer tests showing that DNA from saliva on the victim’s sweater didn’t match Stinson’s.

Read the rest here.


Waupun CI: Life to “improve” for some Wisconsin inmates

APNewsBreak: Life to improve for some Wis. inmates

By RYAN J. FOLEY (AP) – Sep 2, 2010

MADISON, Wis. — Life is getting better for some of Wisconsin’s most dangerous and worst-behaving prisoners.

To settle lawsuits filed by inmates, state officials have agreed to make wide-ranging changes to the segregation unit at the maximum-security Waupun Correctional Institution to make it easier for them to sleep, exercise and communicate.

The 180 inmates who are housed there because they violated prison rules or were deemed a security risk to the general population will be getting new windows, magazines and even Hacky Sacks, according to settlements signed last month and obtained by The Associated Press.

The Department of Corrections said Thursday the changes will cost more than $60,000, and the settlements award the inmates and their attorneys an additional $113,000 in fees and damages.

Inmates Matthew R. Schumacher and Shaun J. Matz had sued, arguing that the conditions in the cells were so isolating and harsh they violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment and worsened their mental illnesses. Each had tried to kill himself at Waupun, which a state audit released last year found had the highest suicide rate of all state prisons.

Both had complained that fluorescent night lights that are constantly on for security purposes made it hard for them to sleep, and they were not allowed to cover their eyes without facing discipline. They said the frosted glass windows in their cells didn’t allow them to see outside or even discern what time of day it was.

The two also said their four hours of “recreation” per week consisted of going to small cages where there was no exercise equipment and that were freezing cold in the winter. (Their prison-issued coats were also stored in the cold cages). They said they couldn’t have photographs of loved ones, couldn’t read magazines, couldn’t communicate with other inmates or buy basic supplies from the canteen.

All that will change under the settlement, which avoids an expensive class-action lawsuit like ones that have been filed against other state prisons in recent years over harsh conditions.

“These are significant changes that will improve the conditions of confinement for all prisoners in the segregation unit at Waupun,” said Gregory Everts of Quarles & Brady law firm, one of the attorneys who represented the inmates. “Our goal was to improve the conditions for prisoners who suffer from serious mental illness. We credit the state for making these changes, but I think there’s still more work to be done.”

Read more here. (bold is WPV´s)