Oshkosh Correctional Report from Inside

Multiple reports of the mass mailing from IWW being denied by the mailroom.

Staff continue sporadic mask usage. No more disposable masks for incarcerated persons. Starting to conduct mass laundry “sweeps”. These sweeps are conducted by guards that don’t change gloves between cells despite pawing thru multiple sets of bedding.
3/2 Guards report receiving vaccines, presumably using their priority at outside vaccine sites
3/15 HSU reports that the have not received any shipment of vaccines for distribution

Still waiting for the District Court to do the initial screening. Thanks to efforts by the Community and Ron there have been 40 declarations filed from incarcerated individuals across the state. If anyone would like to tell the Court about how the DOC has handled medical, housing, and hygiene during the pandemic they can get a blank declaration form from The Community or by writing: Tony Justich #402275, Oshkosh Correctional Institution, PO Box 3310, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3310. Staff here continue to waffle between allowing me to print the blank Declarations and denying them. Regardless, I still have a supply for those wanting to speak up. It’s all just typical tactics to delay or block court access. Nothing new.

The instituon is finally selling flash drives (4GB) for legal work. The cost is $5.03. They plan on gradually phasing out the current CD-RW system that was notoriously unreliable. There is some rumor that these will eventually be allowed to be connected to the law computers (not just the typing computers) to facilitate brief writing.

The institution has gone back to the old menus. Definitely a higher calorie count and sandwiches are back to being only occasionally.

There are increasing levels of out of stock items. In addition, several items have been switched to smaller sizes without notice or price reduction (i.e. Jalapeño Cheese listed at 4oz, but 3oz are received). Also, some items received are past their expiration date (i.e. Matzo crackers received in February expiring the previous December).

The problems with the phones (cutting out, delays getting the call through, etc) continue. Places have been marked off in the units for additional phones and kiosks to be put in. Unsure of a timeline for this.

The barracks are still being converted into an honor unit. R-Bldg (wet cells) will now be used for intake and continue its quarantine role.

                    [Updated as of 12/4/20]
Format: [code] [date] [event]

   D – Date estimated, Confirmed event
   √ – Confirmed date & event
   ? – Rumor
ID Abbreviations:
   KC – Kevin Carr, DOC Secretary
   MF – Makda Fessahaye, DAI Administrator
   CJ – Cathy Jess, OSCI Warden, retired
   ET – Emil Toney, OSCI Security Director
   SC – Susan Cooper, OSCI Warden

∆∆∆          Start of Timeline for OSCI       ∆∆∆
∆∆∆ Coronavirus Pandemic, circa 2020 ∆∆∆

D 3/10 X-Bldg on lockdown, suspected cases; inmates begin being quarantined in Seg
√ 3/13 Memo of KC – claims no cases in DOC; non staff visits, religious services, volunteer programs suspended, day rooms
√ 3/16 Two free calls/wk
√ 3/19 Memo of MF – Informing of free calls
D 3/21 Puppy Parole: Majority of dogs from the Dog Program removed from the institution
? 3/21 Est. 2 dogs left in institution(rumored they’re left due to health reasons)
D 3/29 X-Bldg off lockdown
√ 4/01 Barbershop closed
√ 4/02 No handball or basketball
√ 4/06 Modified library schedule (5 period/wk: 4 hr 15 mins total) posted
√ 4/06 Confirmed cases: 2;  W-Bldg on lockdown
√ 4/08 Memo of CJ – Announced 2 Confirmed Cases; Rec yard limited to one unit at a time for 1 or 2 times a day, No Rec boxes, 2 to a table; Med pass slowed; Meals limited to 2 per table & wiped after each use; Social workers by request only; Day rooms limited movement;
D 4/08 Unit workers receive cloth masks
√ 4/10 Memo of ET – Announcing non contact pat searches
√ 4/14 Mass movement clearing out the bottom tier of a wing of R-Bldg for additional segregation (quarantine)
√ 4/15 Memo of MF about facemasks; Handout of 4 paper facemasks to gen pop (20 days worth according to the memo)
√ 4/16 Cases: 8 confirmed, 1 pending, 12 neg (from CBS News, never announced by DOC to gen pop)
D 4/17 Handout of 1st cloth facemask to gen pop
√ 4/18 Shortage of hand soap on some housing units
√ 4/20 Handout of 2nd cloth facemask; 1st stamped envelope
√ 4/23 Memo of MF – Waiving PRC requirements for geriatric/medical release (only posted at Library, never announced)
√ 4/25 Another shortage of hand soap on some housing units
? 4/26 Bad Dog Revocation: Dogs (Est 3) now in inst. returned based on ‘behavioral problems’
√ 4/27 Kiosk deposit of .50¢ werkly starts
√ 5/05 Our ’20 days’ of disposable masks expires; no replacements offered; cloth masks can only be exchanged on Fridays
D 5/15 Some school (TABE testing, Horticulture, Building Maintenance & Construction) resumes
√ 5/28 Memo of CJ informing us of mandatory testing by the National Guard for all inmates & staff for week of 5/30; also requires mandatory mask use starting May 31
√ 5/31 Inmates and staff req’d to wear masks; still sporadic among staff
√ 6/01 Mandatory mask wearing cancelled as testing gets rescheduled for the week of 6/7
√ 6/03 Inter institution transfers resume. Dodge bus full of inmates arrived today around 9am and appx 15 guys were dropped off here. All were temperature checked upon arrival by a nurse.
√ 6/07 Mandatory mask wearing begins again
√ 6/09 Nat’l Guard starts testing
√ 6/10 KC issues memo about death of George Floyd and that DOC condemns excessive force and failure to intervene to protect ppl.
√ 6/11 Nat’l Guard done testing; First results come back: 1 positive case on Middle unit (D-Bldg), Entire unit quarantined and infected individual was removed to a different Unit (possibly Seg, R-Bldg or HSU but unknown right now)
? 6/12 Testing results of 1200 back: 1 positive, 200+ recovered
√ 6/12 Kiosks/Wi-Fi goes out this afternoon
√ 6/15 Wi-Fi back on; Mandatory mask wearing ends
D 6/23 Rec boxes out on yard on limited basis (horseshoes, CornHole)
√ 7/1 Free video visits begin
D 7/6 Barbershop reopens
√ 7/10 Memo of CJ saying mask wearing will be mandatory for staff and inmates
√ 7/13 Mandatory mask wearing begins; Most of the Educational programs restart; 2-tiers of each Unit allowed in day rooms at a time
D 7/14 Breaking Barriers with Books resumes
√ 7/17 Yards times increase, 2 units out at a time in each field
√ 7/30 Dayroom/outdoor tables can now have 4 ppl at them again (not including meal times); Basketball, softball & volleyball now allowed at Outdoor Rec
D 8/01 Two disposable masks handed out
D 8/01 Heatwave (doors mandated to be closed by Madison allegedly for PREA safety)
D 8/15 Dayroom times expanded to allow 1 wing of each unit out during morning and afternoons
√ 8/18 Cloth masks on sale thru vendor
√ 8/25 Medical staff confirms that Madison has ordered medical providers not to issue Affidavits/Letters Supporting Compassionate Release unless the individuals symptoms on their own (w/o consideration of COVID-19) qualify for Compassionate Release
√ 9/14 Four individuals placed on quarantine from Open Center
√ 9/15 Two more individuals placed on quarantine from Open Ctr; Open Ctr placed on lockdown
√ 9/17 Two inmates from K-Bldg taken to quarantine; Memo from CJ acknowledging uptick of COVID-19 cases and reinstituting one unit on the Rec field at a time
√ 9/18 Three inmates from K-Bldg sent to quarantine
D 9/20 Three more units on quarantine (Close, U & P)
√ 9/21 Library, indoor rec, barber shop shut down
√ 9/22 Memo of CJ announcing unit quarantines on the 20th, she anticipates Nat’l Guard testing in the near future
√ 9/22 Announcement in morning: No off unit programming, no T4C, no unit programming for quarantine units, law library by request only, only laundry and food service on regular operations; HSED testing cancelled for quarantine units
√ 9/22 Plastic barrier installed for medication handout on units
√ 9/22 Library Memo: Law library access for non-quarantined units only with an approved court deadline only
√ 9/23 K-Bldg on quarantine
√ 9/24 Video visits suspended
D 9/24 V-Bldg on quarantine (majority of regular housing units locked down)
√ 9/24 K-Bldg disposable mask exchange (2 for 2)
√ 9/25 Procedures normalizing on housing units with unit manager protocols.
D 9/25 K-Bldg enters Phase 2 of quarantine
√ 9/28 All HSED testing cancelled
D 9/29 All units but Q-Bldg and D-Bldg are on quarantine (est. 1600+ ppl on quarantine or 80% of the population). Rumor is that Nat’l Guard testing is supposed to start tomorrow
√ 9/30 Nat’l Guard testing begins
√ 9/30 Memo of CJ – Meals to be eaten in cells
√ 10/2 At least 3 ambulances into the institution; quarantine/medical isolation on R-Bldg/Seg full; Those with positive tests remain housed on regular housing units; Only 800 tests (of 2000) have results
√ 10/2 K-Bldg: Estimated 20+ positive tests; Around 7pm apparently ran out of space for those testing positive in R-Bldg/Seg & started leaving those that tested positive on the unit; Half the bathrooms are now restricted to those with positive tests; Many servery workers testing positive; showers every other day
√ 10/3 K-Bldg: Those testing positive starting to be fed on Styrofoam trays; confirmed 26 positive cases on the unit
√ 10/3 Memo of CJ: No free movement, by officer permission only; Forms (HSU/Interview, etc) handed out 1x/day; Isolated & non isolated share the same housing unit and facilities; No kiosk, phone or laundry; issue 2 disposable masks/10 days, cloth masks disallowed; showers 2x/week, no non worker showers for the next 2 days(this means some ppl are going to go 4 days until their next shower opportunity due to the previous every other day policy);
√ 10/4 Positive tests: 317 out of 1900 results back (still waiting on some)
√ 10/5 More out to hospital around this time
? 10/8 A 26 y/o dies at the hospital due to COVID
√ 10/8 Positive tests: 330
D 10/10 Attorney calls being denied on basis of COVID operations; Maintenance daily sanitation ends
√ 10/14 Nat’l Guard testing; COVID/Overcrowding Lawsuit filed (Eastern District Court)
D 10/18 Active cases: 687, 1220 neg (appx 34% infected)
? 10/20 Another individual dies due to COVID
√ 11/4 Limited outside rec yard, appx 35 min/day, no tables, rec box, etc; partial units only
D 11/12 Nat’l Guard testing (negative only)
√ 11/24 Majority of Inst has been infected; 949 out of 1881 individuals according to the Official DOC Website
√ 11/30 Limited Law Library reopens (need court deadline); Washer/Dryers on unit reopened; Access to Property catalogs on unit restored
√ 12/02 DOC denies COVID-related document filings with the federal court; later reverses course
D 12/07 Law Library one time use w/o court deadline, deadline req’d thereafter
√ 12/07 Nat’l Guard testing of appx 900 individuals that have not tested positive in 90 days (Results: 37 positive)
√ 12/12 Outside recreation time increased to 1hr 15min, entire unit all at the same time;
√ 12/14 Memo of SC: Reduced COVID cases; Showers unrestricted; 1/2 unit at a time can use Dayroom (2 ppl/table, no food/drink/games); phones 3/week; video visits to resume soon; Law library access to resumes in blocks for each unit with pre-signup required (appx 50 mins/2wks from observation but no schedule given); photos resume (masks must be worn); attorney calls resume
√ 12/14 Memo of ET: Video visits resume 12/21
√ 12/17 Transfer bus running
√ 12/16 ERP expanded to include all substance abuse programs but w/o release entitlement.
√ 12/18 Mass flu shots offered
√ 12/21 Video visits resume

Year: 2021
√ 1/4 Nat’l Guard testing, limited to mainly those that have never tested positive but some early positives apparently retested
√ 1/08 Memo of SC: Games allowed in dayroom; outside tables reopen (2/table);  cloth masks can be worn again
√ 1/11 Per Memo of 1/8: Inst workers return to work; ice/hot water available during Dayroom times; hair braiding resumes; unit libraries reopen; 1-on-1s with chaplains resume
√ 1/12 Per Memo of 1/8: Diabetic checks/med pass @ HSU
√ 2/01 Classes/programs resume limited to 10 ppl @ a time; barbershop as avail
√ 2/01 Dayrooms reopen to almost normal hours, 4 to a table, etc. Still eating in cells
D 2/05 Property and Hobby reopen; Disposable masks no longer being handed out; Active Cases: 0, COVID Death Total: 4.
√ 2/22 Rec fields open for 2 units at a time
√ 2/25 Inst denies printing blank Declaration for COVID lawsuit
√ 3/02 Guards receiving vaccines, presumably this is utilizing the priority at outside vaccine sites
√ 3/11 Tablets banned from Dayroom areas except when syncing to the kiosk
√ 3/15 HSU Reports that no vaccines have been shipped here.