Peggy West, Milwaukee County supervisor
MSDF should never have been built in the first place. It has everything to do with nickles in pockets at the expense of human beings. It is shameful. It’s the worst expenditure of tax dollars in Wisconsin I have ever seen.
Rev. Willie Brisco, president, WISDOM
WISDOM supports the closing of MSDF because the facility is not suited for the housing nor the care for the citizens that are detained there. The poor ventilation, the lack of adequate medical care for the mentally ill as well as the design that promotes sensory deprivation. We believe in humane treatment of all citizens within the state institution in order to promote safe and healthy communities.
Khalil Cumberbatch, JustLeadershipUSA
The #CloseMSDF campaign is one that focuses on a local prison in Milwaukee, but has national implications. As a country we are becoming more attuned to the factors that lead to our over-reliance on incarceration, the horrific conditions that exist in our jails and prisons, and the barriers that follow people after they are released. And we have people who have been through these experiences to thank for this new awareness. Now it is time to follow the lead of formerly incarcerated people in changing our failed criminal justice system and ensuring that it is transformed to align with our values of fairness and compassion. As an organization founded on the principle that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution, JustLeadershipUSA is proud to build on the success of our #CLOSErikers campaign and support EX-Prisoners Organizing (EXPO) in launching their #CloseMSDF campaign.
Black & Pink Milwaukee
In a state that incarcerates Black and Native men* at the highest rates in the country, and in a city that prioritizes policing over investment in communities of color, the #CloseMSDF campaign is an urgent and vital project. Black & Pink Milwaukee is grateful for the opportunity to support Ex-Prisoners Organizing coalitional efforts to shut down Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility and all efforts that erode the vastness of the prison industrial complex. We look forward to the space #CloseMSDF has the potential to open for imagining new, bold forms of accountability and relating to each other beyond detention walls in Milwaukee. . . . One of the many violences of the prison system is the erasure of the identities of incarcerated people who are transgender, gender non-conforming, or intersex. This erasure is reflected in officially reported statistics.
Ben Turk, IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee)
For IWOC, shutting down MSDF is just the start. The entire Wisconsin DOC, Milwaukee Police Department and American criminal legal system are shot through with racially targeted violence, terror and control. We’re here to confront and do away with the whole damn system in order to liberate the working class.
Charles Hampton, board member, EXPO of Wisconsin
Conditions at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) are out of step with Wisconsin values. Not only have conditions at the prison been deplorable for years, but the very notion of locking up people struggling with parole and mental health issues is at odds with common sense approaches to justice.
William Harrell, board member, EXPO of Wisconsin
The inhumane treatment at MSDF has not been addressed in the nearly 20 year existence of the facility! This is cruel and unusual punishment, period!
Mary Devitt, Black Lives Matter to Wisconsin Unitarian Universalists
We support the coalition to close the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), a failed part of Wisconsin’s prison system with inhumane conditions. This failure is fueled by ill-conceived crimeless revocation policies and lack of investment in proven alternatives to incarceration that lift people up and build communities. We stand with the coalition to close MSDF by urging state legislators to reduce Wisconsin’s rate of incarceration and shut down MSDF.
Rev. David Kraemer, president, SOPHIA
MSDF was meant to be for temporary detention, but people have been subjected to years of incarceration and solitary confinement. Most of the people inside are there for crimeless revocation (breaking rules of parole), and some are held for months while allegations are investigated.
I believe Wisconsin is better than this. If we must have a prison system, we must demand that it be humane, that it treat people with dignity, that it lift people up rather than break them. It must also be built on policies proven to reduce prison populations and overcrowding.
That’s why SOPHIA is working with state legislators to expand funding for treatment alternatives to incarceration, eliminate the use of incarceration for crimeless revocations, reduce excessive sentences, and give people a fair chance to be released on parole. And that’s why SOPHIA supports the coalition of more than 30 organizations seeking to shut down the inhumane Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. From letter to editor, Waukesha Freeman, Dec. 15, 2017. See full letter here.
Rev. Suzelle Lynch, Black Lives Matter to Wisconsin Unitarian Universalists
It is soul killing and immoral the kinds of conditions that people are subjected to at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. Crimeless revocation is immoral. We are committed to the work to #CLOSEmsdf.