Freedom’s Cause #25 – September 27, 2020


As of Friday, September 25, the count of active positive cases among incarcerated persons stands at 184 (up from 180 two weeks ago). 1,947 persons are in quarantine (down from 2,854), and 393 are in isolation (up from 231). Active positive cases have been reported in KMCI (80), DCI (57), OSCI (18), GBCI (14), RCI (6), Gordon CC (5), NLCI (3), and CCI (1, but see below). Among staff members, there are 75 active cases (up from 26). The total number of staff cases has risen from 244 to 338. (Source: DOC official site)


From Richard Blackwater of ‘Free Riders Press’:  ‘As of this morning (9/24/20), CCI has been on a full lockdown because of confirmed cases of Covid 19 contracted by both staff and inmates working in the prison kitchen. All max inmates previously working in the kitchen have been quarantined. All non-security kitchen staff have been suspended, pending testing and appropriate quarantine. There has been an unconfirmed report of an inmate death due to complications of Covid 19. The barracks at CCI is still a crowded, open environment, with no ability to social distance or take reasonable precautions. With a max occupancy of 150 inmates (75 per side), approximately 1200 square feet of living space, and bunk beds placed 2 1/2 ft apart, the CCI Barracks could truly become a “Covid Coffin”! Yet the Minimum Community Custody inmates housed there are now pressed into service as the new cooks and kitchen workers in the very kitchen where the “Covid Breach” occurred.’ 


Alan Kaiser at OSCI sent us the following: ‘If incarcerated at OSCI and you feel as though 5 phone calls is insufficient, please have your people call the prison and push for change!!! We are the only institution in the state of Wisconsin that has a 5 phone call limit per week! We need to stand together. This cannot be done if there are only a couple people calling. Let’s tackle this together! Maybe even have your people call Kevin Carr and make him aware of the problem.’ 

And speaking of phones, this has come in from WCI: ‘On Wednesday evening phones in the north side of institution were not issued and this set off a chain of individuals threatening self harm. Approximately ten (10) individuals were asking for placement in OBS (observation). Those ten individuals will be issued conduct reports for Group Resistance.’


From a contact in RCI: ‘Would you please ask if anyone in Wisconsin knows who to contact and how to do an “International Compact” (Not interstate compact)? Both my parents were born in England and married at the time of my birth. Therefore, under the British Nationality act 1981, I am a British Citizen by descent. My Dad and Granny live there, my brother also has dual citizenship and now lives over there. So I am looking into finding a way to transfer my 5 years of E.S. to the United Kingdom or England to be with my family. I have nothing left here in America.’


Member Tony Justich (OSCI) reports that DOC has apparently directed its medical staff not to support requests for early release for COVID. He writes: ‘I had a chronic care visit on 8/25 with Dr. M. around 3pm for a Chronic Care Visit according to the Progress note. I asked the Doctor about getting something in writing about my risk from COVID-19. He assumed I was talking about Compassionate Release and told me that Madison had directed all medical providers not to issue affidavits or letters supporting CR unless the patient’s underlying conditions were severe enough on their own, without consideration of COVID-19, to warrant CR. He informed me that my underlying conditions were not severe enough for me to qualify. I then explained that I was doing a SM and my judge indicated that I would need something specific to me from a medical provider about my level of risk from the virus. I then asked him if he could make an entry on the record that about my personal level of risk. He agreed to make the entry.The relevant entry by the Doctor reads: “He asked me to put something in writing regarding his risk should he contract COVID-19. Given his asthma, hypertension and extreme obesity, it would be fair to say that he would be at increased risk for adverse outcomes, including possibility of death, should he contract this infection.” That’s pretty much it. He told me verbally but it sounded like the medical providers had received a memo or email from Madison/Bureau of Health Services. Hope this helps to get the ball rolling.’


Milwaukee IWOC members Ron Schroeder and Bob Thibault were interviewed by Marshall ‘Eddie’ Conway for his program, ‘Rattling the Bars’, on the Real News Network. They talked about the history of mass incarceration in Wisconsin, recent events in Kenosha (where a DOC building was burned down), and the work of IWOC. Schroeder said, ‘What happened in Kenosha is a culmination, is a result of years and years of oppression and of police officers shooting young unarmed black men….Make no mistake, Eddie: Neither Bob, nor I nor IWOC condone violence of any sort, but we certainly reject violence and abuse of authority, any type of excessive violence towards anyone, especially young unarmed people.’ Thibault added, ‘One of the biggest things I see IWOC doing is creating a voice outside, making people aware, helping families and…community organizations bring pressure with the administration…. Being a voice for the people who don’t have it is probably the biggest thing we do.’


An  update from ‘The Struggle’: First, thanks to everyone who requested/ friend TS. 2nd, we are working with The community, IWOC, Expo, and Wisdom to spread public awareness. I myself am a IWW/IWOC member and stand by its core. And as bad as it has gotten inside these walls, change is coming, people are fighting and collectively strategizing ways to change the oppressive and undermining culture within. We hold the power to change. Do not stop fighting. We are more than just our mistakes. This fight for change is a body, with many parts.The Struggle’s part is to build public awareness and force change by attempting to apply pressure to reform.TIS. But please ,don’t forget that this is a 2 part approach—

(1) by your emails to This is were we make your voice heard. 

(2) Via .

Our #(2) is the pressure. Via #2. This is how we are going to circulate an online petition for reform/end TIS. But it’s very critical that we build that following to get the # needed. So please, don’t just focus on the email aspect, but–equally important–get your family, friends, spouse, religious figure, any, and everyone that will follow… Stay strong, be safe, and never, never give up. Your life matters.


(Sept. 25) The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors has adopted a proposal that calls for Gov. Tony Evers to release some inmates from Wisconsin prisons, in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Supervisor Sequanna Taylor’s proposal, which passed 15-2 in the Board, asks Evers to parole or commute inmates’ sentences subject to “indeterminant sentencing” before Dec. 31, 1999. The supervisor argues these inmates may have served sentences longer than courts intended. But the inmates must still meet the following criteria, according to the proposal (listed verbatim): -Individuals at greatest risk of severe or fatal COVID-19 complications, including the elderly, those who are immuno-compromised, and those with chronic health conditions; -Those held in the Division of Adult Institutions due to technical rule violations (crimeless revocation) who have less than one year remaining in their revocation sentence; -Persons who are scheduled for release within six to nine months of this resolution’s passage. Supervisor Taylor says it still remains unclear how many inmates have been released from state prisons, though the Wisconsin Department of Correction has released around 1,400 inmates from jails due to COVID-19. (Source: WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee)

(September 17) After nearly flattening for about three months, positive coronavirus tests in Wisconsin prisons are back on the rise at rates worse than ever….Corrections spokesman John Beard said ‘approximately 10’ inmates have been hospitalized since the onset of the pandemic, noting some inmates may have tested positive but been hospitalized for other conditions. Beard would not say whether any inmates who tested positive have died, saying the department does not determine the cause of death for inmates who die. The Journal Sentinel has requested records related to any inmate deaths. (Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

(September 18) At least five cases of H-pylori infections have been reported at the Shakopee women’s facility in Minnesota. This infection is most common in areas without access to clean drinking water, and can result in peptic ulcers, abdominal pain, and stomach cancer. Twin-Cities IWOC called for a phone zap targeting Commissioner Paul Schnell and Warden Kathy Halverson. (Source: Twin-Cities IWOC)

(September 26) A man from Louisiana, who was sentenced to life in prison for stealing a pair of hedge clippers over 20 years ago, will continue to remain in prison after the state Supreme Court denied a request to review his case. Fair Wayne Bryant, a 62-year-old Black man, was convicted for stealing garden equipment in 1997, which landed him in prison for the rest of his life. Bryant, in 2000, had appealed his life sentence to be unconstitutionally excessive and his case had made its way up to the high court of the state. However, his hopes were dashed after a Louisiana Supreme Court panel, consisting of five White men and one Black woman, upheld his life sentence 5-1 last week. The only person to dissent was the Black judge on the panel, Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson. (Source: Meaaw)