Fox Lake Correctional Institution is a medium security men’s prison that opened in 1962. It’s run by the State of
Wisconsin and can house about 1300 prisoners.
There have been many major problems at the prison over the last few years. In 2014 a
corrections officer named Thomas J. Lukas was fired for sexually harassing one of the inmates
and pulling another inmate’s pants down. Lukas had worked at the prison for 16 years and it’s
unlikely he just started doing that kind of thing spontaneously after working there for over a
decade. Lukas wasn’t charged with sexual assault until 2016 and the Wisconsin Center for
Investigative Journalism sued the Department of Corrections in January 2015 because they
were refusing to release records related to Lukas being fired. Lukas is scheduled to be
arraigned on January 24th.
In May 2016 another officer, Alex Andre Wouts, was also charged with sexual assault – he was
charged with assaulting 3 different inmates but according to one of the victims Wouts had been
having oral sex with inmates for about 10 years.
In September 2016, a prison nurse named Jennifer Stehling was charged with sexual assaulting
an inmate at Fox Lake. She is also charged with bringing the inmate contraband and is set to be
arraigned on January 18th.
Beside the sexual harassment scandals, Fox Lake also has issues with providing inmates with
the basic things they need to live. In April 2016 there was a report that the water at both Fox
Lake and Waupun was contaminated, that the tap water at Fox Lake is yellow brown and has
sediment in it, making it totally undrinkable. The water was originally found to be contaminated
in 2014 but those reports were either ignored or didn’t make it to officials, and multiple water
samples going back to 2008 have shown that the water there is contaminated. There is bottled
water available, but prisoners must buy it and many can’t afford to. Inmates have had symptoms
similar to those seen in Flint, Michigan.
When searching for Fox Lake’s annual report, Google gives links to their annual reports from
2015 and 2016 but when you try to access the reports it says the site can’t be reached, possibly
another way that the Department of Corrections is trying to keep people in the dark about what
conditions at Fox Lake are like.