Prairie Du Chien: “I can pass on some useful information…”

Excerpt from letter sent 5/22/2019 by someone incarcerated at Prairie Du Chien Correctional Institution:

“Thanks a lot for all your positive help looking towards the future of life inside.

I have several years yet with two decades behind.

Being housed at PDCI for the past 4½ years, I can pass on some useful information to those that are on their way here. Info. I wish I had before I got sent here.

First of all, being a medium/minimum prison means that minimums are housed basically as mediums as we’re all housed & celled together on 56 man units of which there are eight units, two per floor, units seven and eight are the top floor. Day rooms are small, 3 four man tables 14 plastic chairs for TV viewing. One micro-wave and sink. Five phones and an ice dispenser that holds two 5 gal. buckets of ice. If you like ice, especially on hot summer days and nights this isn’t the place for you. The one kiosk rotates between the two  units on each floor. Bathrooms include a four man steel sink, (2) urinals, (2) toilets, (2) cameras plus, separate shower room. Showers open at 8am and close anytime the day room closes, (midnight on Fri & Sat.) Day room quiet time is Su.–Th. 10pm to 11pm and is for art or reading only; no microwave or ice allowed. The four man cells are decent size. Be warned that some of you WILL need to have at least (2) power strips due to the outlet placement being six feet away from your TV stand. A fan is a must have! Cell windows are huge and 18″ beyond a steel screen covering the whole wall and windows only open 6″ max. which allows the sun to super heat the cell. Each of the eight units have an eight man cell, (dbl. size cell with four bunk beds.) On unit one the eight man cell is used as intake; rarely are there more than eight on the intake bus. Rarely do more than four inmates leave here on that bus. PRC here is brutal if you have conduct issues. Intakes arrive around noon on Mondays. They get  property the next day and are usually moved to an eight man cell somewhere by the week end. Inmates in the eight man cells get rotated out to four man cells on that unit once a bunk opens. Unit five is AODA, unit eight is ERP (139 day course.) Unit two is the WAGS unit, four of the cells are used to house a rescue dog with four volunteer handlers. Another cell is used for four reserve handlers. Once a dog graduates (90 days) it gets replaced by a new dog. They also have a barracks style living unit in the basement where the full time 3 & 4 rate workers are housed. All the full time 5 rates are housed in a separate smaller unit of 20 inmates. This unit is half of the RHU building that contains the institutions ONLY [“wet”] two man cells. Each cell has been converted for general population living with a smallish day room, shower and laundry. Inmates housed there are lead cooks, lead baker, lead seg. swamper, medical and seven man Project crew, (must be cleared by security but don’t need to be comm. cust.) The Project crew pays $1 hr. for outside the fence work (mon.-thur.) and 50¢ when not working. There are three part time Project crew spots that make a 3 rate @ 75 hrs. Prison jobs include part time food service, start at a one rate and top out at a two unless you get to a lead or assistant lead position. Chow hall meals start at 6am, 11am & 4pm. There are two excellent cook-outs per year. Jobs are posted often. There’s a seven man yard crew, five man garden crew, three man compost crew and two man recycle crew. There are two small maintenance crews, one for repairs and grass cutting outside the fence and another for institution repairs inside the fence. Vocational (waiting list) includes a building maintenance course, a masonry course (both offer 6/12 m.) and MS 7 Office course. Chapel library has loads of DVDs to watch daily. There is no actual hobby dept. Library has no inter-loan book program. Jeans can only be worn on the unit, court yard or at rec. (both are 3X a day.)  You can pay and go out to get your temps test but there’s no road test, and your temps. will expire in 12 months. Fund raisers come from DQ, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s & Subway every other month. Any kind of fish product is NOT allowed here. Radio incls. a couple rock, pop, cw and NPR stations (all spotty.) TV includes WI & IA channels for ABC, CBS, CW, My and PBS. Fox and NBC are IA only. Sub chans. incl. Decades, Comet, Get, Grit, Ct. Justice, Antenna, Me, Laugh, Start, H&I, Ion, WI, World, PBS Kids & Create; Plus, one audio only chan. The institution channel has no sound, no clock, chow menu and no recreation schedule. Each unit has its own washer and dryer for any kind of clothes incl. sheets. The cost is 70¢ per load and you supply the detergent. You need to purchase laundry tokens via disbursement, only two sets 1.40 or four sets 2.80 at a time. Canteen is currently (May) every week, order on Thur. and pick it up the following Wed. during chow at noon or four o’clock.

Inmate mail: PO Box 9900 53821″