Nationwide Prison Strike Aug. 21-Sept 9 Learn more at IWOC

Prisoners across the country will refuse to work, effectively shutting down facilities and creating a direct-action crisis for prisons that depend upon forced labor of prisoners.


#CLOSEmsdf Coalition Meeting Tuesday, Sept 18, 6 p.m., Welford Sanders Enterprise Center, 2821 N. 4th St. (now Vel R. Phillips Ave.), Milwaukee



Monthly picketing, 11:30 a.m., September 27. Please share and invite.

#CLOSEmsdf and #buildMKE Day, Monday, Oct. 8 (MSDF was opened on October 8, 2001)

#CLOSEmsdf ONe-Day Training, Saturday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Suite 108 of Welford Sanders Enterprise Center, 2821 N. 4th St. (now Vel R. Phillips Ave.), Milwaukee

Columbia Justice Lab/JLUSA Report on Mass Supervision in Wisconsin Release Events:

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. State Capitol, Madison, Wis., and 6 p.m. in Milwaukee. More information to follow.


Take Action in December and January!

Powerful organizing led by organizations that are part of the #CLOSEmsdf Coalition pushed Governor-elect Tony Evers and candidates across Wisconsin to take a stand for decarceration this year.

Here are some opportunities to help #CLOSEmsdf continue to build momentum in December and January.

1. #CLOSEmsdf Coalition Monthly Meeting:  Join us on Tuesday, December 18th at 6 pm to help guide the work of the campaign. The meeting will be at Suite 108 of the Welford Sanders Enterprise Center (2821 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53212). Visit for information and to RSVP.

2. #CLOSEmsdf Monthly Picket:  Join us on Thursday, December 20th at 11:30 am for the monthly #CLOSEmsdf Picket at the Milwaukee County Courthouse (901 N. 9th St., Milwaukee, WI 53233). Visit for information and to RSVP.

3. Community Discussion on Excessive Supervision in Wisconsin:  Join us for this special event on Wednesday, January 23rd that will include a presentation on Columbia University Justice Lab’s paper on mass supervision in Wisconsin and the testimonies of people who have been directly impacted by Wisconsin’s horrific, racist system of mass supervision. This event will start at 10 am at the North Hearing Room at the State Capitol in Madison.
The presentation will be followed by a state budget advocacy training led by organizers with WISDOM, EXPO, JustLeadershipUSA, and the ACLU of Wisconsin at Grace Episcopal Church (116 W. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703) which is across the street from the State Capitol.

Lunch will be served at Grace Episcopal Church.

Visit for information and to RSVP.

4. Community Forum on Excessive Supervision in Milwaukee:  Join us for this special event on Wednesday, January 23rd that will include a presentation on Columbia University Justice Lab’s paper on mass supervision in Wisconsin and a panel discussion featuring people who have been directly impacted by Wisconsin’s horrific, racist system of mass supervision. The event will start at 5 pm at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center (3020 W. Vliet, Milwaukee, WI 53208).

The community forum will be followed by a state budget advocacy training led by organizers with WISDOM, EXPO, JustLeadershipUSA, and the ACLU of Wisconsin.

Supper will be served after the community forum.

Visit for information and to RSVP.

Election Day Statement

Coalition of Directly Impacted Grassroots Advocates in Wisconsin Calls for the Next Governor and Legislature to Enact Policies to Depopulate, Close, and Demolish the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF)

Statement from Mark Rice, #CLOSEmsdf Campaign Coordinator

“Today, the #CLOSEmsdf coalition held a press conference in Madison to increase pressure on all candidates on the ballot throughout Wisconsin. Launched in 2017 by people who have been directly harmed by the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, this coalition is how we bring our experiences to the forefront of a national movement demanding bold overhaul of the carceral system and transformative change in our communities. Against that backdrop, we demand that the next Governor and Legislature enact policies that will lead to the depopulation, closure, and demolition of MSDF.


“Since it was built in 2001, MSDF has claimed at least 17 lives. It is an irredeemable torture chamber that costs Wisconsin taxpayers $40 million per year and that inflicts incalculable damage on our communities. The inhumane conditions in this prison harm thousands of people every year. The extreme heat in the summer is overbearing, adequate ventilation is nonexistent, and there is no access to outdoor space, direct sunlight, or fresh air. Many people there are in lockdown for at least 20 hours a day, and in-person visits are forbidden. It is unsafe for anyone, including the people who work there. Even worse is the fact that MSDF was built solely to cage people accused of violating conditions of their post-prison supervision. The misguided policies and practices that force people to be detained at MSDF are tearing families apart and draining resources that could instead be used to build safer, stronger, and healthier communities.


“Wisconsin’s post-prison supervision rate is already 50% higher than the rest of the country, and the harm it causes is enabled by this state-sanctioned abomination. Leading candidates for Governor committed to working with the #CLOSEmsdf coalition to decarcerate Wisconsin and close this prison. Anyone who wins election today has a moral obligation to act on that commitment. It’s long past time to shut down MSDF, and redirect the money being wasted there into our communities and community-based support services, instead.”

Nationwide Prison Strike Aug 21-Sept 9

Add your organization to the list of those endorsing the national prison strike.
It’s easy, just fill out the form at the bottom of this page:
Here are some of the reasons this is important.
1. The strike is calling for workstoppages, hunger strikes, sit-down strikes, and boycotts of the commissary. Not all of these tactics are legally protected for prisoners to engage in, but they are all unquestionably ethically righteous and ought to be protected rights. The National Lawyers Guild has endorsed the strike and has a network of lawyers (Prisoner Litigation Advocacy Network) actively working to defend strikers and expand their rights and freedom to protest.
2. The demands are broad and ambitious. This is intentional. The strike will occur from August 21s – September 9. The goal is not to bring prisons and decision-makers to the table for immediate relief within that time period, but rather to use those weeks to demonstrate power and advance the demands as a platform for nation-wide change. This is a strong next move in a long struggle.
3. The prisoners are aware of the risk, and need us to defend them. Some people might be cautious about endorsing the strike, fearing that they will incite prisoners to take action that invites severe retaliation. Resistance within prison is constant, often spontaneous and individual, action taken as desperate last resort. Reprisals and repression, including violence from guards are also constant. When prisoners coordinate and take action together it not only makes their efforts more likely to succeed, it also helps protect them from facing the full force of reprisal individually. When outside support is shining a light on the issue, it stays guards’ hand. Your endorsement is less likely to incite participation, than to protect prisoners who have already chosen to participate (or will upon hearing about the strike).
Please fill out the form and join the list of endorsers for the strike.

Local Artists Mount Impromptu Public Performance at Bastille Days

July 14, 2018 [Milwaukee, WI] – A group of Milwaukee performance artists descend tonight upon the annual Bastille Day’s crowd, promoting positive body awareness clad only in latex body paint, and generally embodying the spirit of the 17th century revolutionaries through their performances. Their message is delivered through historical re-enactments, clever costuming, and public rally cries to “storm the local Bastille” (Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility).

More information about Milwaukee’s own Bastille can be found at

For live updates and photos from the event: #StormBastilleDaysMKE


De-carcerating Wisconsin makes sense

Mark Rice, JustLeadershipUSA campaign coordinator of #CLOSEmsdf on Devil’s Advocate Radio Program:
Despite Minnesota and Wisconsin having similar crime rates, Wisconsin has consistently incarcerated people at twice the rate of Minnesota for decades. Our goals are to decarcerate Wisconsin and close the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. And the national goal of JustLeadershipUSA is to cut U.S. correctional population in half by 2030. Other states are successfully de-carcerating and reinvesting funds to build stronger healthier communities. States that have decreased prison populations are also seeing a decrease in crime rates.
Most of Wisconsin’s Democratic candidates for governor are coming on board and recognizing this as a winning issue and calling for an end to policies and practices that drive mass supervision and mass incarceration.
Listen to the entire July 9 Devil’s Advocate program with Mark Rice here:

Press advisory: SUICIDE ATTEMPT REPORTED AT MILWAUKEE SECURE DETENTION FACILITY (MSDF): #CLOSEmsdf Campaign Demands Answers as Temperature Inside the Facility Reaches a Dangerous 100 Degrees


FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Rice 608-843-0171 or Alan Schultz 414-366-9116


MILWAUKEE – The #CloseMSDF campaign, a coalition of local, state & national organizations calling for the closure of Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), are asking for answers to reports coming from inside of MSDF that a detainee being housed on the 7th floor attempted to hang himself late Sunday afternoon.

MSDF Leadership released the following statement:

“It was reported to #CLOSEmsdf organizers beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening that a suicide attempt had taken place inside of MSDF. As temperatures outside hovered around 90 degrees this weekend the temperatures inside of MSDF were over 100 degrees. #CLOSEmsdf organizers were monitoring the heat inside MSDF with the help of detainees and their families, when the report was made regarding a suicide attempt. MSDF and the Department of Corrections Leadership have yet to address the issue.”

“We ask the public to contact your State Elected Officials including the Governor and demand transparency regarding this and other suicide attempts within MSDF. 62% of the detainees inside of MSDF suffer from a mental health issue.  The inhumane conditions inside of MSDF do not promote best practices in supporting people suffering from mental health issues and instead, further deteriorate peoples’ mental state.”

“Best practices in mental health dictate that the least restrictive setting be used to treat people with mental illness. #CLOSEmsdf denounces the conditions at MSDF – a building constructed inside of a building with poor ventilation, extreme heat, no outdoor recreation, no windows, 22 hours of lockdown a day, poor medical treatment and no in-person visits. We demand the state take steps to close this facility and move detainees with mental health issues into proper placements in the community.”

“It should not take people attempting suicide or dying to get humane treatment. It is #CLOSEmsdf’s position that this facility should be shut down and that individuals needing treatment or programming to assist with their success on probation/parole should be allowed to do so in the least restrictive setting in their community where their support system is the strongest and they have the greatest chance for success not in a facility that mimics continual solitary confinement.”

“We demand that Wisconsin’s elected leaders including the Governor address mental health needs of MSDF detainees and provide relief immediately due to the inhumane conditions due to life-threatening conditions, especially for people with mental health issues.

For more information on the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign please visit