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ROC Wisconsin

Wisconsin DOC Force Feeding Prisoners in Solitary Confinement
On June 10 Wisconsin prisoners held in long term solitary confinement at Waupun Correctional Institution started a “Food Refusal Campaign” in an effort to bring the horror of this practice to the public’s attention and end this torturous practice. Solitary confinement [also called Administrative Confinement or A.C.] for more than 15 days has been deemed “torture” by the United Nations, but WI Department of Corrections [DOC] has held many prisoners in isolation for decades. 

As of June 24 “We have confirmed at least two of the perhaps dozens of prisoners who have been refusing food since the week of June 10th are being force fed by WI DOC officials. Using a practice which has been condemned by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Red Cross as a form of torture and “never ethically acceptable,” Wisconsin DOC personnel have been forcing a feeding tube through the nose and down the throat of their restrained and struggling captives three times a day since last weekend.” (Support Prisoner Resistance)

What you can do: Call the Department of Corrections [DOC] Director Jon Litscher at 608-240-5000 or docweb@wi.gov and Governor Scott Walker at (608) 266-1212 or govgeneral@wisconsin.gov. You should simply demand that the DOC meet and negotiate with the prisoners refusing food. You will likely be referred to Tristan Cook, and are welcome to contact him as well at 608-240-5060 or docpublicinformationoffice@wisconsin.gov. Writing letters to the editor of newspapers, or contacting non-profit and human rights organizations are also helpful ways to support.


Dying to Live - The Silent Abuse in WI Prisons

On June 10th Wisconsin prisoners held in long term Solitary confinement at Waupun Correctional Institution will start a "Food Refusal Campaign." The wish is to bring the horror of Administrative Confinement (AC) to the public's Attention and end this torturous practice. Solitary confinement for more than 15 days has been deemed "torture" by the United Nations but in Wisconsin the DOC has held many prisoners in isolation for decades. As the debate and outrage grows nationwide, join us in support of and prayer for these prisoners who are making a courageous sacrifice to Wake Us Up.
Madison Rally: 1 pm. Fri June 10 at the Capital Building. Contact: 262-443-7831 Sophiaorganizer1@gmail.com 
Milwaukee Rally: Noon, Saturday June 11 at the County Courthouse. Contact:414-379-2374 argentum111@me.com 

Both events will have a life-sized replica of the tiny cell these prisoners spend years in. There will be families of AC prisoners speaking as well as activists, and legislators. ALL are welcome and needed. 


ROC Wisconsin Progress - Governor Signs Bill for Increase in TAD Funding

On April 26, Governor Walker signed into law a bill that will increase funding for TAD (Treatment Alternatives and Diversions) by an additional $2 million per year! TAD, a program that grants state money to counties for treatment alternatives to jail and prison, has been in place since 2007. It originally set aside $1 million per year for the program. Four years ago, a WISDOM-led movement led to the expansion of TAD to $4 million per year. Today’s increase will bring the budget to $6 million each year.

WISDOM’s 2012 Health Impact Assessment regarding TAD showed that each $1 million spent on TAD each year keeps 40-50 people out of state prisons, and 300-400 out of county jails and saves taxpayers $1.96 million in incarceration and other costs.

Please thank your state legislators for this $2 million increase in TAD funding. It is a step in the right direction. Ask them to take the next step next year with another expansion, this time aimed at the communities that need it most. You can find your legislators here. 

Why Mass Incarceration Doesn’t Pay New York Times Opinion April 21, 2016


Wisconsin Council on Children and Families – Incarceration and Children

According to the new KIDS COUNT® policy report, A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities, 88,000 children living in Wisconsin have experienced the separation of a parent who served time in jail or prison. Nationally, more than 5 million children have a parent that has been incarcerated. The effects of incarceration, the report says, can have as much impact on children’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence. Read the Report

President Obama Announced Changes to the Federal Prison System

On January 25 Obama announced changes to the federal prison system that include banning solitary confinement for juvenile offenders and for prisoners who have committed low-level infractions, calling the practice overused and potentially devastating. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Obama invoked the case of Kalief Browder, a young man who spent nearly two years in solitary confinement after he was thrown in jail in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack when he was 16.  Read article here 

U.S. Bishops Support Sentencing Reform 
Read the Bishop’s letter to members of the Congressional Judiciary Committee here. 

Restoring Our Communities: Beyond 11x15 – ROC Wisconsin on Nov 3 

JOIN US TO KICK OFF OUR NEW CAMPAIGN! On Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Avenue, MADISON. The day includes lunch. There is no charge; donations to defray costs are encouraged. Register with your local affiliate organization or email us, wisdomforjustice@gmail.com , to make sure we have enough materials and bus transportation to the Department of Corrections. The ROC Wisconsin kick-off will include a prayer service to remember all those caught up in the system, a press conference, legislative visits, informational presentations, a trip to the Department of Corrections, and a chance to meet with others who share your concerns. 

As 2015 draws to a close, we renew our commitment to end mass incarceration in Wisconsin. ROC Wisconsin will continue to demand all the reforms that were lifted up by the 11x15 Campaign to keep people out of prison, to treat prisoners more humanely and fairly, and to ensure those returning from prison have a chance to succeed.

ROC Wisconsin’s four principal aims:
• For Wisconsin to invest in the programs and strategies that will end the racial and economic disparities that fuel mass incarceration;
• For Wisconsin to reduce its prison population to 11,000, and to reduce the number of people on extended supervision;
• For Wisconsinites to view people who have been convicted of a crime as human beings, members of families, and assets to the community;
• For formerly-incarcerated people to be restored to full participation in our communities, our economy and our civic life.

Please RSVP ASAP through any WISDOM local organization or email us at wisdomforjustice@gmail.com For more information: David Liners at 414-736-2099, or david.liners1@gmail.com

11X15 – A Breakthrough for Prison Reform?

On July 1 Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent out the statement below in his newsletter to constituents. ACTION: If you are a constituent of Rep. Sensenbrenner, please take a moment to send him a note of support and thanks for his work on federal criminal justice reform. Ask him to use his influence with state of Wisconsin senators and representatives to do the same for the state of WI. Contrary to his comment about Wisconsin, we have not been a leader in criminal justice system reform. Email Rep Sensenbrenner here. 

From Rep. Sensenbrenner’s July 1 Newsletter

A Monumental Step Forward for Criminal Justice Reform
As we celebrate Independence Day, we are reminded of the values our nation’s founders fought tirelessly to safeguard: individual liberty, equal justice under the law and limited government. 

After leading the House Judiciary Committee’s Over-Criminalization Task Force for a year and a half, I have seen firsthand how these most basic principles of freedom and fairness have fallen by the wayside in our criminal justice system. Our jails are overcrowded, our criminal code is convoluted and our taxpayer dollars are being wasted. 

The United States is home to just five percent of the world’s population, but holds 25 percent of the world’s prison population. From 1980 to 2013, the number of incarcerated offenders in federal prisons skyrocketed from 24,000 to more than 215,000. Currently, the federal prison system consumes more than 25 percent of the entire Department of Justice budget.

Despite this dramatic rise in incarceration rates, crime rates have remained stagnant. And even with the startling increase in prison spending, more than 40 percent of released offenders return to prison within three years of their release—proving yet again that big government does not mean better government. Something must be done, not just from a fiscal perspective, but a moral perspective.

Read the full statement here. 

New WISDOM Video that documents the benefits of Treatment Alternatives and Diversions over incarceration.