Wisconsin prison system revamps disciplinary rules

This comes from WisconsinWatch.org:

Wisconsin prison system revamps disciplinary rules: Changes come as concerns grow over use of solitary confinement

By: BILL LUEDERS, Dec. 10, 2014

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections is quietly preparing to make significant changes to its rules governing inmate discipline, amid heightened discomfort over the state’s use of solitary confinement.

“The disciplinary process should be used as a means to motivate the inmate to alter their negative behavior, with long-term correction of the behavior as the end goal,” wrote Cathy Jess, administrator of the DOC’s division of adult institutions, in a Sept. 25 memo to staff.

Jess’ memo, obtained by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, sheds light on the DOC’s revamping of its disciplinary code, last revised in 2001. The new code calls for speeding up the process of imposing discipline for minor offenses, while upholding the ideals of rehabilitation and fairness.

Prison officials have declined to discuss specifics and it remains unclear what changes will occur. But Jess calls the new rules, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, “an excellent opportunity to focus on making positive changes” to the state’s use of solitary confinement, which in Wisconsin is called segregation. This has been a topic of growing state and national concern.

“Long-term segregation placements have been shown to be ineffective in terms of discipline and do not serve our corrective or rehabilitative goals,” the memo states.

About 1,500 of the state’s 22,000 inmates are in segregation, locked in their cells for upwards of 23 hours a day.

Read the rest of this interesting new development here.

Wisconsin’s prison population declines

From: Wisconsin Radio Network

by Andrew Beckett on December 23, 2010

in: Crime & Courts

It’s been getting a little less crowded in Wisconsin’s prisons. Department of Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch says the number of inmates in state prisons was at about 22,000 at the end of fiscal year 2009, down nearly 1,800 over the past three years. The numbers reflect a three-percent drop in the population over the last five years.

Read the rest here.

Letter to Mr Rick Raemisch, Secretary of Wi Department of Corrections, about Steven Stewart

This letter was sent recently to the Secretary of Wisconsin Department of Corrections, to point out some new abuses and unhelpful acts by staff. We recently heard as well that Steven has another infection. Steven needs to be paroled and cared for at home, so that he can get his life back, after having been in prison for 23 years while not having carried out the crime for which he was convicted, more than 10 of which have been spent in solitary confinement.

To: Mr. Rick Raemisch, Secretary
Wisconsin Department of Corrections
3099 East Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7925
Madison, WI 53707-7925
USA

March 2nd, 2010

Dear Mr Raemisch,

My name is A.P., I am a friend of a prisoner in Wisconsin called Steven D. Stewart (DOC # 143599, held in WSPF) since at least 4 years, and I visited him last year from Holland.Mr Steven Stewart has a serious illness: MS, and many physical complaints stemming from that, as well as from being locked up in solitary confinement since many years, I mean 14 years. Mr Stewart will see the parole board again for the second time in May of this year. He is very ill and it is time that the facts are faced by the department of corrections: that he is no threat to anyone, he badly needs medical care, and he needs to be on his way out towards rehabilitation.

Instead, on Jan 31st or Feb 6th, Mr Stewart was locked in a “stripcage” for 3 hours, all his mail was taken, and now he is in another cell with no other prisoner near to have any contact with. Staff at WSPF tell him he has mail, yet they do not bring it to him.Why is Mr Stewart being treated so roughly? Why is he not being treated for his rectal prolapse? What if he dies in that cell, will you claim responsibility for his lack of medical care? What will you tell his family? Why has Mr Stewart been inundated with conduct reports ever since he spoke out against being mistreated in 2005? Surely the way Mr Stewart has been treated has nothing to do with “corrections”?

I hope that you can provide the answers to these questions I have, since I do not understand how this very ill man can be in a supermax prison for years on end with no program to help him out of there, nor any meaningful medical care. People who support Mr Stewart on the outside have for years tried to get medical care for Mr Stewart, and to get him to a more appropriate level of incarceration for someone with complex medical illness. Yet, our calls have gone unnoticed it seems. Mr Stewart still has no medical care and he is still being kept in a place where he could die at any time, because he has infections that are precarious in his situation.

Also, he receives psychological and physical harassment on a daily basis. How much can a person take? The judge did not order the state to have Mr Stewart undergo such torture on top of being incarcerated.Thank you for your time in listening to me. I hope you will ensure the safety, dignity, respect and care that Mr Steven Stewart (and all those who are being held in prisons under your supervision) is entitled to as a fellow human being.

Yours faithfully,
A. P.
Address: …The Netherlands

Cc: Steven D. Stewart, #143599
ACLU Wisconsin
Humanity for Prisoners, Michigan

Wisconsin’s Myth of Rehabilitation

This essay was originally published on the FFUP website, about 2006, but the host will cease to exist later this year, therefore we re-publish this here.

By A Wisconsin Prisoner

In recent years there has been more than ever calls for longer sentences to combat the growing fear and rise of crime or criminal elements within our neighborhoods and communities. Not only has inspiring, but veteran politicians used the tougher sentencing scheme as a platform to ignite their political careers and to perpetuate this fear an outcry from everyday citizens which cut across all ethnic lines, whose lives has been touched directly or indirectly by crime, which has resulted in the overcrowding of jails and prisons all around the state of Wisconsin. With a significance primarily focused on the predominantly larger Black or Hispanic or minority areas.

And while more and more young Black and Brown males are being incarcerated for demonstrating antisocial behaviors such as drug addictions, robberies, homicides, sexual crimes, etc., many of these poor underprivileged and under-represented class of people suffer from some form of mental affliction ranging from severe to mild mental diseases and defects. It is these outcasted members of society who can’t afford to hire competent attorney’s for representation to defend them or help them get into drug rehabilitation clinics or mental health institutions to combat the poisonous chemical they have become dependent upon in an attempt to escape the realities of their living condition of impoverished and depressing neighborhoods. The rich rarely serve time in any prison for any kind of crime, as they can buy their way out with hiring a good high profile attorney and receive real justice. America and Wisconsin has a longstanding history of incarcerating the uneducated, untrained and oftentimes mentally handicapped minority who are ignorant of the laws and intricacies of the criminal justice system, so they are provided quarter defenses’ if that, by state paid overworked, burnt out, underpaid State Public Defenders whose main objective is not to fight and mount any kind of real defense but to get the measly few thousand dollars the state is paying him/her and dispose of the case quickly, which oftentimes more than not are settled through plea agreements.

Such a quagmire are realities for minorities who has the unfortunate luck to get caught-up within the American System of Justice. It’s also unfortunate that so many has come to believe in the political rhetoric and media propaganda that’s locking up citizens and warehousing them in these industrialized institutions now called “Correctional Institutions,” rather than what they are (“Prisons”) will solve the problem of crime. This misrepresentation and manipulative power of circumstances as well environment are in my belief the root behind thousands of minorities arrested daily within Wisconsin’s ghetto’s for serious and petty crimes, in an attempt to feed their addictions from drugs to materialism, placing them in processes of legal and judicial entanglement.

I like so many Blacks in the ghetto’s of America was also duped into criminal activities for whatever reason and has served as a conduit for the accumulation of political power and grandstanding by those politicians and aspiring political figures who complain about repeat criminal offenders (primarily blacks). While these hypocrites secretly make millions from the criminal elements of the streets. What realistic opportunity does an unskilled, undereducated ex-con have for success when you have a governmental body that has passed laws which says companies and corporations doesn’t have to hire ex-offenders, Housing and Urban Development can deny you housing, school grants can be denied you simply because you’re an felon, and there is no governmental assistance programs to act as a safety net for ex-offenders. The answer, of course is self-evident— he has no options, he must do more crime in order to survive or revocate himself.

Wisconsin like the Country has taken on the title “Correctional Institutions,” from the root word [Correct] meaning to remove the errors or fault. This very play of words are design to manipulate and hoodwink the masses of society by the power structure and government into believing prisoners are not just being imprisoned as punishment, but are being rehabilitated.

The reality is that many prisoners rehabilitate themselves and yet, even though many are eligible for parole, in Wisconsin’s penal system we remain imprisoned as society is methodically manipulated by politicians and Prison Unions who utilizes pernicious, insidious schemes to exploit and sensationalize with the help of the media those circumstances where an ex-offender gets out and re-offends.

This type of cunning and intellectual racism is superb. America and States like Wisconsin has a proud history of thwarting minority progress; It is not enough that most incarcerated prisoners are disadvantaged, but must be kept in a system of disenfranchisement and slavery for as long as humanly possible.

This is how rural “White America,” and its dying farm industry has been revitalized, and how “white,” underprivileged Americans become middle or the working class, as Wisconsin’s Prison system is predominately 65% or better of Black and or African-American, while 95% of those hired to guard and administrate these places are White. It doesn’t take Einstein to see the system is designed to make profit off black bodies as it has done since America and Western Europe invaded Africa in 1618.

And no accident that the Parole Board and Parole Chairman has been denying eligible prisoners parole, instead opting to give lengthy defferals such as 48 months, 60 months and longer as Parole Board Chairman Alonzo Graham, an ex-police approve these questionable and undoubtedly racially motivated deferrals. No program of rehabilitation and consequent social, economic regeneration can be effectively achieved, unless these depraved and racist tactics to keep incarcerated eligible prisoners incarcerated are addressed by the people of this state and its Governor. This kind of dissipation must be destroyed and removed from the penal system.

So long as this practice and program continues to operate as presently allowed, there can be no real chance for regeneration of minorities members back into society as productive citizens. Wisconsin Parole system needs to undergo serious changes in its policies and practices. In most states the Parole Board consist of two or more members to fairly and accurately reflect a panel that’s impartial in body and thought, however, in Wisconsin there’s only one person sitting as decision maker, determining whether or not parole should be granted.

This policy and practice is merely perfunctory, a sham process whose primary goal is to do nothing, but make society believe its affording prisoners a fair and accurate hearing for chances at parole. Through the genius of trickonolledgy politicians and the Wisconsin’s DOC Parole Board has reinstituted a situation that’s identical to institutionalized slavery because there are no grassroot support or outcries against the practices being promulgated in Wisconsin. No public outcry of the rampant inmate abuses and fraudulent misbehavior reports orchestrated and designed to keep prisoners incarcerated as former governor Tommy Thompson advocated, and although other states that employ loss of good time, the prisoner is allowed or afforded the chance to re-earn their loss time through good behavior, not so in Wisconsin penal system. This time is taken and never returned.

This is much like the slave who could not effectively stand up and challenge his/her slave master. This was true because the slave had no ally to help alter the balance of power in his /her favor.

Link to Warren Lilly’s Forced Feeding Video

Isthmus article of June 18, 2009

Here are the snippets of the forced feeding of Warren Lilly, taken from Isthmus:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5205079&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Lilly- “Idiot’s Club” from The Daily Page on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5205539&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Lilly- talk with “Seaweed” from The Daily Page on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5208018&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Lilly – 2/28/09 breakfast “stop this” from The Daily Page on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5220114&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Lilly – 2/28/09 Breakfast “Oscar Mayer” from The Daily Page on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5220741&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Lilly – “Lavern and Shirley reruns” from The Daily Page on Vimeo.

Wisconsin Prison Watch – January 2009 Newsletter

Friends,

Three questions have presented themselves in letters during these past few months that I would like to address. Question 1. Does WPW avoid news articles and opinion about sex offenders? Question 2. Should WPW “tone down” the rhetoric and seek credibility? Question 3. Why don’t you do more investigative articles and more research?

Question 1. Does WPW avoid news articles and opinion about sex offenders? No, our mission is to highlight and expose the crimes committed by the DOC, Parole Commission and (in)justice system. We never ask, nor do we feel it important to consider the crime of the prisoner. Our newsletter also tries to highlight the societal penchant and immorality of putting people in cages as a method of solving social problems. We do not express an opinion on the crimes of those behind bars – it is not our concern. Our concern is with the crimes committed by those in uniform.

Question 2. Should WPW “tone down” the rhetoric and seek credibility? We are what we are. Actually, we do curb our contempt and disgust with the abuse and indignity heaped on prisoners. We are outraged and hope that message is loud and clear. We wonder, from whom the questioner thinks we should seek credibility? Certainly not from the institutions and bureaucrats who run them, they are not responsive to polite pleas or reasoned arguments. Have you filed an ICI lately?

Maybe the questioner thinks the public needs to hear a “reasonable” articulation of the “problems” behind the walls? On this point we agree – to a degree. WPW does inform the press whenever important stories arise. For the most part, the press is not interested, because the public is not interested and if the public’s not interested the advertisers lose interest. In a capitalist system the merit of the story is subjugated to the profit margins. But, as I said, we agree and do our best to inform the main stream press.

But, we are not the main stream press; our newsletter goes to prisoners who already know they are being abused, degraded and dehumanized. The families kinda know it but don’t believe it from their loved ones. So, the purpose of the WPW newsletter is to, not only expose the rot, but to heighten political awareness and understanding of “how the system works”, and how we need to resist the oppression. If you don’t think you’re being oppressed then this newsletter is not for you. If you think prisons serve a legitimate purpose then this newsletter is not for you. If you think bending a knee to the powers that be will reform prison policies, this newsletter is not for you. If you think the public will be moved to compassion if one more story of abuse gets published, you’re deluding yourself.

Question 3. Why don’t you do more investigative articles and more research? The primary reason is, we don’t have the time or resources. There’s an important book written by the feminist group INCITE!, titled The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, from which we draw a lesson. We don’t seek funding from institutions, charities, or foundations because we do not want our message or objectives to be blunted or coerced by the funders. We are funded by YOU, the people who are impacted by the prison system. If what we say and do serves a purpose, the funding will continue. If we become insipid and ineffective, we will disappear.

Another reason why we don’t do investigative journalism is because we don’t have a large volunteer staff. We would love to have a bunch of people sitting around with nothing to do, ready to research and investigate. Hey wait a minute, there are a bunch of guys sitting around with nothing to do. Get busy and send in articles and reports.

So, you see, it’s up to you. Send us contributions and ask others to subscribe and support our work. Also, send us your reports and investigations or just send your reflections on “how the system works”. Send us news articles and court cases. This is your newsletter.

Some of you are really busy. We’ve received some really powerful court cases. Some guys are trying to shake things up in the courts. Some have sent us reports of success despite the many hurdles placed on their efforts. Many of us don’t understand the law and its convoluted language. Many of us are frustrated by the lying, cheating, and corruption we face when trying to get some justice. Here at WPW we are continually frustrated by the lack of public concern, the lack of revolutionary spirit, the lack of political awareness, and the lack of outrage, but we fight on. Not because we think we can win, but because we must. We must resist, we are compelled to resist the dehumanization and stupidity of prisons. We cannot do otherwise but resist this culture of oppression.

The winter weather has chilled the desire to protest and leaflet outside of the DOC and prisons but PAW is making plans for the spring. One thing for sure, a contingent of PAW members will be visiting the Capitol to let the Governor know that Al Graham needs to go. He’s up for reappointment in March and PAW wants to make it clear, families are being victimized by the Parole Commission. We urge all families of incarcerated to call or write to the governor to let him know what you think of Al Graham. More info on page 5.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has organized a campaign called STOPMAX whose mission states, in part: “To promote and support a national movement to end the use of solitary confinement and related forms of torture in US prisons”. Your editor has been invited to sit on the steering committee and I will bring my knowledge and experience in dealing with Wisconsin’s overuse of segregation units to the national discussion. Comments from those suffering this barbarity are welcome.

We are in the process of compiling a handbook for families of incarcerated. The purpose is to help families understand the process and negotiate the bureaucracy while supporting their loved one. Suggestions are welcome – please tell us what you think your families should have known or should know in order to help you on the inside

in solidarity,

WPW

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Illinois Prisoners Win $8 Million for Failure to Treat Hep C, from PLN

A federal jury has awarded four Illinois prisoners over $2 million apiece in a civil rights action filed against state prison officials for denying treatment for Hepatitis C (Hep C).

In 2005, Edward J. Roe, Anthony P. Stasiak, Timothy J. Stephen and Jackson Walker, all state prisoners at the Logan Correctional Center (LCC) in Lincoln, Illinois, were denied Hep C treatment. Hep C is a blood-borne disease that can cause liver failure if left untreated; it is most often spread through IV drug use, needle sharing (including tattoo needles) and unprotected sex.

Larry Sims, the Chief Administrative Officer at LCC; Willard Elyea, Medical Director for the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC); and IDOC Director Roger Walker refused to provide Hep C treatment based on a blanket policy that denied such treatment to prisoners with fewer than 18 months left to serve on their sentences.

In September 2005, the four LCC prisoners filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. They claimed the non-treatment policy resulted from the defendants’ deliberate indifference to their serious medical needs, in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

On February 15, 2008 a federal jury agreed that the policy was unconstitutional, and awarded the prisoners $20,000 each in actual damages and $2,000,000 each in punitive damages.

Attorney H. Kent Heller of Mattoon, Illinois represented the plaintiffs; he said this was the largest monetary judgment he had ever won for a client. Attorney fees have not yet been awarded in this case. See: Roe v. Sims, U.S.D.C. CD Ill., Case No. 3:06-cv-03034-HAB-CHE.

Hep C-related prison litigation appears to be on the upswing, since large numbers of prisoners are infected with the disease and most prison systems are unwilling to provide the expensive – though necessary – medical treatment for it.

For example, on July 8, 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed against the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on behalf of California’s 159,000 state prisoners. The complaint states they do not receive adequate treatment for Hep C, which infects an estimated 40 percent of the CDCR population. See: Jackson v. Dezember, U.S.D.C. CD Cal., Case No. 2:08-cv-04454-GHK-FMO.

“This is a nasty, nasty disease,” said attorney Shawn Khorrami, who filed the class action suit. “We don’t allow this kind of punishment in America, where someone has a disease and we have them suffer from it and have all kinds of problems going forward in their lives just because they’ve committed a crime.”

Actually prison officials routinely allow such punitive medical neglect to occur, which is why such lawsuits are necessary.

UPDATE ON THE HEP-C CLASS ACTION

A few of you have contacted attorney Heller on this but we know more under-treated and untreated cases of Hep-C are out there. Spread the word because this action could have some deep implications for the DOC (financial) and for those suffering this disease (financial and health). For more information write to:

Attorney Kent Heller
Heller, Holmes & Associates, P.C.
1101 Broadway
P.O. Box 889
Mattoon, IL 61938

********************

Dear Prison Watch,

Hey! I’ve been down for 25 years all together in this fucked up system and all I can say is, it’s about time somebody kept an eye on these freaks!

This is my eighth time in, 4 were revocations, and the other four were all property crimes, yet I’ve served more time than a few lifers I’ve met.

Right now I’m almost done with a five year sentence for breaking my probation by going to Texas (absconding) for two months. This five year sentence stems from a 1998 burglary conviction where I stole a check for $420 and cashed it.

So, yes it’s true, I’m sitting here, taking up a single cell (red tag) in Green Bay, for a crime that occurred over ten years ago. And, it was my only violation after three years of supervision; working, paying rent and minding my own business. No ATR, no work release; five years on a ten year withheld sentence. They extradited me 1620 miles on an eight day bus ride from Hell.

All this for going down to Texas to roof houses damaged in Katrina, to make $15 an hour cash instead of $11.50 minus taxes here in Wisconsin. The state has spent thirty thousand dollars a year “punishing” me for stealing a check and then leaving the state for a better job.

Anyway, I’ll be out soon with 20 months of parole which I may or may not get revoked on. And of course when I get released I will have zero dollars and zero cents because that’s the way the DOC likes to see you leave. But you can bet I’ll get that “good luck out there” on the way out the door, because they always smile and say that when you leave prison, just to let you know they care, you’re their friend and it’s not personal.

Sincerely,
Scott McLeod

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Doyle named Obama’s Commerce Secretary (parody by Bonnie Abzug)

Wisconsin Governor was recently chosen to replace Gov. Bill Richardson for US Commerce Secretary. Doyle was chosen and then his name was quickly withdrawn due to the fact that the State of Wisconsin stands at the top (worst) ranking of Black incarceration rates in the whole United States of Amerikkka!

Wisconsin Prison Activists were elated by the nomination, hoping that a new Governor would realize the highest ranking of top Black Incarceration rates were sure signs of the racism in Wisconsin state laws, justice system and its whole state government. Activists hoped a new Governor would stand on a bully pulpit and make this gross and shameful record a thing of the past. They were sure that a new governor would get rid of the regressive Parole Chair, Al Graham.

Obama and his aides must have made note of Doyle’s and the State of Wisconsin’s abysmal treatment of its Black population and decided that this type of politician is not wanted in their cabinet. Unfortunately Obama’s de-cision does not bode well for our state.

As a matter of reference, Minnesota and Wisconsin both have the same minority population demographics and crime rate. Minnesota houses 9000 prisoners while Wisconsin houses over 22,000. How many times must these statistics be shown before our state’s citizens force our government representatives to rectify this inequity.

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Notes from Starvin’ Naked Marvin: The Day After

What does Barack Obama’s election mean for Black prisoners?
Very little and a great deal. Very little in that it’s unlikely he’ll make sweeping changes to the justice system. Obama was not elected on a platform for social change, he ran and won with an economic agenda and was supported by the same money ‘strokers’ that have supported every president. IF Blacks, especially those imprisoned, expect social change they’re going to be disappointed.

Obama’s election though, in a psychological sense, means a great deal to prisoners. Prisoners are quicker than free persons to believe they can not fight and win against an entrenched system and that color is an inherent bar to success. Obama has shown that the bar to success of Black men is mostly a bar of their own making, a self-imposed limit on how high they can climb.

Obama’s victory is a classic lesson in vision and persistence all prisoners should study, especially Black prisoners. For in that lesson is the means to overcome the horrors of both imprisonment and the justice system. His victory instructs us to first recognize our own worth and to respect the worth of others, then to establish a goal and pursue it through planning and preparation, and finally, most importantly, to embrace a single-minded focus toward achieving that goal.

Obama’s victory has shown us that even ‘blue sky’ is not limited to one who’s determined to achieve a goal. How then can we, given his example, fail to take on and defeat the problems of injustice and imprisonment we face?

Let me propose a goal for all prisoners: The reduction and reformation of the prison system into a more human-centered service through the non-violent destabilization of the current dehumanizing system. Prisons operate efficiently and effectively because we prisoners allow them to do so. Without our support, mentally by obeying orders, and physically by working in prisons, the prison system, as it now stands, would collapse. This is a fact we’ve known but have been afraid to exploit.

To achieve this goal we must first set aside our fear. Fear is the mind killer, it prevents self defense. For unless you are willing to abandon your fears and risk everything you stand to gain nothing. Ask yourself if your life has value and worth not just to you but also those with whom you interact – your family, your friends. If you answer is yes then you must vigorously defend your life from the ravages of a system which as declared your life worthless.

Since, to this system, you’re only a body give them that body without its mind. Do not perform any function or obey any order which supports the orderly running of any prison. Non-violently refuse to be an intelligent but willing victim of a rogue system. Refuse to accept their pronouncement of you as worthless. Make them work like hell to maintain you and this system.

In this country we’ve allowed morality and conscience to be replacement with bad laws. To obey such law is to deny your humanity and the responsibility you bear, as an American , to raise protest in the face of injustice.

Look to President-Elect Obama as your inspiration towards this goal. It only seems like ‘blue sky’ because we fear to fight for our worth.

Warren G. Lilly, Jr.,, pen name Starvin’ Naked Marvin, has been hunger striking for over four years in protest of Wisconsin’s and America’s abusive overuse of imprisonment. He refuses to eat, wear clothing, and obey orders, and is force fed thrice daily, Monday through Saturday. Warren asks prisoners and free persons to fast with him every Sunday then to e-mail or write to their Governor in support of his protest.

Contact Warren at: Warren G. Lilly, Jr.
DOC # 447655
WCI, P.O. Box 351
Waupun, WI 53963-0351
Warrenlilly.blogspot.com

******************

“One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.”
Charles Austin Beard

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Studies: Wisconsin has highest racial disparity in drug sentences

Associated Press
05/06/2008

MILWAUKEE — Two new studies show Wisconsin has the highest racial disparity in the nation when it comes to sentences for drug convictions.

Blacks in the Badger State are 42 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to prison for drug convictions, according to studies by Human Rights Watch and The Sentencing Project. In Minnesota, blacks are ten-times more likely to be sentenced, the report said.

The Sentencing Project examines data from 43 of the nation’s largest cities between 1980 and 2003. The Human Rights Watch study looks at racial disparities among drug offenders sent to prison in 34 states.

According to the research, blacks are sent to prison for drug offenses at a rate at least 10 times that of whites in 16 states, with the disparity the greatest in Wisconsin.

Ratio of black/white rates of prison admissions for drug offenses, 2003.
(Rates calculated per 1,000 residents of each race)

Alabama **** 3.5
California *********** 10.6
Colorado ***************14.4
Florida ************11.7
Georgia ***** 5.0
Hawaii ****** 5.8
Illinois ************************* 23.6
Iowa ******** 7.7
Kentucky ******6.2
Louisiana ******* 7.3
Maryland ***************** 17.4
Michigan ************ 11.8
Minnesota ********** 10.1
Mississippi ** 3.0
Missouri *** 2.7
Nebraska ***** 4.6
Nevada *******6.6
New Hampshire *******7.1
New Jersey *********************20.6
New York **************14.3
North Carolina *********** 10.9
North Dakota **** 3.8
Oklahoma **** 4.4
Oregon **** 4.1
Pennsylvania ************* 13.1
South Carolina ********* 9.3
South Dakota ********* 9.0
Tennessee ******** 8.4
Texas ************ 11.7
Utah ******** 7.5
Virginia *************13.2
Washington ********** 10.1
West Virginia **************** 16.3
Wisconsin ***************************************** 42.4
Total ********** 10.1

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HOME DEPOT ACCUSED OF VIOLATING CIVIL RIGHTS OF JOB APPLICANTS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS—National Employment Law Project seeking other people who have been denied employment

Two African-American men have filed charges of discrimination against Home Depot alleging that the company’s rejection of their job applications based on their past criminal records violates federal civil rights laws forbidding race discrimination because the practice has an adverse impact on African Americans and Hispanics. The charges were filed with the New York office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The charging parties are being represented by the Legal Action Center (www.lac.org), Outten & Golden LLP (www.outtengolden.com), the National Employment Law Project (www.nelp.org) and Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian (www.gdblegal.com).

As part of their investigation of these claims, the charging parties counsel are interested in speaking to other African Americans and Hispanics who have been rejected for employment by Home Depot because of a past criminal record.

People in New York State should contact the Legal Action Center, 212-243-1313 (outside of NY City, call 800-223-4044), and ask to speak to a paralegal about the Home Depot case. People in California should contact the National Employment Law Project, 510-409-2427. People outside of New York or California should contact Justin Swartz at Outten & Golden, 212-245-1000.

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A note from a friend at WCI

As a Wisconsin State prisoner at the Waupun “correctional” Institution (WCI), the guards, the wardens, and other administrative staff don’t have to say out loud what they really think of me and other state prisoners, (That prisoners are sub-human), they show it to us every day by exploiting our labor; by locking us up in cells – some of us double celled – that even animals would deteriorate in; by keeping us away from those we love; by instilling in our minds, fear, anger, hatred, disgust and a deep contempt for the injustices inherent in the “rule of law”; by keeping us prisoners locked up, away from, and alienated from each other when we try to educate and organize ourselves to do something about our sub-human conditions and subhuman treatment; and by subjecting us to endure years and years of this systemic dehumanization without ever knowing if, when, or how we will finally be released.

Such is the stuff that keeps Wisconsin prisons overcrowded and the recidivism rate at nearly 70% which begs the question, what are they correcting? And even more deplorable, all this state sponsored systematic dehumanization takes place in the name of “corrections” at taxpayers expense of $30,000 or more per year per prisoner!

Signed – Just another forgotten and anonymous WCI state prisoner. (I am not afraid to sign my name to this letter to the editor of WPW; I’m just not stupid enough to sign it publicly as I know if I do, I’ll end up in HSU again for stating what I know to be the facts and truth… so much for the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and for freedom of speech!)
11-13-08

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5,000 prisoners on hunger strike across Greece in demand for reforms!

All 21 Greek prisons are in the grip of prisoners 3-stage campaign in demand of 45-point reform. As part of the protest, more than 5,000 inmates are now on hunger strike.

As of Monday the 3rd of November the totality of prison across Greece are under a 3-stage campaign in demand of a 45-point reform, asking amongst other things for abolition of all juvenile prisons, greater freedoms, reduction of prison service and better conditions. The first stage of the prisoners struggle in which 8,000 out of 15,000 inmates took part consisted of refusing food from the prison catering. On Friday the 7th, 1,000 of them upgraded to the second stage of the campaign by going on hunger strike. The number of the hunger strikers today (11/7/08) is 5,120, 17 of whom have sewn their mouths. The third stage of the campaign, general uprising, looms over the prison establishment as outside the prisons solidarity campaigns are filling the streets of the Greek cities with protest marches, concerts and various forms of direct action.

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Sen. Webb’s Call for Prison Reform

January 1, 2009
Editorial – N.Y. Times

This country puts too many people behind bars for too long. Most elected officials, afraid of being tarred as soft on crime, ignore these problems. Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat of Virginia, is now courageously stepping into the void, calling for a national commission to re-assess criminal justice policy. Other members of Congress should show the same courage and rally to the cause.

The United States has the world’s highest reported incarceration rate. Although it has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it has almost one-quarter of the world’s prisoners. And for the first time in history, more than 1 in 100 American adults are behind bars.

Many inmates are serving long sentences for nonviolent crimes, including minor drug offenses. It also is extraordinarily expensive. Billions of dollars now being spent on prisons each year could be used in far more socially productive ways.

Senator Webb — a former Marine and secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration — is in many ways an unlikely person to champion criminal justice reform. But his background makes him an especially effective advocate for a cause that has often been associated with liberals and academics.

In his two years in the Senate, Mr. Webb has held hearings on the cost of mass incarceration and on the criminal justice system’s response to the problems of illegal drugs. He also has called attention to the challenges of prisoner re-entry and of the need to provide released inmates, who have paid their debts to society, more help getting jobs and resuming productive lives.

Mr. Webb says he intends to introduce legislation to create a national commission to investigate these issues. With Barack Obama in the White House, and strong Democratic majorities in Congress, the political climate should be more favorable than it has been in years. And the economic downturn should make both federal and state lawmakers receptive to the idea of reforming a prison system that is as wasteful as it is inhumane.

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Prison Action Wisconsin
P.O. Box 05669
Milwaukee, WI 53205

Prison Action Wisconsin General Membership meetings are held on the second Saturday of every month at:

All God’s Children Church
3356 N. Martin Luther King Dr.
Milwaukee, WI

January 10, 2009
February 14, 2009
March 14, 2009

Committees meet more often and on different days.

We ask all prisoners to urge their family attend our meetings and support our effort. It is only through a united voice that we will be heard.

Prison Action Wisconsin asks that all who read this message call or write governor Doyle to let him know we are being victimized by Alfonso Graham and the Parole Commission. Many of our loved ones are ready to come home and we are ready to help them restart their lives.

Let the Governor know it is cruel and unusual punishment to keep families waiting, not knowing what is expected of their loved ones and what they need to do to get released.

Tell the Governor to appoint a progressive and reasonable Parole Commission Chair who will listen to the families.

PAW also asks that you call your State Senator and Representative with the same message.

We can force a change. We need to make the calls. We need to lobby the legislators. Please join us at the Capitol in February for a day of lobbying. Please make the calls.

Office of the Governor
608-266-1212

Senator Lena Taylor
608-266-5810

Senator Spencer Coggs
608-266-2500

Representative Marc Pocan
608-266-8570

Representative Leon Young
608-266-3786

Representative Tamara Grigsby
608-266-0645

Legislative Hotline
Toll-free: 1-800-362-9472

****************

WORT – Madison’s progressive, community owned, volunteer operated radio station sent holiday messages over the airwaves to those locked up behind the walls. Families called and left a recorded message for their loved one which was compiled and aired during the holiday season. We hope you caught the show. Some of the folks who called in:

Beverly Pittman, Unity Brown, Draylon Oliver, Roy Taylor, Wayco, Lavail Coleman, Chazna Hopkins, Rhonda Oliver, Duvila Rivers, Carl Brown, LaQuanda Jones, Carolyn Arrington, Rosenil Hicks, Awdarrah Bowman, Zolo Farrior, Kathleen Hart, Sarah Freeman, Montrell Oliver, Frank Van den Bosch, Avishareail Stringfellow, Cencreaha Alexander, Ajinai Kenyadah, and many others.

WORT is not a powerful radio station and many in the remote areas of Wisconsin probably didn’t get the holiday greeting so…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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ARTISTS AGAINST THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

PROJECT LODGE
817 E. Johnson St. Madison

January 30 – Feb 5
Reception, Fri., Jan 30 7pm -10pm

Gallery Hours – 10am – 5pm M-F

Sponsored by Justseeds’ Artists
Cooperative & WI Books to Prisoners,
A project of Rainbow Bookstore

Over 30 prints by printmakers nationwide addressing the use of policing, prisons and,
punishment as a “solution” to social, political and, economic problems and more than
70 critical drawings by prisoners will be on display.

Artwork is welcome year around for public education.
Please send or deliver artwork to:

Wisconsin Books to prisoners
Rainbow Bookstore
426 W. Gilman St.
Madison, WI 53703

Contact: Camy or John at 608-262-9036

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WSPF – When will it ever convert into a general population?
by: Comrade Muhammad Crutchfield

For almost two years now WSPF, formerly the WI SuperMax, has supposedly been converting into a “general population” prison. Prisoners who first arrived have told me that the place has been a mess from day one, with no real format as to how it operates. I’ve been here since Sept. 17, 2008 and know from personal experience that the place is nothing more than a continued human experiment, as it was originally designed to be.

Every week there’s a new rule on top of a rule. Memos are constantly being put out by the so-called Charlie and Delta Unit Manager on just about everything you can imagine, mainly non-sense.

For instance, no prisoner can get state soap unless they are indigent. Also, only prisoners without type-writers may put in a request to use the so-called ‘law-library’ type-writer. They must get the typing ribbon from the bubble Sgt. and return it to him once done. They must also show him/her what they typed to prove that it was strictly legal materials.

About a month and a half ago a prisoner wanted to call his attorney, but had to go through all kinds of hoops. The reason being, his so-called social worker thought that the forms he produced to her (DOC FORMS) were fake, because she’d never seen them before. He was told by her that she’d been a social worker at WSPF for years and had never seen such forms, nor had she ever heard of any prisoner having a non-monitored phone call to his attorney. She told him that she “felt he was getting away with something and am going to investigate”.

Her investigation found that she’d been un-informed, WSPF was/is recording/ monitoring even prisoners attorney calls, at least one of his attorney phone calls had been “monitored” (which was quickly denied by the Warden after an outside concerned person called and inquired about the matter), and that WSPF is basically violating client/ attorney confidential rights. He was told that notices would be put up in each phone call area notifying prisoners of the bogus monitoring of even attorney calls. This was at least two months ago and still nothing is posted.

Among the numerous other problems here of major significance, the lack of contact visiting is the biggest felt, especially on those who get regular visits. Because WSPF was not designed for population there was never an area built for visiting. However, as soon as it was decreed that WSPF would be converting into a general max, it became the DOC’s responsibility to build a visiting room or convert some area in the prison into a temporary visiting room until one was built. Denying us contact visits is a violation of the WI Admin. Code (see visiting regulations regarding visits in its entirety). The WI Admin. Code clearly states that the only way a prisoners visits can be made non-contact is for punitive reasons. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I haven’t violated any WI Admin. Code, nor have my visits been restricted (except forcefully by the DOC sending me here). Rumors have it that a visiting room will be built within another one or two years.

WSPF has made an art of penny-pinching. Three times a week prisoners are fed bag breakfasts, they aren’t given state boots, no state hygiene items are given out, job wages are being intentionally kept low that normally pay higher elsewhere. The main kitchen better not catch a worker-prisoner eating an extra sugar packet or salt packet if he values his job.

There is no population here. Prisoners are constantly being put through one form of psychological game play after another by staff. Last week prisoners signed up for “rec.” only to be told they didn’t have it, even though a schedule was passed to all saying they did. After complaints, they were eventually let out that afternoon. Ironically, later that evening, the list with all of the names on it for phone calls was suspiciously “lost” and guys were told they couldn’t call their loved ones. These are just some of the problems, but the real problem is us……

DARE TO STRUGGLE!!!!!!!

“SETTLE YOUR QUARRELS, COME TOGETHER, UNDERSTAND THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION, UNDERSTAND THAT FASCISM IS ALREADY HERE.”

“DO WHAT MUST BE DONE, DISCOVER YOUR HUMANITY AND YOUR LIFE IN THE REVOLUTION. PASS ON THE TORCH, JOIN US, GIVE UP YOUR LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE.”
Comrade/Brother, George Jackson

WA-ALAYKUM AS-salaam
Comrade Muhammad Crutchfield

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Free the San Francisco Eight!!!!!
Notes pertaining to SORP:
from Chris Klingeisen

The DOC is administrating Civil Punishment on the persons who are incarcerated by enforcing the policy 301.45 (10) and thus turned the punishment towards the families of the incarcerated, due to the fact that 95% of the inmates cannot afford to pay this fee. This fee has doubled, prior was $50.00 a year, now $100.00 a year. This action by itself is punishment especially when it is administered to the incarcerated. It is different when the offender is released and then he can take this responsibility. The only factor that is in question is the timing of this policy.

Also, the threat of submitting offenders to collections will cause issues in the future. This can have adverse effects on the person while he is attempting to apply for a job, (many employers look at a person’s credit history). There are some offenders like myself who have good credit and this action threatens it. Also, this action would cause issue when a person is applying for credit, DVR, school, S.S., & grants. This may seem small at first but it is major to a person who is trying to be a positive person in the community. This action over time will explode into many infractions in a person’s life. Simply by waiting when the offender is released it then would be more responsible to apply this action. In some cases, offenders may be incarcerated for a number of years and building debt. This action is added stress and possibly a factor on one’s desire to correct their issues.

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“The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.” – Edward Dowling

************

“…it is essential if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” (preamble) – Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Message from Moso

Dear Comrades,

I’m writing this article to hopefully welcome our new readers. As mentioned in the last edition, there has been an effort by PAW to bring more attention to our struggle by passing out material in front of the prisons during visiting hours.

I believed this was a good idea because, as we have seen, most prisoners have not attempted to get their families and loved ones involved. We have been depending on inmates to contact their families from prison and have them sign them up or join them up with the organization.

It appears only when they face adversity and experience abuse of power by correctional officials by getting a unjustified conduct reports or having their visitors mistreated, do they then seek assistance from a outside source once they realize they themselves have no power. But unless the organization itself has a sufficient amount of members and resources, it can help no one. So we ourselves have to be the leaders, as no one else will save us, but us.

I think Frank did a good job of explaining the different mission of this organization from that of the others. It’s nice to have them attempt to at least do something different than what a lot of progressives are doing. Now that society has made some progress with the recent election of Barack Obama, doors are about to open.

Insanity has been defined as when a person does the same thing over and over, but always expects a different result. A lot of the progressives now want to institute a lot of the same things tried in the past, in the belief that it will make things better such as treatment programs and counseling, etc., etc.

These are good intentions, but are misguided. This stuff has already been tried back in the late 60s and 70s when liberals were in control. It had a lot of beneficial results, however, we still have a lot of the same problems today as we had then.

So now, it’s time to think of a radical solution, which even the so called “Progressives” are afraid to tackle for fear of not being “politically correct”. They want to talk about: the problem of the incarceration rate. However, they don’t want to discuss the root cause of the high rate of incarceration.

Why is there no discussion of what was really behind this conspiracy called the War on Drugs? Everyone want to speak on the ill effects of drugs and how it is destroying communities and society. That’s really a sham. The drugs are not what’s causing the crime and violence, instead it is the laws that are the culprit. It is the enactment of these draconian laws that has reinvented prohibition.

Most have some limited knowledge of history – it was prohibition that gave rise to the “gangster age”. It was only after seeing the effects on the White Majority population, (mass arrests and prison sentences), that a Constitutional Amendment was passed, to abolish the Prohibition Act. However, the effects of the prohibition laws were studied and mastered by social scientists, to where they have now been reapplied to carry out a agenda of political power, population control, and subversion of the United States Constitution.

The only way these power hungry “one worlders” can take people’s rights away, is if citizens voluntarily give them up. Before Bush and his backers so clumsily exposed this secret technology and plot under the guise of the war on terror, it was being used to target people and organizations under the guise of the war on drugs. They already knew the prohibition of drugs would cause rival drug gangs and warfare, armed robberies and violent crimes, just as gangsters did back in the prohibition era, lured by profits and riches. This is assured by making the product illegal. Look at the prisons today. Once we could buy tobbacco in pouches which cost about 85 cents. However, now that this item is “prohibited”, the same item will sell for over $50.00 a pouch.

The same principle applies. Thus, it is the law that is causing the destruction of poor people and making them “victims” of the conspiracy. This is why over 80% of us are in prison. We walked into the trap and many more will follow unless and until we deal with the real causes of these social ills. As long as they have the community’s eyes stuck on the trick that the drugs are the problem, and the false “solution” to stop using, selling and buying drugs, they will be blind to the real crooks who knows it is the law (which they control), that is the real enemy. However, it is politically incorrect to say drugs should not be illegal even though they were only made illegal as part of a conspiracy. So even though it’s the truth, it is a radical truth whose time for light has come.

For those who have access to a library, a book entitled Down by the River, authored by Charles Bowden, reveals a lot of information and history about the secret dealings of the United States Government and the Mexican Government and this fake “war on drugs” and its real purpose. So it will be the WPW that will be reporting on and organizing to address such topics.

Additionally, who is advocating for the prisoner victims to these past plots? Who speaks for those who have been given these life ending terms of incarceration for crimes like armed robbery, burglary, felony murder, etc., etc.? Who will expose how they stacked the state Courts with these Federalist Judges, (which is a judicial cult), bent on protecting the corporate and police state interests against the little people who have no power?

With sufficient political power, relief could be gained by organizing and getting the political power to have laws changed to where inmates can get adequate post conviction relief and sentence modifications. When these extreme Right Wing Republicans were in power, they pretty much shut the door to make sure a lot of their handy work does not get undone. We have to change that. And as the recent election of Barack Obama has shown, if you organize from the grass roots, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. If you want justice and relief, get involved and support the WPW and PAW. More information will be submitted in future editions.

MoSo,

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“What is the great American sin? Extravagance? Vice? Graft? No; it is a kind of half-humorous, good-natured indifference, a lack of “concentrated indignation” as my English friend calls it, which allows extravagance and vice to flourish. Trace most of our ills to their source, and it is found that they exist by virtue of an easy-going, fatalistic indifference which dislikes to have its comfort disturbed….The most shameless greed, the most sickening industrial atrocities, the most appalling public scandals are exposed, but a half-cynical and wholly indifferent public passes them by with hardly a shrug of the shoulders; and they are lost in the medley of events. This is the great American sin.”: Joseph Fort Newman, Atlantic Monthly, October 1922

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The United States: A Country Without Mercy

By Paul Craig Roberts

December 16, 2008 The Christmas season is a time to remember the unfortunate, among whom are those who have been wrongly convicted.

In the United States, the country with the largest prison population in the world, the number of wrongly convicted is very large. Hardly any felony charges are resolved with trials. The vast majority of defendants, both innocent and guilty, are coerced into plea bargains. Not only are the innocent framed, but the guilty as well. It is quicker and less expensive to frame the guilty than to convict them on the evidence.

Many Americans are wrongfully convicted, because they trust the justice system. They naively believe that police and prosecutors are moved by evidence and have a sense of justice. The trust they have in authorities makes them easy victims of a system that has no moral conscience and is untroubled by the injustice it perpetrates.

Lt. William Strong, son of a military family, tired of his wife’s unfaithfulness and filed for divorce. The unfaithful wife retaliated by accusing Strong of rape. There was no evidence of rape, but Strong was deceived into a plea bargain. Once Strong entered a plea, he was double-crossed and given 60 years.

Christophe Gaynor took an adolescent skate board team to New York City for a competition. One of the kids attempted to buy illicit drugs. Gaynor threatened to tell the boy’s parents, and the boy preempted Gaynor by accusing him of sexual molestation.

Gaynor was openly framed in the Arlington, Virginia, court system.

Americans, or perhaps more accurately some Americans, were horrified by the photographs showing the torture of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib by the US military. The Senate Armed Services Committee has issued a report which concludes that the torture policy originated at the highest level of the Bush administration. Those Americans with a moral conscience have reeled under further revelations–the torture of Guantanamo detainees, the transport of people seized by US authorities to third world countries to be tortured.
We have to ask ourselves why American service men and women and CIA operatives delight in torturing people about whom they know nothing? It has been well known since the Stalin era that torture never produces accurate information. Yet, US soldiers and CIA personnel jumped at the green light given to torture by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and the US Department of Justice. Why weren’t our soldiers shocked instead at the immorality of their leaders?

One answer is that the US military no longer operates according to a code of honor. Military discipline in the traditional sense does not exist. The ethos of the US military has degenerated into kick-ass macho. Major General Taguba, who, instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib scandal, attempted in his report to hold the US military to its traditional principles, was forced to resign from the US Army.

Another answer is that the work of torture, like police work and prosecutorial work, attracts brutal people who enjoy inflicting harm on others. The two Republican female US Attorneys in Alabama who framed Democratic Governor Seligman enjoyed ruining Seligman and bringing grief to his family.

Deborah Davies of the BBC’s Channel 4 undertook a four-month investigation of the torture of American prisoners inside American prisons. Videos taken by sadistic prison guards and videos recovered from surveillance cameras reveal horrible acts of torture and even of murder of prisoners by prison guards.

An American prison reformer told Deborah Davies, “We’ve become immune to the abuse. The brutality has become customary.”

Few Americans seem to be disturbed as these inhumane and illegal practices continue unabated. Americans continue to see themselves as the salt of the earth, the “indispensable people.”

“Law and order conservatives” have a great responsibility for this evil. Just as “law and order conservatives” created hysteria among the people about crime, they created hysteria about terrorists. Hysterical people condone great evils and arm government with power in the mistaken belief that it will protect them.

What kind of people have we become when we exercise no oversight over a criminal justice (sic) system that destroys the lives of innocent people and locks them away in prisons to be tortured by sadistic guards?

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Wrongful Convictions

Results of a Washington and Lee School of Law examination into the principle causes of wrongful convictions.

DNA Inclusions *
Other Forensic Inclusions *****
False Confessions ************
Informant/Snitches ************
False Witness Testimony ************
Bad Lawyering **************
Microscopic Hair Comparison ****************
Defective/Fraudulent Science ********************
Prosecutorial Misconduct ***********************
Police Misconduct **************************
Serology Inclusion ***************************
Mistaken Identification *******************************************
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

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WISCONSIN PRISON WATCH NEWSLETTER
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