On Tuesday July 5, employees of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) will return from a long holiday weekend of cooking out and summertime patriotism to a day of protest at their workplace. Starting before the office opens and continuing until the DOC commits to stepping down from the use of long term solitary confinement, we will protest in fierce solidarity with the prisoners who have been refusing food since early June.
Cesar DeLeon, LaRon McKinley Bey, Uhuru Mutawakkil kicked off a hunger strike on June 5, they called it the “Dying to Live Humanitarian Food Refusal Campaign Against Torture.” Dozens of prisoners were ready to join them initially, but DOC retaliation, harassment, transfers and threats divided and repressed many of them. Ten or so prisoners were on board on June 10 and 11, when supporters held the first rallies in Milwaukee and Madison. Continue reading →
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.
On Tuesday, Cesar DeLeon, one of the most vocal of the hunger strikers was finally able to contact his family to describe the procedure, which he had already endured many times. During his weekly fifteen minute video visit with his sister Erika he said that staff often leaves the tube in his throat for a long time after the actual feeding, that the procedure causes bleeding and that they laugh at him and mock him while conducting it. According to the AMA inserting a feeding tube in an unwilling patient risks tearing the esophagus, or accidentally filling the lungs with fluid, both potentially fatal injuries. Tristan Cook, the DOC’s Communications Director has assured the public that the DOC is monitoring the hunger strike, indicating that DOC Director Jon Litscher is aware of and responsible for his staff’s conduct with these prisoners. Continue reading →
Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Chance Zombor, 36, leads a protest against the practice of solitary confinement at a rally in Madison Tuesday. Zombor has spent time in isolation at Waupun and Oshkosh correctional institutions. About 30 people marched to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections headquarters to deliver a letter arguing against the use of solitary confinement in Wisconsin prisons. Along the way they shouted “Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!”
Mother Jones has published an extensive expose on the Corrections Corporation of America in which investigative reporter Shane Bauer gets himself hired by CCA to expose the company and the problem of private prisons.
Interestingly, nothing said (in this first video anyway) wouldn’t also apply to state run prisons.
Attention!!! James “Dhati Khalid” Pleasant, Free Alabama Movement Organizer, was arbitrarily transferred from St Clair population to Donaldson Correctional Facility and placed in a “Hotbay’ stripped Segregation Unit.* After repeatedly protesting the taking of all his belongings, he was sprayed with a chemical agent then placed in a shower stall the remainder of the night. Please call Donaldson Warden ASAP – Leon Bolling 205-436-3681
*a hotbay or stripped cell, also known as a suicide cell is a special unit often used to deprive prisoners of the most basic necessities on the pretext that they may harm themselves. The strip cell has no bed or furniture at all, prisoners confined there are denied all property including clothing, the temperature is kept low and the lights are on constantly. DOC’s claim to create these cells for mental health observation, but the conditions, sleep deprivation and isolation, are actually designed to cause or exacerbate mental health crises.
PHOENIX (CN) — Inmates of an Arizona prison claim a specialized tactical unit of corrections officers rounded up nearly 55 prisoners outside in 100-degree weather and assaulted those who questioned their actions.
Their lawsuit, filed Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court, names as defendants Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan and 33 correctional officers and members of the Tactical Support Unit, or TSU.
According to the complaint, about 40 to 45 TSU officers ordered nearly 55 inmates in the Cook Unit at the Eyman prison complex in Florence, Ariz., out of their cells for a “quarterly search” on June 9 and 10, 2014.
The officers allegedly ordered inmates to stand in a single-file line outside in the sun, where it was more than 100 degrees, in their underwear, T-shirts and shower sandals. Continue reading →
I was a lost and troubled 16 year old soul trying to find my place in the world but always seemed to be looking in the wrong places and doing the wrong things.
In December of 1995, while walking through an impoverished city neighborhood, I, along with an associate Donald Hutson, was walking down a street and saw some people who were not recognizable and decided to rob them. There were five people in this crowd but we only robbed two of them and one victim was shot at but not injured. Subsequently from the incident I was charged with 2 counts of first degree robbery, and 3 attempted robbery for the other three people in the crowd, 2 first degree assaults and 7 counts of armed criminal action. Shortly thereafter, about 30 minutes later and about 8 blocks away we committed another robbery and took the victim’s car driving a few blocks away from the robbery. Consequently, I was charged with kidnapping and armed criminal action as well. In all, I was charged with 17 counts from these incidents due to accomplice liability. The trial for all these charges was held at the same time. Continue reading →
Prisoners who called for the “Dying to Live” June 10th food refusal campaign have not given up their protest, despite retaliation from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) and increasing health concerns. Last week seven prisoners vowed to refuse to eat until the DOC moves toward eliminating their practice of long term solitary confinement. Some prisoners began refusing food early so that their hunger strike would be officially recognized by the 10th. At least one prisoner, named Ras Atum-ra Uhuru Mutawakkil (s/n Norman Green) has been refusing food since June 5th.
The DOC has responded by separating the prisoners to make a negotiated resolution of the protest impossible. Mutawakkil was transferred from Waupun to Columbia CI before the strike officially began, he has not yet received his property and Columbia officials deny that anyone is refusing food at their institution. Of the declared hunger strikers, two remain at Waupun CI, where the protest originated. Two others have been moved to Columbia CI, and one to Green Bay CI. LaRon McKinley, who has been in Administrative Confinement for more than 27 years and remains determined to participate in this protest, despite health concerns. Cesar DeLeon, one of the first hunger strikers who has been on AC in Waupun for years, has complained of stomach problems, which the hunger strike has exacerbated. The water at Waupun is known to contain high levels of copper and lead, and DeLeon is demanding uncontaminated water. Continue reading →