On March 26, 2019, 9 people at Racine and Columbia Correctional Institutions in the Wisconsin prison system began a hunger strike against solitary confinement.
Cordiaral West #445074 CCI
Rory Kuenzi #484610 CCI
Donelle Jones #426032 CCI
Nathan Malcore #626042 RCI
Bryan Hudson #202442 RCI
Miguel Sanchez #640443 RCI
Cesar De Leon #322800 RCI
David Greenwood #363177 RCI
Aarron Petersen #569397 RCI
These are their demands, mailed to the Milwaukee Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) on 2/6/19:
“We are prisoners of law in the State of Wisconsin. We hereby commit myself out of own free will to a hunger strike initiating on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 aimed at directly petitioning Governor Tony Evers to make good on his campaign promise to reform the state’s solitary confinement practice. A move the Governor can make unilaterally. A collected list of suggested reforms is enclosed with this statement.
1. Complete abolishment of Solitary confinement for Juvenile Facilities.
2. Reduce solitary confinement for the DOC/DAI (Division of Adult Institutions), with the goal of eventually ending the practice:
There are two forms of solitary confinement status. This is commonly known as Disciplinary Segregation and Administrative Confinement (2). We petition a reduction to solitary confinement for the State’s DOC/DAI by eliminating loopholes that permit prison officials use “enhancer factors” to issue lengthening sentences beyond the maximum base for disciplinary infractions. And, by placing “mandatory caps” on the use of administrative confinement.
(a) In June 2015 WI DOC administrators implemented a DAI policy for Disciplinary Guidelines, that works similar to a regulation code for the (Discipline) CH. DOC. 303. Administrative rules. The DAI policy #303.00.04, in theory, regulated the maximum base penalties for major infractions to 90 days, “but” these may be consider in lengthening behold the maximum base (up to 360 days) due to enhancer factors listed in Section XI. The only regulation preceding involves the Deputy Warden reviewing any discipline resulting in a deposition greater than 120 days, prior to a deposition given to the prisoner (Section VII,F).
We are petitioning a change to the (Discipline) CH.DOC.303.ADM.Rules Disciplinary guidelines base for major infractions to 90 days max period! This will stop prison officials continuing to exploit the DAI policy enhancer factors. Also, by changing the CH.DOC.303.ADM. rules rather than the DAI policy we eliminate the problem, since ADM rules supersede DAI policies.
(b) As it currently stands prisoners in administrative statue may be kept in solitary confinement indefinitely! We petition for a six month cap on the use of Administrative Confinement (AC) for non-violent cases and a one (1) year max for prisoners presenting a substantial risk of serious harm to another person as exhibited by resent homicidal, assaultive and other repetitive violent behavior. The WI DOC shall also use alternative solutions to safeguard the mental and physical health of the prisoner from the harmful effect of long-term seclusion, including use of programming, or a prisoner exchange to out-of-state DOC system willing to work with the prisoner to transition him into general population.
And, the AC procedures shall be changed for prisoners on AC status, in segregation, pending conduct report (CRs), shall be considered time served for disciplinary penalty purposes.
(c) We petition that any days spend under Temporary Lock Up (TLU) status, in segregation, pending conduct report (CRs), shall be considered time served for disciplinary penalty purposes.
(d) Currently, prisoners in solitary confinement are permitted to come out of their cells for a minimum of four(4) hours per week. We petition that prisoners in solitary confinement shall receive a minimum of two(2) hours of daily out of cell leisure time.
(e) Studies have shown that the mental health of prison officials working in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time can deteriorate as much as that of prisoners confined within it. Many of those prison officials also become extremely predatory towards prisoners. We petition that no correctional officer shall work in solitary confinement for four(4) months in a twelve(12) month period.”
To write to the hunger strikers, use the following address:
Name DOC Number
Racine Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 900
Sturtevant, WI 53177-0900
Name DOC Number
Columbia Correctional Institution
PO Box 900
Portage WI 53901
An injury to one is an injury to all.
Conditions in the Wisconsin prison system need to change.