Tag Archives: Dying to live

Dying to Live Hunger Strikers Kept on Brink of Death by Retaliatory DOC

From Dying to Live

Waupun WI- According to a letter from hunger striker LaRon McKinley, the Dying to Live hunger strike against solitary confinement at Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI) has become a serious health crisis after seventy-six days.

On August 15, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WI DOC) decided to suspend the force feeding they have subjected the prisoners to since June 17. They allowed McKinley and Cesar DeLeon, the two most committed hunger strikers, to go without food or water for 72 hours, until they were severely dehydrated. Then they tube fed them again on Thursday August 18.

“Presently, and for most of this week, we have been under retaliatory attack by our warden as a direct consequence of our political efforts… to force an end to prolonged Administrative Confinement,” the letter from McKinley reads. Continue reading

Wisconsin Prison ‘Dying to Live’ Hunger Strikers Continue Quest to End Prolonged Solitary Confinement – LaRon McKinley Bey

From Arawak City Anarchist Black Cross, by Laron McKinley Bey, #42642

In a nation that would not tolerate shutting in zoo animals 23-24 hours per day the State of Wisconsin has no compunction confining prisoners to indefinite isolative Administrative Confinement (AC) alone in a parking-space size cell for 164 of the 168 hour week.  Such prolongued social, environmental, and occupational isolation and lack of stimulation is well known to pose a substantial risk of harm to mental and physical health.

Norman Uhuru Green and I, 2 of the longest standing Wisconsin prisoners held in this type of endless isolation at 18 years, and nearly 28 years respectively, together with Cesar DeLeon, form the 3 remaining original ‘Dying to Live’ movement hunger strikers who continue to refuse to eat or drink in hopes of forcing an end to the state’s practice of indeterminate seclusion.

On June 7, 2016, a group of 10 Wisconsin prisoners in solitary confinement at the Waupun and Columbia correctional institutions began refusing nourishment to expose the inhumane conditions of their confinement, and to facilitate dignified treatment of all humans.  Within a few weeks the Department of Corrections had obtained court orders to force-feed Uhuru, DeLeon, and I 3 times daily which entails being placed in full restraints, and then strapped into a ‘restraint chair’ and having a nasal-gastro tube inserted in one nostril to the stomach where a liquid mixture of nutrition is funneled.  Besides violating the sanctity of our bodies, this procedure is an invalid state response to a dignified struggle and it can cause significant internal injury.

Continue reading

Milwaukee IWOC calls for a national day of action in solidarity with the Dying to Live hunger strike at Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI).

 “…Well the past few days have been hard. Apart from the pain, humiliation, and sick process I have to go through 3 times per day in this force-feeding, I am okay. The weather though make it hard. It makes you dizzy and sick. Plus it makes you hungry as well. I try not to think of food or else you break,”

Cesar DeLeon’s most recent letter to Milwaukee IWOC.

Cesar DeLeon and LaRon McKinley-Bey began refusing food on June 7. They called their protest Dying to Live, and demanded an end to indefinite solitary confinement, what the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WI DOC) calls Administrative Confinement (AC). On June 17 the DOC requested and got approval to force feed the hunger striking prisoners.

Milwaukee IWOC (The Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee of the IWW) has been supporting this protest, in coalition with other groups for 60 days now. We have marched on the DOC twice, held rallies in Milwaukee and Madison, shamed DOC Secretary Jon Litscher at a public meeting he chaired, passed out hundreds of flyers and held banners over freeways many times. The DOC has conceded nothing, and conditions for the prisoners have remained abysmal.

June 10, Milwaukee, Photo credit: Sam Caravana. Published by Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

June 10, Milwaukee, Photo credit: Sam Caravana. Published by Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Now Milwaukee IWOC is calling for national solidarity and mobilization to back up our next action. On Aug 13, we will mobilize against the WI DOC and we need others to amplify the signal and make the Dying to Live protest a national issue.

Why get involved?

Cesar DeLeon is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) a militant labor union whose slogan is “An Injury to One is an Injury to All”. Cesar and LaRon have had tubes shoved down their noses to force bottles of ensure into their stomachs well over 100 times at this point. For a while, the staff doctor had advised that feeding three times a day was excessive, and changed the practice to once every couple of days, so we’re not clear on the actual number of
tube feedings. Continue reading

July 5th Solidarity Action Against Wisconsin Torture Practices

rally 6 21 16On 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

Waupun Inmates To Engage In Hunger Strike To Protest Illegal Prolonged Solitary Confinement In Prison System

From Hispanic News Network.

Inmates hunger strike protest planned against illegal prolonged solitary confinement used in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections prison system as punishment for minor violations resulting from 180 to 360 days and even up to 13 years in solitary confinement of inmates resulting in psychological defects.

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
May 30, 2016
Waupun, WI – Inmates at the Waupun prison (Waupun Correctional Institution-WCI) plan a hunger strike on June 10 to bring attention to what they say is the illegal prolonged solitary confinement for minor violations, which can result with 180 to 360 days and decades of isolation in a small cell 24-7 with one hour to stretch outside of the cell per day. The solitary confinement is known as Administrative Confinement (AC) and inmates can be placed on AC for long periods of isolation for falsely accusing prison staff of violations, disrespect, poor personal hygiene, loitering and the misuse of federal or state property, which inmates once accused have no recourse to appeal or challenge alleged discipline charges by prison staff. Prison staff (guards) can file inmate violations without any merits and compile alleged violations to add solitary confinement time as punishment to cover-up guard mistreatment, harassment and human rights violations of inmates, according to inmates in isolation. Prison guards are not mandated to wear body cameras in Wisconsin.
Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) has learned that even state inmates who become witnesses and testify in criminal cases and are placed under the witness protection program also endure prolonged solitary confinement simply because the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC) has no facility to keep witness protection inmates in a safe environment. In one case, an inmate who testified in a gang murder was placed under the state witness protection program and spend more than six years in isolation until parole.
The inmates involved in a planned hunger strike are requesting for the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate the illegal practice of AC in the state prison system and for the immediate release of inmates from AC that have been in isolation for more than one year. The United Nations has determined that prolonged solitary confinement is torture and studies have shown that it causes psychological defects, which inmates once released on parole have no access to mental health treatment and most can’t adjust within society and return to prison for committing other crimes.
According to WCI inmate in Waupun, Cesar Deleón, 33, in a press release indicated that, prisoners in solitary at WCI are never allowed to go outside or see the sun. The one hour per day of recreation they’re allowed out of their bathroom-sized cells is spent in an indoor recreation cage, which is often filthy with urine and feces because once a prisoner is moved to the cage, requests to be allowed access to a bathroom are ignored by staff. Prisoners in administrative confinement (AC) are not only extraordinarily isolated from general population, but also from loved ones and spiritual leaders. AC prisoners are allowed one 15 minute phone call and one 15 minute video visit per week, the calls and conferences are closely monitored and can be cut off with very little pretext. Spiritual leaders who regularly visit other prisoners are not allowed to visit the AC unit, which is a clear violation of the constitutional right to religious practice.
The WDOC holds over 100 people in administrative confinement, some have been in one form of isolation or another for decades. Last August, WDOC announced an 90 day limit on their use of segregation as punishment for all but the most severe cases. Those changes did not apply to AC prisoners though, because according to WDOC, Administrative Confinement is “non-punitive.”
The prisoners are calling for an end to the practice, entirely. Their six demands include a legislative cap on the use of AC, compliance with the UN Mandela Rules on solitary confinement, increased oversight, one year limits, mental health treatment and a federal investigation of harassment by staff, which the prisoners describe as a mind control program, designed to “break and recondition” anyone staff perceives as a threat.
Several public rallies are scheduled in Madison and Milwaukee to bring attention to the WDOC illegal prolonged solitary confinement under Administrative Confinement practices in the state prison system.
The Madison rally is scheduled for Friday, June 10 at 1 p.m. at the Capital building and the Milwaukee rally on Saturday, June 11 at noon at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
A replica of a small isolation cell in which inmates spent years incarcerated will be in exhibition at both rallies including families of inmates in isolation will also speak.