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 two inmates. 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.
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.
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.
Responding to a news article on rapes committed by a guard at Fox Lake Correctional Institution an inside contact responded without much surprise, noting that behavior like from guards is not uncommon. The inmate states that people are hired without proper psychological and behavioral vetting and that accusations of misconduct are often not followed up on. Behavioral issues amongst guards and abuse towards inmates tends to follow a herd mentality where abusers gravitate towards one another and their abuse is covered up by one another.
Ryan Rozak reported numerous abuses by officers at Fox Lake from opening legal mail, bad food and water, and progressively less supply of food. He noted that he had won a lawsuit about the water (no detail given) and that other inmates have been inspired to file their own suits.
An inmate wrote about the positive impact that he feels that the IWW has on his life inside Fox Lake.
An inmate writes that he is being tortured by the health services unit. He alleges that his Dr. (C.E. Larson) cancelled his surgery and changed his prognosis to good. His complaint with ICE was dismissed.
An unnamed inmate writes about some of the abuses of power by various guards and social workers. They do not do their jobs and the falsify documents. Additionally, they are treating the facility like a maximum security prison.
A letter from an inmate is complaining about the poor water quality at Fox Lake. Officers claim that the water is safe to drink but it is brown and none of them drink it. An internal memorandum confirms that the water quality was poor enough for a water main flush was needed. Hand sanitizer was allegedly distributed during thw process.
From a letter received 1/20/19 from Fox Lake Correctional: The canteen is switching to Union Supply. Inmates need better prices and availability. They are seeking IWOC assistance.