Monday, January 16, 2017

Neo SLAVERY? -prisoners and their families hit hard by new DOC policies

UPDATE Below is from a  post first published in November on our "prisoner reach out" blog- it is still relevant and action is need now.:.

Click  to download  letter requesting a John Doe Investigation. 
Click to view request for John Doe Investigation on blogspot..
This letter was written by the prisoner litigator Nathaniel Lindell. We are circulating it widely and ask all those concerned who have a loved one who is effected by this, to download this letter and fill in the blanks to add your own story. For those who are not effected we ask that you write a letter expressing your concern . All this will go to the court, legislature and media. We must stop this scam. The DOC believes it is invincible and can bulldoze through any law and rules.

Any problems downloading or questions about what we are dong, contact

Late November post: Introducing the issue:
“NEO SLAVERY” encroaches on WI DOC?


"NEO SLAVERY"  and "NEW Slavery" are terms I am beginning to read more and more in WI prisoner letters. Very important and disturbing stuff.  I will link this to some of the essays and here summarize.

1) The legislature enacted Act 355 last April , which directed the WI DOC to take 50% of incoming funds from prisoners jobs for “restitution”, the amount the court ordered the prisoner to pay to victims at their sentencing. Previously to this, 25% was taken.

The DOC however, is taking 50 % from all funds coming in including moneys from families and they are doing it retroactively- taking for years served before the Act was passed.

This has a big impact on families and prisoners. They are already reeling under the weight of many fees and the wages made by the few who do work within the system are incredibly low  . Here is a chart from one of the writers of the articles below, Reo Covington:
After all deductions, this prisoner gets 6.45 for 80 hours work. Where's the rehabilitation? He asks.

As you can see the 50% is added to a myriad of fees already charged to inmates.

The two articles below do a good job of explaining the whole debacle.

Below Reo Covington talks about the total lack of interest in rehabilitation that is displayed- what is the incentive for the prisoner to do good work and take a job when after 80 hours of work he makes $6 .45
2)The second new policy is hard to understand except cynically.  Here is where the term “Neo Slavery” is most apt.

Here is one report form SCI= am gathering the others recieved and will add them
Sharks in a fishbowl?

FFUP has received many letters (and a few calls from families)that the prison is now taking ALL incoming funds for many prisoners’ accounts. They have come up in many cases with bills (restitution, legal loans etc)they say prisoners have not paid but that prisoners attest they have. Many of these “bills” are 20 plus years old and the prisoner, of course, has no receipt.  And when Families do come up with legal proof of payment, the DOC refuses to restore the funds to the Prisoners account.  One prisoner a 76 year old very ill man, is refusing to pay his 7.50 copay for health care in protest and has been refused treatment (although some advocacy seems to be working in changing that). He attests the bill was paid by his girlfriend long ago.  This man is indigent- has zero funds but occasionally will get a money order from friends. He has asked all not to send anything as the prison will take 100 percent.
         What kind of money grubbing is this? The food rations have been cut , few prisons give the free stamps out to indigent prisoners anymore and there is virtually no programming or treatment for the majority of prisoners.

      One theory I have read from inmates is that all this is preparation for privatization, something Governor Walker has long wanted. This writer has attempted advocacy within the Michigan system where many prisons are privatized. There is no access and any changes are impossible. No matter how draconian our system gets, I strongly state, privatization is not the answer.

And January 16th additions to essays: typed versions are coming


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