Wisconsin deals with its overcrowding and lack of programs with solitary confinement. Solitary for more than 15 days is widely recognized as torture and many states have and are dramatically reducing their use of solitary, yet in WI its use and abuse is ever increasing.
I have worked closely with people stuck in solitary, always trying to help them cope well with their situations while doing all possible to advocate for individual prisoners while ending overuse of solitary. There was excellent media coverage in 2014 of ongoing abuse in the seg units in Waupun Correctional Inst. and concerted and well covered hunger strikes in 2016. One would think big changes would have"arrived." instead the, DOC learned it only has to do a little dance for a few weeks( recommended rule changes, new guidelines and give promises) and everyone declares victory and goes on to other issues. Leaving the prisoners to suffer retaliation and harsher treatment and less openness. ALL guideline, promised rules and were history within 6 months and the guard named most in the WCI assault articles, now heads that unit. A final insult is that access to the courts for solitary prisoners has become harder . Suicide attempts in our solitary units are common, the successful rate is way up from a few years ago ( from 2 per year to 12 last year).Ben Turk, FFUP's new outreach worker, has a written a preliminary report using data gleaned from open records requests and DOC data. He discusses, unlike the current myth, there has been an increase in Guard hiring with a dramatic decrease in number of professional staff. The lack of therapists is particularly harmful for prisoners.( link to report coming)
In order to give prisoners a healthy way to vent their frustrations, fears and rage, we have started this email newsletter project- And the big hope is that in seeing the humanity of these folks, you readers will help us get real change. If you want to take the plunge and write one of these prisoners, we do offer forwarding service- you need not give your address, you give FFUP's. And you can always email e with questions/concerns:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are introductions to the prisoners who are participating in this project- they are asked to write an introduction to themselves. I post part of that intro on the post and you click to read more and more of this post and others they have written.
Introducing Heathen ( AKA Michael Scott Pietila #377076)
A good friend who is also an advocate for my rights along with many others felt some would appreciate my thoughts, feelings and understanding as a blog. I’ll honestly say I had and have, no idea anyone valued myself to such an extent. I guess we’ll see as this blog progresses. I’ve never read a blog, never wrote a blog, as a matter of fact the technology revolution of the 2000’s I happened to miss on my first bid. I did 101/2 years for an Armed Robbery and a couple burglaries. Yes, I am a “violent” criminal who lives by a code of conduct, morals and principals that are foreign to most society.
On the flip side, Society is an alien environment to me and many like me. I’m not against punishment for those of us who break the law. On the contrary, I believe some of us deserve the punishment meted out by the courts. But there are some exceptions to the punishments that I believe deserving of alterations or transformations. It is ridiculous to believe that just housing us and throwing outdated and ineffectual programs and schooling at us while the DOC employees continue with their general outlooks that we are wayward children or even animals that they need to subdue and break is going to rehabilitate us, I’ll also speak out against the medieval psychological and psychiatric services for us who do suffer from mental illnesses. I am diagnosed as bipolar I, PTSD, paranoid personality and major depressive disorder. At times I’m in such a manic state ( such as this mild mania that is allowing me to pen this introduction) that I cannot get enough done. I know I need to seize these opportunities because in between my ‘manic episodes” I suffer debilitating depressive states where I’m like a robot going through the motions of existence and let me travel deeper to my lowest levels of depression and I may end up in the hospital getting stitched up from my latest artistry with a razor blade.
ON occasion I get too excitable and something may trigger my paranoid delusions or full blown psychosis where I believe everyone in the world can hear my thought, can communicate with me in depth and detail with a look or body language or that I’m being housed in a prion where all the employees are cannibals who want to suit up on us, spray us, with the SC can to spice up the meat, rape us to tenderize our meat and eventually kill us, then feed us to each other and eat us themselves. Yeah that’s the short version of the story. I also happen to be a muslim of the Caucasian persuasion which I’m pretty sure isn’t trending in the current societal circles. I’m not a very good muslim, but I am one and I’m proud of it despite the current vilification of my brethren by the American media and aristocracy.
I’m currently housed at Waupun Correctional Institution and with this drastic lack of corrections officers that they have her this seems to be the black hole of the WI department of Corrections. The lack of employees is compounded by the draconian way we are treated by many employees. Granted we as Inmates, prisoners and convicts ( very distinct differences) do not help ourselves with our macho posturing , selfish needs, or alien personalities but in the end WE ARE STILL HUMAN, just like all of you. What’s sad is I’m currently in segregation (restrictive housing unit) by choice and I’m not getting out anytime soon. They shut down the institution and cancel everything while feeding us in our cells when we already expected to live our lives”22-23 hours a day in a 3X3 cell with another inmate. I’m running out of steam for this blog. when inspiration strikes. I ‘ll be back.
I’M A HUMAN TOO!!
Hello, My name is Nikolas Csysz #453424. I have been incarcerated since 2005 for two murders I did not commit. During my 131/2 years of fighting to prove my innocence. I have been to the hole many times, and for many petty rule violations. As the ridiculousness becomes more apparent to me, I, of sound mind have only come to the hole more and more. I wrote this from the hole as we speak.
During my many stays, conditions have gotten worse. I see the doubling up continuing, with guys on the floor. Also, if they put some guy in a bad mood in my room, the c/os first instinct is spray first ( with mace) and try to figure out what’s going on later. Meanwhile, I’m just sitting there getting sprayed even though I did nothing wrong, except for, once again, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I recently came down here, and got a rash on the first day. A month later, still am itching and the c So they went to school to pass out crème and tell me I’m out of luck! “Don’t come to the hole” is their reply. I feel if we were dogs, PETA would have us shut down! But Alas, we’re just people. .”
I have been here for 1 month, and not once have I gotten any “markII (disinfectant).Instead they put only floor cleaner in a spray bottle. However, “cleaner”removes dirt, yes, but it has no disinfectant properties, so, no wonder rashes ( and bugs) are rampant!
Is there room for a little more? Because the mental health “treatment” is only worse because it’s close to non-existent ( and a catch 22”) .
For instance..I have some family issues ( health) that weigh heavily on me. Putting me in a hole where I can’t use the phone for 30 days, causes my Grandparents (one caring for alzheimer) to drive out here, only to be rejected at the door ( because I couldn’t warn them my visiting hours changed).
So I’m more emotional and already feeling hopeless because I’m losing my appeal and my family , oh, and they throw me in the hole with nothing!. I have to wait a week or more to see a psychologist whose answer is “want some puzzles?”
And when I vent my frustrations, He gives me the “we have so many inmates, and we’re short staffed” line. So i just have to suffer because I’m not cutting myself? That’s the only way to get ‘attention” or care, but I am ot a cutter, so I suffer.
And if I catch them on a “round”, that they are legally required to do, they tell me to “fill out a slip and maybe in 7-10 days I can see you.”Oh, okay, I’ll just put a pin in my issues until it’s a better time for you, that should fix me!
Or the famous “how about a packet on meditation?” so , their answer is give e some reading material. How about just give me the whole self book and I can just read it whenever I have a problem? Then , Taxpayers can stop paying “doctor” salaries for ‘Peer meditation ‘Work.. !
To sum up, I’ve been out on a list for my rash, and it’s been over a month. By the time I see someone, it will just “run it’s course.” Great treatment plan.
Like my case, I’ve been waiting for them to “get it right”, but, I suffer in the meantime and get further lost in a broken system. Sincerely and respectfully, Nik Czycz 453424
Anonymous- to be release straight from solitary June 9th, no treatment or training in prison and very little support once out.
I guess it is simpler to start by stating my name. But I’d like to remain anonymous for now because of the personal information that I’m about to disclose to most of you who generally would not be privileged to, that being said, I’m an African American inmate, in the Wisconsin department of corrections. I’ve been here in said state facilities Columbia Correctional Inst for
the better of my 3 year incarcerated according a number of Psychiatrist i suffer from Bi polar disorder with paranoid feature. Post traumatic stress Disorder, ”Ptsd” depression and an anxiety condition of some sort and have been treated with every antipsychotic and anti -depressant of medication that you can think of. I suffer historically form hearing voices, seeing deceased loved one and ex-girl friend before me constantly and nightmares that disturb we to an uncomfortable degree , so I used to stay awake for 1-3 days at a time to avoid sleeping because the things I’d see when I slept would scare the daylights out of Freddy Kruger and Michel Myers, which I was told all stemmed from an up bring where I was exposed to a lot of violence and abuse of all kinds. which I tend to stray away from expressing typically because I absolutely loathe the thought of being an African American statistic to the all white DOC Doctors, because in my mind I believe that all white people believe that all “Blacks” came from broken homes. Which wasn’t the entire case for me because, oddly, the abuse I experiences didn’t come from mom or dad.
Anyhow, somewhere along the way, I began self harming as some wired distraction from mental pain and sadly I brought this all mentioned, to WI DOC with me in 2012 at first and made the error of coming to DOC psychologist for help, only to find out now, 7 years later, that this was one of the worst mistakes I ever made, because, just like 90% of the public, I was under the impression that these professional government officials would help me, and possibly set me on a better path. Wrong!! WI DOC is hands down one of the worst systems in America by far. The Doctors seem almost like people out of some weird Hollywood script and to imagine that DOC could manage to find dozens atop dozens to work this system and ALL be so cruel and corrupt is almost insane itself!! I’ve been a perfect victim of it all and I’ll admit here I have a small part of what I had inflicted upon me by DOC doctors was by design, after seeing things done to very mentally ill inmates, I Thought maybe it was something to it or about this certain inmate.
I’ve fought and tried for 3 years now to get treatment from several prisons and not one has tried to help with treatment of any kind. I’ve self harmed and mutilated my body to the point where I’ve had over a dozen ER trips, stitches and 7 blood transfusions after nearly bleeding to death many times and awake to being rushed to hospital in the back of ambulance awake in the hospital hooked up to m achiness and IV inches from actual death and physically ill to the point where I couldn’t move and inch. Because I’d bled out and lost nearly every once in my body. Overdoses of medications and all.adn the only form of treatment I’ve ever received was an ice cold cell, strapped down, naked, with the air conditioner blowing directly over my body only a foot or two away with restraints so tight I’ve lost circulation in my feet and hands etc and have marks on me permanently. Then Ice cold showers and forced right back down. I’ve been beaten and had locks of hair snatched from my head because I refused to lay back down under those conditions. I’ve been forced to lay in my own waste for hours. I honestly recall being in so much pain after 22 and 28 hours straight-strapped down naked and in a freezing cell that I prayed that GOD would just take my life right then and they wouldn’t even let me up for range of motion. This has been done to me a number of times!!!
Just this last time, I was hurt and in so much pain, when they let me up, I could barely walk. I’d lost so much blood and was so weak then the 22 hours strap down situation, no hospital for any treatment all while they know my blood levels are now critically low again and I’m in danger and 3 and 7 inch cut across my wrist and arm so deep my vein and artery were exposed! All of my wound required real stitches yet they left them all open! The scariest part about the W DOC is the fact that they’re able to hire an HSU full-95%at least of medical staff who are all willing to medically neglect injured inmates. Then the officers they hire are just as corrupt and the combination of the 3 is how you get the monster that DOC continues to be Frankenstein state wide that noone has an answer for. I’ve witnessed mentally ill men like Jeremiah Felton and David Steven be treated like pure animals, all for being ill!! Felton was forced to sleep on a concrete floor for 4 and 8 months total on two occasions in urine and feces! winter time with cold air coming out of the vents! And PSU have this thing where t hey keep Black inmates who are very ill at an MH ONE code versus MH2, to allow security staff to exercise any and all disciplinary measures over patients whose actions are a direct result of their mental illnesses. So instead of rendering treatment, they allow security to enforce discipline, and months and years of segregation, in high volatile buildings full of noise 24/7. The smell of pepper spray and real riot tear gas, the smell of urine and feces coming from David Steven’s cell, this man used his cell to drop his waste and urine every day for months! and Dr Norge never did a thing about it. And he never came out of his cell for showers- he yelled crazy things 24/7. Ate meals maybe 3-4 times a week. Willie lambert as well , Jeremiah Felton-he been in the hole for 12 years as his mental health condition continues to deteriorate.
Coming to WI DOC with mental health issues is almost like a crime ! At least one would assume by all the discipline and punative measures used to deal with someone who self harms. It’s almost insane to think that “treatment: is WSC would possibly make inmates worse!
Care, aid and treatment should NEVER hurt! You people on the outside looking have no idea how large the mental health crisis is in the WI DOC because its down played and censured even by the media even when there’s been several suicides (5) in2018-2019. Hundreds of thousands spent on hospital visits by inmates who self harm, overdose on pills, if not millions-state and taxpayer money which should have gone to treatment programs and better health care providers overall. Because ever after all that’s said , it is people in the communities that ultimately pay the price in the long run . Society needs to get involved mush sooner than later with this whole issue with the WIDOC continuing to release people untreated but mistreated , back into the streets and potentially endangering communities. i am surprised that Wisconsin hasn’t been afflicted by a mass shooting like other states and also grateful. But just because we haven’t been , doesn’t mean we won’t be, cause just like people other states as well as families of victims , noone even cares to get involved until these issues hit close to home!
So now is more than the perfect time to step up and see to it that the men and women who all are continuously electing into office make some real life changes to the prison.jail and probation/parole system. Struggle everyday with thought of suicide and self harm, I’ve spent months on clinical observation/suicide watch in freezing cells in the winter time with no shower or war to care for my health or hygiene all while mutilating my body and bleeding out because even while on suicide watch of close 5 minute checks, staff will watch inmates self mutilate, hang themselves, etc , and won’t do a damn thing to stop it! I’ve laid in my own blood for hours unattended to while on suicide watch and have almost died at 4am and staff refused to get me to an outside hospital, So I Guess in some way to attempt concluding this all , our voice from within doesn’t carry no matter how loud or long we all yell –but your voices on the outside can and will. We need help in here people. So until next time, that’s hoping I’ll be around to journal with and for you all again.( if you want to write to the guy, let me know and I will connect you two)