Administrative Confinement as Retaliation
By William Ledford 80495; WCI
On September 4, 2014 I violated my parole and on September 5, 2014, I was immediately placed in the Dodge Correctional Institution (DCI) at Waupun. On October 6, 2014 a guard became verbally abusive and I punched the guard in the mouth. As a consequence I was given a segregation sentence of 7 days adjustment and 360 days disciplinary segregation(DS). Because I had not yet been formally revocated and because DCI officials had placed a special placement need (SPN) on me to keep me separated from the guard I punched, I was transferred to the Milwaukee secure Detention Facility (MSDF) to its segregation unit.
While at MSDF I did well. I had no major problems at all, even got along well with the guards and other staff. It had initially been suggested to the MSDF security director by DCI and DOC officials that he place me on administrative confinement (AC) pursuant to DOC 308.04. Administrative confinement under this administrative code provision is a means by which prison officials can circumvent the segregation maximum of 250 days and keep a prisoner in segregated status indefinitely, often for several years. However, because my behavior and attitude were good the MSDF security director declined to place me in AC, thus I continued to serve me 360 days DS sentence.
In November of 2014 I was formally revocated, but I was retained at MSDF. Finally, on about January 11, 2015, I was transferred to the Waupun correctional Institution (WCI). What is important to note is that the MSDF security director released me from my DS sentence for the staff battery the day I was transferred. When I arrived at WCI, WCI prison officials knew who I was and what I had done>they did not place me I segregation nor did they begin or even consider the process to place me on AC. Instead, the placed me in general population (GP).I was fine and I followed all the rules.
I am an insulin dependent diabetic. I had been transfered from the North cell hall to the south cell hall. I had to go to the health services unit (HSU) on pass to check my blood sugar and inject insulin three times a day. Because of the large number of diabetics and inadequate facilities at HSU to accommodate them it conflicts with the time that my cell hall tier went to eat. Being new to the cell hall I did not know whether I had to go to chow right away or wait or how long to wait and there was no written direction in the rule book. When I attempted to speak to the cellhall sergeant about the matter he was uncooperative and unnecessarily nasty and even attempted to chastise and blame me. This was on February 2, 2015
As required by the institution rulebook I wrote what is called a resolution attempt letter to the assigned cell hall supervisor, who was Cpt. Bauer, on Friday 2 2015, explaining the situation, what the rulebook did and didn't state regarding meals and medical passes and I requested written rules about the matter and suggesting a solution. On February 2, 2015 Cpt Bauer sent me a memo that was exceptionally nasty, offensive and falsely accusatory. On that same date I replied, addressing his nastiness and false accusations. ( These documents are a matter of record and I have copies)
On February 5, 2015, Cpt Bauer came to the south cell hall and had me come to the sergeant's desk. He was again verbally nasty and arrogant. He also tried to force me to take back the originals of my letters to him. I refused, telling him he could keep them for the record and that I had copies. He got angry because I defied him, stepped close to me, and said I wasn't going to dictate anything and he wasn't going to be intimidated. I told him that neither was I and then walked away and returned to my cell. This occurred at approximately 1:30 PM. At 2:55 Lt Walker arrived at my cell with several guards and informed me I was being placed in segregation o temporary lockup (TLU) pending AC placement renew.
On February 25 2015 after a Joke “hearing” , I was placed on AC status. As justification the AC “committee” (all WCI employees) used old conduct reports dating back over 20 years and the allegations from my pending criminal charges for which I had been revocated but not yet adjudicated. This committee made a “finding” that I was “dangerous” and a threat to staff and prisoners, not only was this obvious and clear retaliation due it my writing the complaint resolution attempt letter to cpt. Bauer and my interaction with him. But of special note is the fact that from the time I arrived at WCI until my placement in TLU, at no time did I cause any problems or receive even a minor conduct report. What is more, all of the so-called “evidence” the committee used to justify my placement in AC (i.e., old conduct reports and pending criminal charges) were all known by WCI prison officials when I arrived at WCI on January 11, 2015 and they placed me in general population. Thus the retaliation was and is-obvious and blatant as was- and is-the misuse and abuse of AC placement.
Pursuant to DOC 308.02 and DOC 308.04(1) Ac is supposed to be a nonpunitive status to segregate the prisoner, but not to be in punitive segregated conditions. Nonetheless, AC prisoners are housed in the restrictive housing unit (RHU) (i.e. solitary confinement), the same place where all prisoners found “guilty” of a disciplinary (punitive) offense are housed. The AC prisoners are allowed only the same property as steps 3 DS prisoners, the highest step level for punitively placed prisoners and nothing else. The conditions in RHU are stark. The cell is 6'X10' and has nothing but a stainless steel toilet-sink combination, a small concrete ledge that acts as a “table” and a concrete slab for a bed. No chair, no pillow, AC prisoners only get two showers a week. They get their food served on a tray thrust through a narrow slot in a solid steel door> the door has only a narrow slot in a solid steel door. the door has only a narrow window 18” high and 4” wide. The outside hallway is set up so that there is a concrete floor to ceiling divider so that prisoners cannot see on another. Human contact is severely restricted. There are no real activities. ”recreation” is a misnomer because it consists of being taken to the end of the tier and place in a dog kennel-type cage that has slit windows open to outside air. There is no real “recreation.” Even though they are allowed to have a tv , radio and fan (if they own them or can afford them) the 24 hour lock down, day after day, month after month, year after year is toxic and emotionally and mentally corrosive. The only other property allowed is legal documents, six books(which includes any religious texts) a deck of cards, very limited canteen items and stamped envelopes and paper. They allowed only a pen insert-the inner ink tube-but nothing to cover it, i.e., not the actual pen.
Many guards are also abusive and bullying, both physically and verbally. There are literally Dozens of ways guards can and do harass and retaliate against prisoners such as “losing “ their mail (incoming and out going) , tamper with their food, tear apart their cell and scatter and mix up legal documents, steal and destroy legal documents; falsely accuse the prisoners of disciplinary infractions, refuse medications, etc. In addition, guards are allowed to summarily impose “restrictions.” For example, if a prisoners retained a sugar packet from his meal tray and a guard sees it or finds it he can impose a “meal restriction” of a bag meal or nutra loaf (also know as seg loaf ) for at least five days In addition to writing the prisoners a conduct report for which he automatically receives more disciplinary sanctions. There are also serious psychological consequences of such harsh and long stays in AC not the least of which is intense and profound depression. As a result the prisoner often develops a deep sense of hate, resentment and bitterness that can stand in the way of any rehabilitation or progress.
While DOC 308 requires a “review”of AC placement every six (6) months, the review is an even bigger farce than the original placement “hearing”. In my case, as in most is not all, they just recycle their original “incidents” and continue the placement. Waupun has a large number of men on AC, several who are seriously mentally ill. Even though the DOC has expressed a desire and intent to reduce the use of segregated statuses, it cannot be seen here at WCI.
As for myself, it is likely I will be on AC for several years. Waupun Correctional is a culture, force and law unto itself like no other prison in Wisconsin and I very much doubt that there will be any significant changes, particularly where AC placements are concerned.