8/2: E-mail Zap to Fight Toxic Regulations at Columbia Correctional

It is important that we keep up the pressure against the toxic situation at Columbia Correctional Institution near Portage, Wisconsin. Inside members of IWOC are already engaged in significant organizing and resistance on the inside. The warden is retiring soon, and Deputy Warden Kalen Ruck has disregarded emails and phone calls we’ve made to her so far, while she’s launched a campaign to run for president of the Wisconsin Correctional Association. It’s time we do an email blast against the WCA, to make this avenue less convenient for Ruck and keep up the pressure.

We have recently obtained emails through an open records request that give insight into how the DOC handles these kind of actions as well as gives more info into the toxic situation at Columbia. More about the open records request here.

How to address your email:

*Send to: thelenconsultants@gmail.com [Roy Thelen, president of WCA]
*CC amanda.derks@wisconsin.gov [Amanda Derks, corresponding secretary]
*CC Kalen.Ruck@wisconsin.gov [Kalen Ruck, main target]
*BCC us at iwoc.milwaukee@gmail.com [help us track total amount of emails]

If you have any questions about this email blast you can contact someone at the iwoc email, as well as forward any responses if you receive them. If you are interested in more information on the situation at Columbia and resistance they’ve already done, you can read statements by people inside here

How to word your email:

Here is a suggested sample script that you can copy and paste into your message. Feel free to add personal statements to this, as it makes the impact of the email stronger, including ending by signing your name if you wish.

Subject line: Concern about Kalen Ruck’s role at Columbia Correctional Institution
I’m writing to you out of concern with Kalen Ruck, Deputy Warden at Columbia, treasurer of WCA and candidate for president-elect of WCA. Ruck is responsible for overseeing a number of arbitrary and destructive regulations at Columbia Correctional Institution, and she has been extremely evasive in dealing with public outcry about these conditions. Ruck has evaded phone calls, and when emailed has used the DOC Communications Director to write an inadequate response rather than herself drafting response to concern about conditions in Columbia. I hope that you can use your communication with Ruck to help her focus on changing toxic conditions and addressing public concerns.

The problems of changed regulations at Columbia have made an already difficult and charged environment worse. One prisoner at Columbia described the impact of existing regulations as follows: “They keep changing them all the time and we either don’t know them or the COs don’t know them and implement their own and then write you up for it.” Another said on the policies: “They are exceedingly dangerous and cause prisoners to be driven insane and put everyone at risk.”

I am concerned with these specific policies:
(8.2)(E) Conduct reports for minor infractions.
(26)(D) Psychological evaluations are conducted only at the request of DOC staff.
(25.6)(C)(2) Several months wait for routine dental appointments or teeth cleanings.
(9.1)(C) Braids are not permitted on trips.
(43.3) Inmates are not allowed to have in their possession any written/printed material that
details fantasy/role playing games and activities.
(43.1) Prohibition of petitions by prisoners
(10.5)(B) Property confiscated as contraband if stored in vacant bunks.
(21.1)(B) Institution does not provide writing paper.

These policies seem unnecessary, and work against the stated goals of Columbia to “provide assistance to individuals under our supervision to enhance their successful reintegration within the Community.”

I have also heard reports of enforcement of rules not based on prison policies, including restrictions on cafeteria seating and guards rather than medical staff dispensing medication, which goes against sections 12 and 18.5 respectively of Columbia’s code.

Thank you for taking the time to help with this email blast.