Fox Lake Reporter #4

Issue 4

4 August 2020

This issue will cover submissions we had lately, but still trying to keep it current.   If you have something to add to the future newsletters it would be most helpful.  The more ‘news from inside’ we get, the better.  The IWOC network has been growing;  the guidelines below will help us respond efficiently, especially if you plan to send in something for the next newsletter

1)  Start a NEW message for your reply

2)  We do not have access to any lawyers; individual legal support is outside of our capacity.

3)  For newsletter submissions, please put all comments or questions into one email with the  subject line “Fox Lake Reporter” 

4) Be sure to let us know if you want to be named publicly or remain anonymous, both for the newsletter or to be otherwise posted publicly (i.e. on the internet).

5)  Please let us know which prison you are writing from in every message, especially if you’ve been transferred.

-If you’ll be released within the next three months please send a new message to us with the subject line, “Release,” so that we can forward you the info and resources we have regarding reentry.

-We want to get more people involved in IWOC’s research, phone calls, etc. If you have any family/friends who may be able to help out, send a new email with subject line “Outside People,” + include in the message the person’s name and phone number/contact information.

-We’re a membership based labor union that organizes against capitalism and prison slavery. If you’d like to join up/want more info on what joining means, send a new email to us with the subject line, “Membership.”

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7/19/2020 11:15:33 PM

Here at foxlake i would like the people to know a lot of stuff wrong with flci and people to know. one the flci mailroom opens up inmate legalmail without the

Robert McBain (626191) 7/21/20  updating you on the classification specialist problem here at FoxLake.  I recently had an hr long meeting with my S.W. and we discussed multiple problems about our PRC. A lot of the problem is accountability of the position and the perceptions in which one should be doing the job. So before I begin I want anyone and everyone who’s had issues with PRC to write to Sector Chief Joy Merbach and Secretary of Corrections about there issues with the way your PRC is or was being handle. Now after much discussion there seems to be factors we can’t change and we are being held back because of it.One of these factors is the Compass test. The test was designed for being out in the public and that’s part of the problem. The other part to this is is that theirs 10 sections to this test. Now here’s the real problem. Depending on your current crime ( let’s say its high) and sentence structure ( again let’s say it high) but the rest is low. Ok pay attention its going to get real tricky now. This test is fixed because of the fact that your sentence structure and crime were high your automatically deemed high risk on your risk level. Ok so this is were it gets super tricky. Cause your history might put your Compass risk level as low. Meaning you don’t need a lot of needs or resources to reduce your recidivism in the outside world. however your Compass risk rating known as ( Inmate Risk Assessment) to the PRC board is based on incarcerated factors as sentence structure, crime or offence, and a thing called sentence track which can’t be changed but breaks down how one should be doing time. For example if you took a plea of 25 years 15 in 10 out for 2nd degree homicide and you have 4 DWI’s back almost 15 years and no other offences your Compass could say low but your Compass risk level is high do to sentence structure, and offense but your track number also being an unchangeable factor has been set to show how you should do your time without overrides. So you have 3 settings high,moderate, and low each pertaining to a classification of custody. Now using the Wis administration rules and regulations in the legal law library look up 302.11 that’s your custody classification 302.13 that’s your program assessment now lookup 302.17 for your classification procedure. Using these rules and regulations we should be able to point out what direction we can and need to be heading. I by myself can’t change anything but people won’t or can’t help us be better if they don’t know if anything is wrong so again write Sector Chief Joy Merbach  Buske’s boss in Madison and Secretary of Corrections. Just remember to keep it short, to the point,and try not to place blame. Maybe if enough people write and tell them stuff like for example I got DV but I can’t get it in this institution but my ERP covers it but I can’t go to my ERP cause of my DV need then maybe things will start to change! Well I hope I was helpful and good luck if you decide to help make a difference!


Since I arrived here at FLCI in 2016 the quality of the drinking water has seen little to no improvement.   On unit#6 where I am housed we routinely experience what has been dubbed by maintenance staff members as “Brown Water Events”, where dark muddy brown water and debris flows from the taps undrinkable for hours at a time.  As it stands its considered a good day when our faucet water is only running light yellow.

        The latest Consumer Confidence Report released in 2018 regarding the drinking water system the presence of chemicals/materials such as Arsenic, Barium, Radium, Combined Uranium, Lead and Nitrates were all present in the drinking water at significant levels.  

      While the report alleges that the level of those elements were below the maximum allowable limits, we have been given zero information regarding whether or not even at the levels found how those elements can affect/or exacerbate any pre-existing conditions that any of us may have, or after consuming those elements daily for prolonged periods of time as most of us have and will allowing them to build up in our bodies what may be the long term effects on our health.

    Honestly, ingesting Lead, Nitrates & Arsenic into our bodies daily?  Many of us feel like it is only a matter of time before we are diagnosed with some form of cancer.  Pray for us.

JOSHUA 7/26/2020

Since the pandemic panic struck the DOC has been enacting draconian policies in the guise of keeping prisoners safe, but as we all can see by what’s been reported, there is no common sense approach to many of these policies. Even now, quarantine isn’t being implemented because prisoners now wear masks when they go on outside trips. But if I’m not mistaken, COVID-19 can live on fabric or on skin and a mask isn’t very effective in protecting someone from contracting the virus. If it was, then we wouldn’t have seen all the medical professionals get sick and die this year.

We all need to keep our focus on what’s important, and that’s the fact that our very freedoms and rights are at stake. With every new policy and change that goes into effect, we lose more and more of our civil mandated rights. As it stands, I have only been allowed to attend recreation for three hours a month for over four months now. This doesn’t even begin to meet the federally required 4 hours a week. When I bring this issue up with security staff and white shirts I’m often given the same line, “you choose to work, therefore you don’t get recreation.” I have chosen to work, to be productive and follow a positive path and I’m told that as a result I no longer get to go to recreation, use exercise equipment, run or walk the track, or just get away from the chaos and seclusion that comes with living on such a small unit. Its ludicrous for them to even suggest such a thing. I have been to every single maximum security prison and one thing they all had in common was that they provided at least four hours of recreation a week for ALL the inmates, regardless if they work or not. Its interesting to wonder, why do they give us recreation and recreational equipment at all? Why create more work for themselves? Its because they are required by law and by human decency and they also know it is a release valve for the pent up frustration, anger, and hatred that bubbles just below the surface of many. I wrote to the security director. I’m still waiting for a response.


In an earlier post I mentioned a letter which I had sent to the warden here at FLCI, among other government officials, detailing the flaws in the way PRC is handled here. To this letter I have gained a response, as well as direction to move forward with this issue. Here is an excerpt from the response that I believe you may find useful if you feel that you or someone you know has been wronged by PRC and Ms. Buske here at FLCI.

“BOCM (Bureau of Offender Classification and Movement) is responsible for chairing the Review Classification hearings. BOCM staff work in the institutions but they are not employed directly by that institution. Concerns specifically about Ms. Buske should be directed to Ms. Joy Merbach, BOCM Section Chief at P.O. Box 7925, Madison, WI 53707-7925.”


The Bureau of Correctional Enterprises (formerly Badger State Industries) is going to kill the Wood Shop in Fox Lake. It is the current Superintendent, Ms. Rickerman, that is the driving force behind the closure of Waupun’s Metal Furniture and now she has put her sights on the Wood  Shop. She tells us we don’t work hard enough, we shouldn’t make real wood furniture, we should be fired for any mistake we make, She doesn’t trust anything anyone says. She doesn’t even trust her own staff or even the suppliers.. She was a truck driver before she became a supervisor and she only knows business through what she read in a self help book. Her latest fiasco is to come in with the BCE safety supervisor and take the OSHA approved dust masks because they were N95 masks. Problem is that she took them but didn’t supply an OSHA approved replacement. We are left using the institution made COVID masks that are not OSHA approved for anything.  Does anyone have any ideas? A work stoppage is not an option. Not just the trouble it would cause but she’d fire us all and close the shop. The director of BCE doesn’t do anything without consulting Ms. Rickerman first. 


      Quarantine was moved from Restricted Housing Unit 8 to D wing on unit 4. (Unit 8 is all Segregation  now.)   Of course 4D is a regular wing so it is as normal as possible. Quarantined prisoners are allowed to use the phones, microwave and shower but they aren’t allowed to hang out in the day room. They pick up their meal trays in the day room and eat in their rooms. There’s no passive rec either.  They are allowed to leave the unit to go to H.S.U. but they are required to leave their masks on.  All quarantined prisoners were in a single cell as of July 29, 2020. It remains to be seen how they deal with overflow if they have any.

    The bathroom, day room and laundry workers who maintain 4D had their pay rate raised to a 5 rate, .42¢ an hour. They all live on different wings on unit 4.  Ironically the Personal Care Worker who pushes the Wheelchair bound prisoners to the Health Services Unit does not get hazard pay and there is only one where most other units have at least 2.

    As of 6/19/20 The WDOC began transferring prisoners from other institutions to Fox Lake. That coincides with the negative test results there. The people transferred to Fox Lake from Dodge go straight to intake unit 9. They are being  quarantined prior to transfer. Transfers from Green Bay for example were being quarantined for 14 days for that reason despite the fact that those prisoners were tested before they left Green Bay. Prisoners are now being tested when quarantined which would reduce the amount of time needed to be quarantined. It took 6 days for one prisoner. 

     According to a medical transport officer they are Quarantining transfers until they receive test results. 

    The word from several sources including nurses in the Health Services Unit is that if you go out of the institution on a medical trip and are back within 24 hours and have had no contact with anyone who is not wearing a mask you will not be quarantined. The Quarantine Wing has been under capacity since then.

   Madison is only allowing institutions to schedule “emergency appointments,” at this time. I’m not sure what specifically qualifies as an emergent appointment but I am aware of two people who have life threatening issues who are scheduled for hospital trips. I’ve been told on previous occasions that H.S.U. isn’t equipped to do stitches or set bones. Prisoners are being sent on medical trips for more extensive procedures like cancer treatment, knee and hip replacement.