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 https://closemsdf.org/

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 closemsdf.org

Marking progress and renewing the call to action at the 1-year mark of the fight to close Wisconsin’s torture chamber

The forces and friends driving the Campaign to Close the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility gathered last night at Hephatha Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, to mark their successes in the fight to close this sweat box unfit for humans.

MSDF is an irredeemable torture chamber. It represents how mass supervision fuels mass incarceration. It was built to warehouse people alleged to have violated rules of probation or parole – infractions like missing an appointment or being late for curfew. MSDF is taking lives and destroying communities

This campaign has shifted the conversation in Wisconsin. Since we launched the campaign a year ago:

  • 5,000 people have signed the petition
  • 8 candidates for governor publicly supported the idea at a forum attended by 700 people in Waukesha last month
  • 40 coalition local, state and national partners committed to working with us
  • Other righteous campaigns nationwide (for example, #closeRikers, #closetheCreek) are making great strides against similar inhumane institutions

Last night at the 1-year anniversary event, people witnessed to their experiences of wrongful incarceration by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and coalition members stated their commitments, plans and demands. Continue reading “Marking progress and renewing the call to action at the 1-year mark of the fight to close Wisconsin’s torture chamber”



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. https://www.facebook.com/events/281843855877266

#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.


WI governor candidates agree Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility must close

8 out of the 10 leading candidates for governor in Wisconsin endorsed the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign at a WISDOM Forum on June 11th. Visit http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12437 to watch the forum.
The monthly #CLOSEmsdf Campaign Coalition meeting will be on Tuesday, June 19th at 6 pm at Suite 108 of the Welford Sanders Enterprise Center (2821 N. 4th St., Milwaukee, WI 53212). Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2062639717084054/ to RSVP. The agenda will be sent out soon.

gov forum 6.11.18

May First

IWWdrawing.smlr.gif.pagespeed.ce.tJRGHqhX7kBy Alan Schultz

Whether you recognize May 1st as “May Day,” “International Workers Day,“ or “A Day With Out Latinxs & Immigrants,” you’ll find revolutionary change at the heart of it. May 1st, 1886, is largely recognized for a nationwide strike called for by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (the precursor to the American Federation of Labor) in their demand for an 8 hour work day. In this era it was not uncommon to have children of elementary school age working 10 to 16 hour days 7 days a week. 400,000 people took to the streets in Chicago on May Day alone.

Tragedy struck though, on May 3rd, 1886, when, during a massive rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago a bomb was thrown into a crowd of police officers. One died immediately, 6 others were also fatally wounded, and another 70 or so were injured. The police opened fired on the rally goers and to this day there remains no knowledge of how many lives were lost in total. In the aftermath, a political witch-hunt was conducted. Eight men -all anarchists or socialists- were arrested and tried in front of a rigged court. Four of the men were executed by hanging, one committed suicide while in prison, and the last three were pardoned six years after their conviction in 1887. Of the four men hanged, one was Albert Parsons, a white radical and prominent political figure, who was married to Lucy Parsons, the famous black/chicana/indigenous anarchist, who later went on to be part of the inaugural founding of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905. Continue reading “May First”

Get involved in CLOSE MSDF Campaign Launch Anniversary Event!

What:    #CLOSEmsdf Campaign Launch Anniversary Event

When:   Thursday, June 28, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where:  Hephatha Lutheran Church, 1720 W. Locust St., Milwaukee, WI 53206

Visit https://actionnetwork.org/events/closemsdf-campaign-launch-anniversary-event-get-involved to RSVP for this event.

Join us in celebration of the progress we have made since the initial launch of the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign in June of 2017! Joining the event will be a distinguished panel of #CLOSEmsdf Campaign leaders to discuss the momentum that has been built while explaining the work that needs to be done in 2018 and beyond!

2018 will be a crucial year for the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign. We need your help guarantee that this year will be remembered as a year of historic change. Join us and get involved in the movement for justice and equity!MSDF_Projection.jpg

Ventae Parrow: It’s unconstitutional, inhumane and unjust

Ventae“It’s unconstitutional, inhumane, unjust and also absolutely unacceptable for a prison, in the inner city of Milwaukee or anywhere else, to be overly populated with people who haven’t been convicted of crimes. It is inhumane to have three people reside in a cell designed for only one person; be exposed to cruel and unusual punishment; deprived of natural air, sunlight, human contact, appropriate health care, dental care and mental health care; and denied accurate legal assistance, law library access and opportunities to effectively rehabilitate and be providers.” #CLOSEmsdf Campaign Leader Ventae Parrow

#CLOSEmsdf Campaign Leader Ventae Parrow, who was recently detained at MSDF for nine months, understands that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Ventae recently argued that it is time to shut down MSDF and build communities in a piece that he wrote for Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Click here to read the piece.

2018 is a going to be a crucial year for the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign. We need your help to ensure that this year will be remembered as a historic year for change. Join us at the next monthly #CLOSEmsdf Campaign meeting in Milwaukee on Tuesday, April 17th at 6 pm to get involved with the movement for equity and justice.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1934974013391756/ to RSVP and for information.

If you do not live near Milwaukee but want to get involved, please contact Mark Rice at mark@justleadershipusa.org to learn about how you can help advance the campaign .