MILWAUKEE, WIS. – June 23, 2020 – Milwaukee IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee) receives weekly testimonies from inside Wisconsin prisons documenting death and abuse triggered by guards’ actions or inactions, which remain unreported even when other prisoners corroborate them. It is time the citizens of Wisconsin begin taking these reports seriously.
Wisconsin DOC Committee on Inmate/Youth Deaths (COIYD) hosts public meetings every 3 months. Together with Close MSDF, EXPO organizing, and Forum for Understanding Prisons, IWOCs’ representatives routinely attend these meetings, bringing the testimonies of abused prisoners and the names of those whose deaths were never acknowledged. Nothing of this gets reported, but one time someone was recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGdlf3Dh76w
Investigative journalists, where are you? Citizens of Wisconsin, where are you? What you can learn from videos is just a tip of an iceberg. We need to take testimonies from behind the bars seriously and investigate them.
Here is just a sample received over the last three weeks only.
From Stanley Correctional Institution: At approximately 10 a.m. on 6/15/20 an inmate maintenance worker Steven Blair was electrocuted while working on a faulty microwave. I [name omitted] witnessed the staff do nothing but roll inmate Blair over and slap the ground trying to wake him up. This man was completely lifeless. It took the nursing staff at least 15 minutes to get there and start chest compressions. He was finally Flight For Life’d unresponsive by 10:30a.m. This all in my opinion took way to long!, why did the correctional staff not use the defibrillator or start chest compressions/CPR immediately??? There is an ongoing joke among inmates here about how staff treats medical emergencies that goes – “there’s a medical emergency we should hurry, after we get coffee…” This is not a laughing matter and I don’t know why staff did nothing to revive Steve. I believe staff is supposed to be trained to do so? If so why didn’t they?? If not why weren’t they??? There needs to be much more regard for human life inmate or not…
From Columbia Correctional Institution: I sent you an email about my cell mate that was a victim of sexual assault by a Sgt here at CCI. The Sgt was arrested. If I put too much information this will not make it out also.
Also from Columbia Correctional Institution: [name omitted] myself along with about twenty individuals […] have got their legal documents seized by these people that they say are going to destroy it. […] This administration is attacking us for litigation and taking and destroying our legal work denying us access to the courts, of individuals like me who are assisting others with lawsuit and criminal convictions.
From New Lisbon Correctional Institution: On June 09, 2020, I was told that when we are put in isolation upon return from an out-of-prison OWO (Outside Warden Order in short form) medical appointment as part of the COVID- 19 threat, there are only three to five segregation cells which accesses electricity and we’d have to go without until we have waited to be placed there. That’s punishment for being concerned for our state of health.Press-Release-IWOC-June-23-2020
Download press release here: http://wisconsinprisonvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Press-Release-IWOC-June-23-2020.pdf