A panel and participatory dialogue will explore successful outcomes across the state that divert and reduce jail populations and the ways these are, and can be, offered in Dane County. To hear opinions from residents and Subject Matter Experts, there will be breakout sessions to brainstorm issue and impact areas. Working from within our communities, we will explore how we are all affected by the jail, confinement and incarceration… and what we have the ability to do about it. Please join us!
A passionate group of WISDOM’s 11X15 supporters from around the state gathered at the Capitol Wednesday to protest the inhumane practice of solitary confinement. Along with pleas from MOSES’ own Rev. Jerry Hancock, Rev. Kate Edwards and President Carol Rubin, the crowd of nearly 200 people heard appalling testimony from parents whose children have endured dehumanizing torture for years at a time. The organizers and public were moved to then march on to deliver the Reform Now! brief to Governor Walker’s office. The brief calls for a private US Department of Justice investigation of the WI Department of Corrections and an immediate response in accordance with the United Nations policy that no individual is to be subject to such treatment in excess of 15 days, despite WI accounts of both juveniles and adults being confined for 23 hours a day, in some cases for up to 15 years.
Join MOSES and WISDOM in this fight by going into the makeshift solitary cell, located State Capitol steps in downtown Madison. If your congregation would like to host this structure in the future, please contact MOSES for more details. Also, see WISDOM’s 11×15 page for more coverage of the rally.
Join WISDOM’S 11×15 Campaign on
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The State Street Capitol Steps
The international community considers any more than 15 days in Solitary Confinement to be torture. Wisconsin regularly keeps people isolated for months, and even years. WISDOM and other supporters of the 11×15 Campaign for Safer, Healthier Communities will call on Wisconsin to join other states that are finding safe, humane, effective alternatives to solitary confinement, by presenting:
- Testimonials from people who have endured solitary confinement
- Statements from faith and community leaders calling for REFORM NOW
- A LIFE-SIZE REPLICA OF A SOLITARY CONFINEMENT CELL
Show your support for ending state-sponsored torture in Wisconsin.
For more information, contact David Liners, WISDOM Exec.Dir, at 414-736-2099
On Wednesday, August 20, WISDOM members from across the state gathered to speak out against the unjust and counterproductive practice of sending people to prison for “technical violations” of their parole or supervision. Click below to view a video on the event by Tim Coursen.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
Today, REFORM NOW in front of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (and please note that those are NOT real windows – it is only a facade made to LOOK like there are windows).
James H. Hall, Jr., the President of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP, speaking at the REFORM NOW action in front of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility.
Reverend Willie Brisco, President of MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope), speaking today at the REFORM NOW action in front of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility.
Delivering WISDOM’s latest letter to Governor Walker to staff members at the state office building in Milwaukee. Speaking truth to power about unnecessary revocations and faulty GPS monitoring.
Tish Minor of Milwaukee speaks to the crowd about the NAACP and Moral Mondays.
Dr. Rose M. Scott, of Prison Action Milwaukee, speaks to the crowd. Dr. Scott is also Faculty Emeritus in Teacher Education at University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Two effective and very experienced community organizers: David Liners, the Executive Director of WISDOM, and Rev. Joe Ellwanger, who has been working for social justice since the days in which he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, many diverse interfaith groups and justice advocates gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol for WISDOM’s press conference and to speak to the State Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Speakers from organizations across the state, including Madison’s own MOSES contingent, conveyed passion and knowledge as they unveiled REFORM NOW, a campaign to illuminate failures, share stories, offer solutions and call for accountability at the DOC. More than 125 people directly impacted by prison injustices, including those recently-released from years in prison, the spouses, children and parents of individuals currently incarcerated, and those who have chosen to stand in solidarity for change were present to work for a better future.
MOSES, or Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality and Solidarity, will continue to play an important role, along with all of the statewide WISDOM affiliates, as we work on criminal justice issues in the months to come. From July through October, REFORM NOW will release briefs on revocations and GPS monitoring, compassionate release, and solitary confinement, culminating in the release of a report on the Wisconsin Department of Corrections in November of 2014.In addition, dedicated MOSES members and task forces will explore the impact of a proposed new jail and will continue to work for treatment alternatives and diversion.
WISDOM is a statewide network of 160 congregations representing 19 faith traditions, and it serves as the convener of the 11×15 campaign to reduce the state prison population from 22,000 to 11,000 by 2015. To support this effort, MOSES welcomes supporters, advocates and contributors to continue the conversation for creating more just and equitable communities throughout Wisconsin. For additional involvement opportunities and information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see the first REFORM NOW brief:
Check out all the press generated from this event below or on our Facebook page:
And here are just some examples of where the AP story reached:
–Wisconsin Public Radio — They read AP story this morning, even though Gil Halstead covered it. Not sure why …
–AP story in the Green Bay paper — http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2014/07/09/church-coalition-seeks-wisconsin-prison-reforms/12414651/
-AP story in Star Tribune — http://www.startribune.com/local/266457071.html
-AP story in Beaver Dam paper –– http://www.wiscnews.com/bdc/news/local/article_6eebbb3a-4dfe-5f9c-a6cf-8dbe14512826.html
–AP story appeared at Fox affiliate station in Minneapolis — http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/25977637/church-coalition-launches-prison-reform-campaign
-AP story appeared in San Francisco paper!
CBS affiliate in Madison (Jessica Arp was the reporter at the press conference) — http://www.channel3000.com/news/26872858
ABC affiliate WKOW in Madison (which went to all their affiliates in the state; e.g. I saw this on the LaCrosse page, too) — http://www.wkow.com/story/25981292/2014/07/09/wisdom-kicks-off-reform-now-campaign
Interview w/ Jerry at MKE public radio — http://wuwm.com/post/faith-based-network-demands-wisconsin-adjust-its-corrections-system
A front page in Beaver Dam!
Wisconsin Eye –– http://www.wiseye.org/Programming/VideoArchive/EventDetail.aspx?evhdid=8919 (This shows the entire press conference.)
WPR ‘Central Time’ – a truly great 10 minute interview with Jerry Hancock – explains the issues really clearly – http://www.wpr.org/listen/613606
Short report by Gil Halsted of WPR – with audio fr Jerry & Kate – http://www.wpr.org/listen/613571
Join members of WISDOM and MOSES on the steps of Grace Episcopal Church on the square at 1pm on Tuesday, December 17. The group will head to the Governors office to raise this issue. Read on for the press release:
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners in Wisconsin’s state prison system are being held far beyond the time their sentencing judge envisioned. Nearly all people sentenced to prison before the advent of “Truth In Sentencing” on January 1, 2000 are eligible for parole. But, parole is now only rarely granted. Many who have been in prison for fifteen, twenty, or more years have done everything possible to comply with the conditions for their release, yet have encountered a system that makes their release impossible.
The WISDOM 11×15 Campaign
will hold a rally and press event
December 17, at 1:00 pm at
Grace Episcopal Church
116 W. Washington Ave, Madison.
Immediately following the rally, the group will proceed to the Governor’s office to call on him to direct the Department of Corrections and the Parole Commission to enforce the law as it was intended when these men and women were sentenced. They will further call upon him to launch an investigation and provide a public report about how many people eligible for parole are in the state prison system, and what the prospects are for their earned release.
The rally will include statements by family members of prisoners who have been caught in the bureaucratic nightmare. Others will address the issue from the perspective of the faith community, and community safety.
“We are still not even sure of how many inmates, sentenced under the “Old Law” are eligible for parole. Every one of them deserves at least a chance to comply with the plans drawn up by the parole board,” says WISDOM President Sandy Milligan. “As a faith community, we will not accept that human beings can just be forgotten and lost in the maze of a bureaucracy. As citizens, we expect our government institutions, including the prison system, to be accountable and to be transparent about their plans for these men and women”
“Many of these are people who have already spent more than half their lives in prison. When the judge sentenced them, she or he assumed that if they worked hard in prison to straighten their lives out, they would get a chance to earn their release. A lot of them have kept their end of the bargain, yet they are being held in prison because of politics and bureaucratic bungling, and it is costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year,” says Rev. Jerry Hancock of the Madison-based Prison Ministry Project.
Rev. Joe Ellwanger of Milwaukee sees it as a waste. “We’re wasting money and we’re wasting lives. It’s inhumane to keep some people year after year, long after any useful purpose is served by their incarceration, and when there is no legal reason to keep them. To add injury to insult, Wisconsin taxpayers are paying $30,000 to $40,000 for each of them every year. Imagine if we put that money to good use!”
WISDOM is a network of faith-based community organizations in the state of Wisconsin. It includes more than 150 congregations of 19 different faith traditions. WISDOM leads the “11×15 Campaign for Safer, Healthier Communities.” The 11×15 Campaign draws its name from its belief that Wisconsin could safely reduce its prison population by half – to 11,000 – by the end of 2015. For more information, please see www.prayforjusticeinwi.org.
Attached is the statement 11×15 leaders intend to deliver to Governor Walker on December 17.