Racine: “People went without mental health meds for two weeks at a time…” [3/12/18]

Information on conditions at Racine Correctional, obtained through a 3/12/18 interview with a person formerly incarcerated there:

“When I was in the Dane unit they had hot water out for a month, people had to take cold showers. It was unsanitary, [June/July 2017]  And then again, in six month period, had heat out again. [September 2017] People there said it had happened a year prior. If it weren’t for the COs treating people the way they do it wouldn’t be that bad, educational stuff is decent. The mindset they’re in makes it harder. There’s these young COs.”

Most people aren’t in the mindset of wanting to change things. Older prisoners talk about how things used to be better.  Other states you have better potential for education and rehabilitation. In RCI they don’t have enough teachers to allow for their education.

The guard Mrs Thompson, she was new, would harass people, would play games with count, made people stand out there. Doing rap music at CO desk, laughing, giggling. They have a rulebook that say when people take medications, she denied me medication, said I was late. I was in ERP program, if I’d argued with her could have gotten ticket, lost place in program. There were real issues with dispensing medication, people went without mental health meds for two weeks at a time. In rulebook they say between 8 and 9, when you go up there with rulebook to argue it you’ll get in trouble. Tried to get whiteshirt a couple of times, they said go away, we’re not calling a whiteshirt.”

Mrs. Etinger at RCI was crazy (Dane unit, program supervisor, facilitator), no one wanted to do program with her. She would make her power known, ‘I can get you kicked off the program.’ One person did roleplay of talking on the phone, she had his cell searched for phone afterwords.”

Rulebook says that general population cannot be housed in the same area with us, minimum security at ERP. We were all going home, with people who had 20 years, people could extort them. They know you could get ticket and lose ERP program for getting in fight. Guards and facilitators said we could get kicked out of the ERP program if we socialized with GP people, if we used the basketball court, if we used the microwave.

Mostly everyone hated the morning crew, they wouldn’t do anything, people knew not to go up to them and ask them for anything.

Everyone was writing kites, grievance slips, but it doesn’t change anything.

I knew one person, the CO said he was making hooch, it wasn’t, it was lemonade, tea, poured together. He was made to sign a form admitting fault. That CO does things like that.”


Conditions in the Wisconsin prison system need to change.