On Sunday November 25, 2018 two prisoners who were fed up with modified lockdown status that allows them less than an hour per day out of their crowded cells staged a protest to get the attention of the warden. They barricaded themselves in the day room. After being sprayed with pepper spray and threatened by staff for 30 minutes, they surrendered peacefully.
We were contacted by concerned family members of people held at MSDF and looked into the incident immediately. Officials reported that the disruption was brief and no one was seriously injured. Then we filed an open records request (excerpted here) to identify what happened and learn the names of people involved. We then wrote to them and are finally able to release this account of the protest one of them wrote.
We learned that both participants were put in the hole for 120 days, which means they’ll be released back to general population soon. We hope to hear more from them, and more importantly, to hear that the DOC is taking action to reduce prison population and end the harmful practice of modified lockdown.
Yes, I was one of the inmates who barricaded myself in the recreation room. The incident took place at 7:15pm and ended at 7:35pm on 11/25/2018. Captain morris and other officers came to 7A to talk to me and the other inmate. We explained to captain morris that we are tired of being mistreated, Lied to we are tired of the doc taking the little we have and never giving it back, we are tired of being treated less than human.
We are tired of being lied to or brush off everytime we address the warden, unit manager or social worker as well as captains, sergeants or other correctional officer. They always pass the buck down the line to the next person until you just give up trying to get an answer. We also explained to captain morris that we are tired of our privileges being taken away from us because MSDF doesn’t have enough staff to run MSDF on weekends. We locked down the recreation room to only get the attention of the warden as well as the other staff to look into the matters that I tried manytimes to address through request forms as well as ICE [Inmate Complaint Examiner], only to hear justification to the matter of weekends being taken.
Captain morris put me and the other inmate at risk when he sprayed OC spray [pepper spray] cell buster in the recreation room only 5 minutes after talking to us with no asking me or other inmate if we would have needed medical attention. I was taken to segregation that day, I was given 120 days in segregation and I am set to be released March 30, 2019 for this incident on 11/25/18.
We did no harmful act, only expressed our concerns to Captain morris. On 8/23/18 MSDF unit manager for 7th and 8th floor advised us inmates on all units in MSDF that we are going to be lockdown on Saturday and Sunday starting 8/28/18 until further notice. When I talked to many captains about when our dayroom would resume back to it’s original times of day room, they advised me that not anytime soon.
I also asked correctional officers the same question about when we get our dayroom back on weekends, they advised me that they can’t hire enough staff to keep original order. Officers aren’t showing up for work because they are overworked and MSDF is under staff. Officers are working double shifts. Inmates are now being locked down on week days as well with only a few hours out of cell. Inmates also have to eat meals in rooms when we are on lock down because of shortage of staff.
MSDF is run like a MAX institution when MSDF is labeled a medium institution. We are the only WI institution that doesn’t get outside recreation, or shine light. This is a holding facility for extended supervision parole and programs, but inmates are housed up to two years here when this place is a like a county jail facility, anytime an inmate has more than one year and one day, an inmate is to be sent to DOC institution with the privilege of contact visits, sunlight, outside recreation and exercise to maintain health. MSDF breaks its own DAI policy with justification.
There is more, I will write again.