As of Friday, August 7, the count of positive active cases among incarcerated persons stands at 11 (up from 9 two weeks ago). 893 persons are in quarantine (down from 1,025), and 13 are in isolation (down from 15). Among staff members, there are 24 active cases (up from 17). The total number of staff cases has risen from 106 to 130. (Source: DOC official site)
The increase of staff cases is not surprising, since numbers have been rising statewide. According to data released on Wednesday, August 5, the 14-day per-capita total has grown in Wisconsin from 200 to 209.2 (out of every 100,000 residents). Milwaukee County, however, has seen a decrease in cases, from 400 per 100,000 to 359.8. (Source: Urban Milwaukee)
Thanks for the replies to our request for information in the last issue of FC. It does appear that the DOC has resumed transfers, although they are subject to change due to the Covid pandemic. A sample of responses: ‘RGCI Is moving people out has been for about a month now. Mostly people for ERP and bootcamp. They have at least 20 people right now preparing to leave. They have like 20 beds opening on intake right now.’ From KMCI: ’Transfers here (KMCI) are minimal. Seems like ERP or (Boot Camp…a couple just started quarantining on 7-24 for this) are the only transfers, I’ve seen, have not seen ANYONE go to Oakhill or The Burke Center. Every couple weeks we might get 10-15 from Dodge, and a trade or two with max once in a while.’ From SCI: ‘Until July 24th, transfers in and out of Stanley were few and far between. However, on the 24th, 20 prisoners were transferred into Stanley so it looks like the DOC is going back to its usual movement practices.’ From Oshkosh: ‘OSCI has been receiving inmates from Dodge, county jails, and almost every prison since last month.Tomorrow, July 28 there are 28 inmates coming in.’ RCI, FLCI, JCI, and WCI also report transfers.
From a contact in CCI: ‘Just wanted to send a response after reading the latest news letter. Over the weekend and extending into this week there have been so many inmates on observation status most for cutting themselves to the point that they must be taken to an outside hospital that the institution has been on “fog alert.” Fog alert is used at CCI any time there is a shortage of staff and the institution can’t run in a normal fashion. The self-harm at C.C.I. has been out of control for several years now. Many inmates in seg will cut just for a few hours out of their extremely hot cell, especially since the prior warden had all windows in D.S. 2 locked shut. I’m sure there are many other reasons for the cutting but that’s not my point. My point is these men need help and they are not getting it.’ What’s going on in your institution? How does the staff deal with it?
ADVICE FROM QUEZ
‘This message is in response to the psychological needs not being meet by the PSU staff @TCI. Here @ WCI we’ve been allowed to visit PSU but the security staff make it difficult to do so. What I suggest is that you all individually send PSU forms to them requesting that they make frequent wellness checks. Next, contact the PSU Manager. Then file a group complaint by law to the Secretary of DOC. You can also bypass the first two steps and file the complaint but it may look better if you’ve made an attempt to have the situation resolved on your own. It also gives the institution no easy out. Take care of yourselves as well as each other.’
MAKE THEM LIVE BY THEIR OWN RULES
Advice on strategy from JD in WCI: ‘I don’t know if some of our brothers and sisters are aware, but there is a little booklet by a leftist political activist by the name of Saul Alinsky titled, Rules for Radicals. I won’t list all of the RULES, just the ones that seem the most pertinent to our cause. #4) “Make the opposition (my change) live up to its own rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30.000 letters. You can kill them with this because nobody can possibly obey their own rules. #2) ” Never go outside of the expertise of your own people. ” It results in confusion, fear & retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. #8) “Keep the pressure on, never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. #10) “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential to the campaign.… Get the complaint # and give it to outside resources to be able to bring attention to it….There is nothing to fear from them besides the psychological warfare they know they can utilize on you. Fortify yourself, keep your emotions in check. Don’t argue with them, that’s what they expect: to label you as unreasonable. File complaints!!! Keep moving forward up the chain and keep copious notes; Who, What, Where, Why, and How. Get dates and names, send the info out to someone outside if you have the resources. Network with others, [but] stay away from the gossipers and bullshit that will give them a reason to slap you in seg. MAKE THEM LIVE BY THEIR OWN RULES! THEY MAKE YOU LIVE BY THEIRS.
From our correspondent, Jesse Anderson, in CCI: ‘Everyone doing time in WIS DOC knows the true meaning of the words, “the struggle”. This is Jesse (Taz) Anderson, the founder of this approach to seek reform by gaining public awareness and sympathy, in attempt to create bridges, form political contacts, and use facebook via fb.me/wisconsinmates. Have your family, friends, spouses, anyone you have contact with that will support your fight, friend us and join TS, because this is a different approach than “venting our hell for us to see”. We have to live it, but email@example.com is your contact to (also) vent the struggle. I will post all your thoughts to the world via that platform. This is not a substitute for IWOC; no, this is a coalition. Everyone working together. Also, the end goal is this: once the following grows to its potential, I will be circulating an online petition to end T.I.S and reform the inside. Please be mindful of what you write because we don’t want run our audience away, we need every person we can get. Stay strong and fight. So request us at (thestruggle.wisconsinsinmates@ gmail.com) and I’ll send your email to post on fb.me/wisconsinmates. Remember to have all your people get on that too—very key part—no one can read everyone’s thoughts if we can’t build the following. Jesse Anderson 394752. CCI. Fight, stay strong, and believe that we, the people have the power to change our situation, focus your attention to the cause.’
FROM THE PRESS
(August 5) The ACLU of Wisconsin today released a statement calling on Governor Evers and Secretary Carr to take whatever measures necessary to decrease the prison population as the COVID-19 pandemic flares up in rural communities, where many prisons are housed. Sean Wilson, Smart Justice Campaign Manager of the ACLU of Wisconsin, released the following statement: ‘The risk to Wisconsin’s incarcerated population from COVID-19 is not over. In fact, it is only increasing….After four months of reducing the prison population by less than 8%, the population in Wisconsin’s prisons has actually grown for the past three weeks as the system accepts new prisoners…The ACLU of Wisconsin continues to call on Governor Evers to immediately use the powers available to him under the Wisconsin Constitution to commute the sentences of individuals who are within six months of being released. System-wide testing for COVID-19 must continue and with greater frequency. Personal protective equipment and sanitizing supplies must be made available to everyone within the prisons. Wearing masks, temperature checks, and symptom monitoring should also be mandatory for all prison staff.’ (Source: Urban Milwaukee)
(July 30) Nine candidates running for two Wisconsin State Senate seats took part in a forum hosted on Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Tuesday night. Many of the candidates criticized Governor Tony Evers’ failure to follow through on his campaign promises. As Jerome Dillard, head of EXPO (EX-Incarcerated People Organizing), explained to the candidates, Evers’ first budget proposal would increase the prison population, which has barely changed since he took office in January of 2019. Another activist, Karen Julesberg, noted that Wisconsin incarcerated black men at the highest rate of any state in the country. Many of the candidates expressed similar concerns about the state of Wisconsin’s prisons. (Source: Davis Vanguard)
(August 6) So far more than 100,000 incarcerated persons have been infected with the coronavirus, and at least 802 inmates and several correctional officers have died. New Jersey’s correctional facilities have been hit particularly hard. With 29 deaths for every 100,000 inmates, they have the highest COVID-19-related death rate in the nation. In response, New Jersey has already released more than 1,000 inmates, and Gov. Phil Murphy on April 10, 2020 authorized a case-by-case review of prisoners who are at greater risk. Additionally, the state legislature is considering a bill to authorize release of about 20% of its prison population. (Source: Next City)
‘Delivered from the confines of the California penitentiary system, Black August is, at its simplest, a month of remembrance and resistance that began in in 1979. (Initially created to commemorate the slain founders of the Black Guerrilla Family: George Jackson, W.L. Nolen, and Khatari Gaulden), Black August was recognized as a time for the diasporic family to join together and honor the lives of our fallen soldiers, practice self-care and promote community and economic building. Individuals are encouraged to fast, exercise, patronize black-owned businesses, abstain from alcohol and drug usage (unless medically required), and much more. We are encouraged to educate ourselves and each other about black resistance movements that occurred in August, such as Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion, the Haitian Revolution, the March on Washington, the Watts Rebellion, and the Philadelphia MOVE Bombing. It is also a time to honor the lives of some of our greatest Freedom Fighters who were born in the month of August, like Marcus Garvey and the Jackson brothers.’ (Source: Lighthouse Squad blog on Medium, August 2017).