We have heard reports that some of the incarcerated people at Columbia Correctional Institution have been without heat for over 5 days. They have not been told anything about when heat will be fixed or what is going on. The men are wearing coats and hats 24 hours a day.
There are a few quick things people can do in response:
Call the Warden of Columbia Correctional today, at 920-948-7143. Sample script “I have heard that prisoners at your facility do not have heat and have been without heat for over 5 days. This is horrifying. you need to fix this immediate. Keeping people in freezing conditions is torture. When will heat be restored to all incarcerated people at Columbia?”
Email the Warden at Susan.Novak@wisconsin.gov same sample script as above
Open Records Request
In the past, there’s been some indications that doing open record requests on problems at a facility may help pressure prisons into making changes, since they know that there is outside attention, gathering of more information and not fixing problems will make them look worse. Having multiple people doing this may add to the impact.
To participate in this, email DOCPublicRecords@wisconsin.gov
Sample script: “I’m making an open records request for all internal documents inside Columbia Correctional Institution that relate to lack of heat at the facility in December 2018. I want a record of all emails sent or received by Warden Novak between 12/1/18 and 12/11/18 that include the phrase “heat” or “heating” in them, and any other relevant documents about this situation. ”
If you do this they’ll send a confirmation email that they’ve received the request, and should contact you within several weeks with the record, request for more information, or statement that no such records exist. If you have questions on follow, you can contact us.
If you engage in any of these actions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you did this, so we can track overall numbers and impact.