Articles Addressing COVID in
WI Prisons (early 2021)
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actions and analysis from a bad place. —
COVID Spreader Shakedown at Racine Cl
Stimulus Obstruction in Wisconsin Prisons
Sarah Cooper’s COVID Spreader Shakedowns
These articles were originally published at ABOLISHmke.com_ in February/March,
2021. The online version has embedded links to sources. We put some info from some
of those sources inas footnotes for readers who cannot get online.
Contact us for more information or
to submit an article of your own!
actions and analysis from a bad place.
"We will conti
nue to operate the
facilities in a safe and secure manner.
This is a multi-pronged effort which
to prevent the spread of the virus and
continuing with security protocols
uch as conduc
ys later, RCI
was hit with
25 people die
number is questionably low
ting searches ina safe
anner. | trust this answers your
at email came on March 2, three
was packing people
n gym bleachers for two hours
while going through their cells.
Under the previous DAI head, Makda
Fessahaye, a memo went out to all
recommending that |
they cease shakedowns to protect |
against the pandemic spreading.
Despite these precautions, the DOC
infecting more than half? of the |
killing an unknown
number. The DOC admits to letting
of COVID, but that
high exposure rate.
Sarah Cooper is on track to get the
rest of the
infected, and thanks to suspicious
reporting and lack of accountability in
the DOC, we may never know how
many more will die due to her carelessness.
Paul Kemper em ie ATA
3 Link to Wisconsin Watch article: ‘He shouldn’t have had to die’: COVID-19 infects half of Wisconsin
inmates, five times the overall state rate
4 Link to ABOLISHmke article about the DOC’s covid19 death and infection numbers not adding upwell.
der Shaked t Racine Cl
7 cup CATO ASTION TS vce Leama <p CALL TO ACTION TO COVID Spreader Shakedown at Racine
1 “+ BLACK & PINK-MKE MEMBER Sy “+ BLACK & PINK-MKE MEMBER
| February 26, 2021 | ABOLISHmke.com
Staff at the prison in Racine
RCI) are forcing captives to
congregate in the gym, and
then going cell to cell |
spreading covidl9 by
tossing everyone's property.
They do not change gloves
between cells, and at least
one of the tossed units has
The DOC has always engaged in invasive property searches. They have a real gone on isolation
zeal for stealing people's property, including their money’. During a pandemic quarantine.
and extended lockdown such practices are especially cruel and unnecessary.
Outside of the obvious risk of spreading the disease, the property seizures are Coronavirus is still present in Racine, and at RCI. The pandemic hasn't magically
also depriving people of items they really need. stopped spreading via surfaces, so guards rifling through everything in an
infected but asymptomatic person's cell will carry virus particles to every cell
With visitation cancelled, typewriters and tablets are needed to write letters and they shake down subsequently. Read the details about the shakedowns in the
emails to loved ones outside. These devices also provide people with a way to f
Black and Pink Milwaukee did a call-in campaign to help a member keep his typewriter.
Warden Paul Kemper standing outside his prison.
nessage we got from someone held at RCI at the end of this post.
pass lockdown time and get their mind off the risk of COVID exposure and -
sickness. Shakedowns also confiscate extra linens from people, but those linens The DOC's terrible policies allowed major outbreaks, infecting more than half of
help people who can’t afford overpriced sweatshirts to keep warm in the cold the people they hold captive. Resuming property shakedowns and congregating
Mintentaonthe: people in gyms is a good way to ensure that the remainder also get infected, or
that people who recovered get re-infected.
t took Sarah Cooper, head of the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) a few days aa aa
to reply to our call to action. When she did, her email was a classic bureaucratic HEN BES the DOC has put facilities on lockdown and done unit-wide cell
non-response. “As the new DAI Administrator,” she wrote, "I'd like to searches after a significant security incident or the discovery of contraband. This
acknowledge your position on this issue. I’d also like reassure you we are sha ecown does nohebpes ee be inspired by such an event, but is just being
committed protecting the health and safety of people in our care and our staff.” done to bring people into conformity with new property limit rules. That means,
[sic] they are risking everyone's lives to enforce petty DOC rules about how many
: towels or blankets captives are allowed. Our contact said:
We wrote back, asking her directly if there were still shakedowns occurring and
explaining that, “If you're searching people's cells during a pandemic to enforce we are being put at serious risk over NON serious issues. having
aay ; ; too much allowed property is not a threat to the safety or security of
property limits, you cannot claim a commitment to people’s health and safety. : ;
¢ ¢ ae ene es 5 le’ the prison. in all the years I’ve been incarcerated I’ve never heard of
You're putting enforcement of a rule about towels and sheets above people's a major unit shakedown to ensure inmates didn’t have too much
lives.” We politely asked her to, “please answer my question and address the
allowed property, especially at a time like this.”
public's concern with more than empty reassurances.” Here’s her response:
2 Link to ABOLISHmke article on stimulus payments, in this zine.
Page 8 Page 1
We've also heard that a memo regarding these property limits went out at the
facilities, if they aren’t already.
memo they sent about safe
emper at RCI, has his staf
Unfortunately, the reformers a
comply with their directives unl
evin Carr likes to position him
STOP THE SHAKEDOWNS.
Please join us by writing complaints.
An admin at the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) said the sha
f disregarding his bosses’ sa
Email the RCI warden, DAI head, and DOC secretary:
prison in Oshkosh (OSCI). This memo likely went to all facilities across the
system, so we're afraid that similar shakedowns will occu
r in these other
edown violates a
covid practices, so at least one Warden, Paul
fe practice rules.
t the top of the DOC will not require wardens to
ess they receive written complai
self as a reformer, but he’s clearly not pro-active
and needs to be continually pushed into doing the right thing.
Email DOC officials and demanding they
Sarah Cooper’s COVID Spreader Shakedowns
| March 10, 2021 | ABOLISHmke.com
Two weeks ago AbolishMKE
broke a story about cell searches
at the Racine prison (RCI)
preceding new COVID cases and
a quarantine. We sent the story
to reporters (only Wisconsin
Examiner seems to have picked
it up) and asked readers to
contact DOC officials
demanding an end to cell
searches, or “shakedowns.”
Sarah Cooper, head of the
Division of Adult
ao ay wu Mies
Make your message personal, if you
have time. Here is a suggested script:
(DAI) responded instead
e from someone
9:30pm on March 5 for
d forced to sit tog
while guards went throug
Contacts at other faciliti
Institutions DAI boss Sarah Cooper
with more and worse shakedowns. According
t of their cells at
a surprise shakedown. Captives were brought to the
held at RCI, staff pulled everyone ou
ether on the bleachers “thigh to thig
h the cell bloc
es have confirmed that cell searc
for two hours
touching everyone's property.
hes and st
enforcement of property
system. Someone held at
get searched while they a
imitations are happe
the Waupun prison
re out taking showers
ning across the Wisconsin
WCl) wrote that their cel
or making phone calls.
The DOC must stop all
unnecessary cell searches,
A shakedown risks spreading =
covidl9 by forcing people to jm
move around, break social
distance, and most 22
importantly by surface spread SFA
through guards rifling through ZZ
their property. i Zig & BSS
STOP THE SHAKEDOWNS! The fence and control tower outside of RCI
In other facilities, contacts have reported the DOC increasing seizures of
os, and other property. The DOC gets away with
people from keeping thin
ifts from other captives on their way to
typewriters, tablets, radi
have been damaged or that were g
this stuff by ma
ing rules outlawing
s there any better explanation for this series of actions taken by the DOC and the A message from an RCI captive:
RS than that th impl t pri ing? “ ;
S than that they simply want prisoners to have less than nothing? From the at ust Wanted te NBAate all: Be WS Deen ee nasennarely
complicated filing process, to the fact that the DOC from the beginning insisted they've been doing major unit shakedowns, making everyone on
> 1 ut W 4 : 4
that their staff were “not allowed” to help prisoners file, to the the unit go to the gym. then going through the cells. | believe they
miscommunications about where the completed 1040s were to be sent, and did three units so far. one of the units they searched has gone back
now this—debit cards. A final “fuck you” to the people in Wisconsin prisons. on quarantine, the entire unit. this is Milwaukee unit and its an
- isolation quarantine not a regular quarantine. this in my view is no
he cruelty is the point, pure and simple. coincidence since staff rarely if ever change their gloves when doing
The IRS has since released a memo’ and sent information to the prison officials, cell to cell searches. they: look through Peoples garDages, eitty
clothes etc and just go on to the next cell with the same gloves.
but the damage is done. Many people have already sent their debit cards out to
loved ones or trusted advocates. The DOC will get their money from the
prisoners, regardless of policy or practices put in place from outside. i personally witnessed staff doing this during a recent electronics
sweep (looking for bogus TV's radios fans etc that aren't on an
inmates property list and were left to them by an inmate being
released) of the entire unit, and once again a extra linen sweep. in
that case looking for extra state issue clothing and bed sheets and
towels. Future health and lives are being put at risk over this as the
general prison population has not been vaccinated for covid, only
those 65 and over and many staff are refusing to get vaccinated out
: of some conspiratorial belief the vaccine will give them covid, cause
‘ ~ , them to die, become paralyzed, it may have a toxin in it or some
RELEASE other drug the drug companies want to secretly test on people, etc.,
THE MOST se PRISONS ad nauseum.
Sl VULNERABLE N OW bole ide i guess these impending searches are being impelled by a desire to
3 MR MTS oe see that all of an inmates personal property fits in three cardboard
: boxes, (not including electronics items and consumable
commissary) and all legal papers fit in one cardboard box. the boxes
they are referring make less space han we are actually allowed by
policy, but that’s a side issue. The point is that this is not something
that is serious enough to jeopardize peoples lives and health over,
especially when there is no limit to how many times someone can
get covid, and when they presently have a more dangerous and
contagious covid variant identified in Wisconsin. People should
now about what is going on. we are being put at serious risk over
ON serious issues. having too much allowed property is not a
threat to the safety or security of the prison. in all the years I’ve
been incarcerated l’ve never heard of a major unit shakedown to
ensure inmates didn't have too much allowed property, especially
at a time like this. if inmates possess everything the doc allows
them to have, they can still be over allowable space limitations.”
handling the next persons stuff with the same filthy gloves.
1 link to - caresactprisoncase.org/update-to-prison-officials-from-the-irs/
Page 6 Page 3
Stimulus Obstruction in Wisconsin Prisons
"The IRS sent me and others a debit card
and the prison won't process them or
place the funds on our accounts. They
02, 2021 | ABOLISHmke.com
of a check for our EIP 2 (S600) ( s)
require us to send the cards out and WY
find another way to get the funds ‘ WS
off them.” os
-Prisoner in the Wisconsin DOC | eal \
eA ae <4
For some background, initially the IRS declared that prisoners were ineligi
Case No. 20-cv-05309-PJH resulted in
the stimulus. They were still never elig
ble for the very first stimu
ut a second stimulus of $1200 in September 2020, Scholl v. Mn
a win for prisoners—Phy
For anyone who is unaware, prisoners are not allowed to have credit/debit cards
in their possession, so this is a particularly cruel act on the part of the IRS, who in
collaboration with the DOC has made the stimulus program a nightma
$1200 that many people received back in April, 2020. When the government
n, United States District Judge from the 9th Circuit made clea
prisoners are not exempt from receiving this stimulus.
Three groups of people leapt into action:
Prisoners reached out to all their lifelines in hopes of getting their hands
on this money.
Advocates mailed 1040s & instructions behind the walls en masse and
filed online for as many people as possible.
And the DOC and IRS worked tirelessly to ensure they would steal as
much of this money as possible.
ole process has been a slow and inconsistent one at best. Some p
filed as early as possible (end of September, 2020) and have still yet to receive
even their first payment. While others who filed around that time received their
stimulus money within a few weeks. In the beginning of January, the IRS said
one who had filed but not received the stimulus payment needed to re-
file, causing even more confusion. Some people “received” the payment, but had
most if not
all of the money taken, so they were unaware that
hnically been paid out. Without a reliable source to check the status of a
prisoner's stimulus payment, many people have filed again—hoping they were
t overlooked and that this will be the one that works.
s check was supposed to go entirely to the prisoners, unless they had back
d support. The DOC was able to take advantage of a loophole and recoup
back fees and other fines or charges levied against prisoners. | know two
prisoners who had nearly half of their first stimulus taken, another only ended up
dollar. These are all
people who don’t have children.
In light of this, adjustments to the language of the bill have been made and the
$600 stimulus will not be taken from people, as explained by a case clerk:
After closing these looph
money from the very beg
Specifically, Section 272(d)(1) of the Consolidated Appropriations
Act provides that the IRS may not apply reductions or offsets under
31 U.S.C. Sections 3716 and 37201A or 26 U.S.C. § 6402, including
for overdue state or federal taxes or child support. Additionally,
Section 272(d)(2) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act provides
that the second round of stimulus checks “shall not be transferable
or assignable, at law or in equity, and no applicable payment shall
be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other
legal process, or the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency
law.” This means that this round of stimulus checks may not be
garnished to cover overdue debts by federal or state prisons for any
up with anew scam. Debit Cards.
oles, the IRS—who didn’t want prisoners to get this
inning—and the DOC seemed to team up and come
For many, the $600 stimulus payment was sent in the form of a debit card, one
that they are not allowed
the card and asked who they would like the card to be sent to.
What happens next?
to have in their possession. They are presented with
The person who receives the card will go online to transfer the funds from the
card to the prisoner's account. This will cost a fee to the service transferring the
funds and then since this is no longer “stimulus” money, or it is indistinguishable
from any other deposit to a prisoner's account, the DOC can take their cut—
upwards of 35%.