Recognizing the False Dawns in Wisconsin-DOC solitary confinement Reforms
By Ras Uhuru and Waupun AC Collective
Date: 1 26 2016
If the public stops watching and pushing them (DOC) they will not only stop changing things, but reverse some of the stuff they did and let the abusive back in rotation.
1) On behalf of all those still being held on AC (Long status of solitary confinement) here at WCI and statewide a response and dispute must be formulated in response to the over praise being made to WI – DOC ( men on AC composed of time length from 2 years to over 18 and 22 years held status.)
2) The changes mentioned in the 2014 report by the Association of State Correctional Administrators and some media quotation of the same, are nothing more than “Gauzes” being applied to a neglected and septic wound.
3) Showing strong symptoms of preventative gangrene.
4) We are working to give measure to the January 17th 2016 and other media accounts that the tide is turning against solitary confinement.
5) The public must know that these lip services are at best smoke screens to shut them up. First of all those lawsuits and settlements mentioned in Dee J. Hill Jan. 17th report (which has the DOC keeping much of the details concealed) mainly dealt with prisoners with mental illness. And because DOC will not and do not acquire the proper mental health resource statistics to deal with mental health issues, the settlements are bandages and nothing more than quieting suits.(i.e. We tried to slow the bleeding from shooting out like a water hydrant to a garden hose flow.)
6) Lost in the smoke screen are the hundreds of us still confined in long term solitary confinement textually called AC Administrative Confinement. Waupun has 24 people on AC as of the date of writing.
7) My 17 year continuum of AC was briefly stayed for 60 days for DS (disciplinary Segregation) time. Once this paper shift DS is up they will paper shift me right back to AC. I've already received a pre- notice that this is their intent. Nothing much changes but paper works labels.
8) DS and Ac are so identical that you have to be told they are not the same. Psychologically they are. I often forget the are not until I could only receive a one hour visit from my family who traveled from Chicago to only talk to me through a tv screen. (AC gives two hours)
9) In the recent news article by Hall, DOC Mental health director, Kevin Kallas stated they are being more transformative in how they “think and act”. In Practice and to whom solitary confinement is (protractedly) applied.
10) However, the reality on the inside is much more real and truthful than the propaganda being spieled here. I witness mentally ill prisoners down the range losing all grasp of reality and themselves every day. One such elderly prisoner has been on AC, shipped here and there for over 20 years, since about 1995.
11) Only one single mentally ill has been released from AC and this was because prisoners’ rights advocacy groups like FFUP and others pushed his mental health status in their face.
12) In 2014 FFUP submitted to the DOC secretary and Waupun WARDEN a transition workshop/crisis management program designed specifically for prisoners on ac. (held in an allegedly “administrative/non punitive status for indetermine status) called Common Grounds.
13) Fostering self-Help and teaching crisis management to improve and show problem solving mechanisms. Common Ground also allow prisoners ways to showcase issues they perceive as neglected by staff and grievances.
14) The program was outright rejected by staff and not even acknowledge by either. Yet DOC/Waupun has no program designed specifically for transitioning AC prisoners off Ac. Instead they offer stuff not a ASE requirement or need that statistically they can gain more money for. Yet Waupun has been double digit for past ten years with AC placement.
15) How can we trust DOC spokes people when in 2014 they made claims of major changes in Disciplinary segregation rules and applications.(DOC 303 code) However when the new 2014 rule book came out they not only increased the time sentences but added new offenses and time frames that allowed punishment of 360 days in confinement.
16) Only after prisoners complained to advocacy groups like FFUP, Wisdom and WCEHTP WCIJ (Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism) and only after WCIJ filed a lawsuit did the DOC issue a DAI policy clean up. Why print a new rule book with policies you were not going to implement or that was contrary to the new Changes promised to make?
17) And it was still not being enforced. When the DAI clean-up policy came out counteracting the 2014 rule book rogue joints like WCI concealed and refused to implement or even make known the DAI's mandate. And we never even knew there was a DAI policy until August of 2015.
18) And no way Madison was not aware that rogue institutions like Waupun was not went Sarah Palin on us by not implementing the new DAI policy which was created ad hoc. Every time a prisoner appealed an ICI to Madison on a disciplinary procedural Madison/ DAI etc was placed on notice. Those appeals would have made it clear. Madison said nothing and did nothing for almost a whole year-Waupun refused to disclose and follow the DAI policy.
19) We learned of the DAI policy when by rumor from Green Bay, but this was not official. Then confirmed by a newspaper article. Making copies to circulate to enlighten others of our class and to get more information was denied.
20) This skullduggery and dilatory tactics illustrate that DOC (by facts and extrapolations) is not serious nor sincere in their words and will never be proactive in these issues of solitary confinement constraint. They will only make small window show changes to get the attention and focus off of them and not to appear the only state out of the fad.
21) Only if there is pressure and monitoring by society will they follow through.
22) DAI Cathy Jess statement showcases this very fact and the DOC attitude. “It is somewhat of, I would say, a culture shift for the staff” ( a culture they have been and continuously denied existed in first place and all lawsuits and complaints files alleging such).
23) She continues, “I've been in the Department (DOC) for 29 years. Things change, the pendulum swings with corrections, and depending on the public's opinion and how laws get passed and different things.”
24) To her it is not a matter of doing the right thing or following human conscience to treat others humanely. To her it is a matter which oscillation the wind is blowing.
25) So the question to the public is: who has to push the pendulum to get moving? For she's been here 29 years and has played a major role in that so-called culture they barely expose. When she says “it swings with Corrections” we must be suspicious of what “corrections” she is talking about. The Department or the official misconduct? The culture? Or with the humane changes that Obama and other prison reforms are being called for. The abolition of solitary as a management continuum in general? She has the power individually to do so right now.
26) Furthermore, DOC staff do not get paid with tax dollars to build and establish a culture (Abusive or otherwise). They get paid to follow mandates laid down by DAI and other hands in Madison. They don't live here, they don't have the psychologist interests or investments to prison lifestyle to be cultured into a way. The fact that they have shows a lack of management and training coming in policy and practices from Madison’s Academy.
27) My Observations and experience lead me to extrapolate that “swings with corrections”
is more metonymy than the noun.
28) If they were sincere! WCIJ would not have to keep suing them to gain access to the truths facts and figures they wish to conceal- Public data that suppose to be on DOC's website.
29) They will continue to make these window dressing changes and false claims until the pressure and focus is removed. And they will not only stop making changes but they will reverse a lot of the ones they've made.
30) They could release all 24 of us from AC today and a few weeks later place us ALL right back on it if the public don't demand legislative actions and law regulating DOC acts and boundaries. We need AC caps and constraints. The pre-1998 change was more humane.
31) Lastly. What Culture shift? When a lot of the ethno centric minds, like Jess herself (29 years recall) played major roles in this abusive and disgusting culture in the first place. When talking of cultural institutions involving official abuses and misconduct. That means people like Jess were aware of these abuses at least and/or encouraged it, overlooked it, or organized it from the very start.
32) These are the lessons in “Corrections” that we prisoners are learning-that ALL the negative qualities that landed some in prison-it's okay for these same qualities to be exhibited by government employees.(re-to beat, abuse, lies, neglect or kill).
33) To amplify what Rev. Kate Edwards of WISDOM finds to be (a catch 22) “concerning.” That “a specified max period of confinement .. for aggravated circumstances” is the Only thing that will pause and begin to cure this House. This cannot be overstated.
34) First: “Aggravated circumstance” turns on an ambiguous expansion in terms. Because without that maximum time cap for AC placement, either as a rule infraction or as a cause for non-infraction, all the so-called changes will merely be washing and cleaning the outside of the wound and leaving the inside infected and putting the same bias bandages shown to not keep it clean back on it ( re: same attitudes, policies, staff, officials etc )
35) WCEHTP (Wisconsin Committee for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Prisoners) was created to be a oversight Board to ensure its eponymous name by being composed of citizens and professionals who review the “aggravated circumstances”: and make oversight rulings and findings when prisons officials exaggerate and abuse the power of those electives.
36) No agency will ever truthfully and honestly police itself once it has abused its power or gone outside the scope of its mission policy. Let alone self – incriminate its policies, practices and abuses. It is a joke and mockery of activism and human rights to assume they will do so or to conceded to such hypocrisy.
37) But hey, I'm just one of the evidences of this official vice. 18 Years and counting in solitary oscillating between AC and DS.
38) The Mandela rule is what the nations of the world need. How many more segicides (segregation suicides) or post confinement segicides need to occur before we demand they do what's humane.
39) President Obama has taken the lead. But can other politicians do what's right?
40) It is the public who are to hold these power blocks responsible and compel human rights. Mandela Rule: Everyone call and write to Madison and demand the Mandela rule/law on solitary confinement in WI and the nation
From oppressive confines of Waupun. 18 years and continuum
Ras AtumRa Uhuru Mutawakkil; PO Box 351 #228971; Waupun, WI 53963
Note: WCEHTP and Common Ground and a summary of the Mandela Rules included in insert. We envision a six week workshop mandate of transitional placement of AC prisoners upon completion of Common Ground. No money or resources are required than what’s already being misused. Doc Secretary has the power to assign cases to the board (WCEHTP) to review such matters. This would be true and real accountability. Contact FFUP for more information or to get involved.