July 20, 2014

40 allegations of guards abusing inmates at Waupun Correctional Institution

Waupun Correctional Institution has a drawn a large number of complaints from inmates alleging mistreatment by guards.

Lauren Fuhrmann / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Waupun Correctional Institution, July 2014.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has identified 40 allegations of physical or psychological abuse by correctional officers against inmates in Waupun’s segregation unit since 2011. The allegations, involving 33 inmates, allege extreme mistreatment, including being beaten and stomped on while handcuffed behind their backs.

What follows are all the allegations compiled by the Center’s Bill Lueders.

Some notes on the fields below:
• If an inmate has convictions from multiple counties, the most frequent is listed first.
• “Officers named” refers to those named in complaints or incident reports. Excluded are some supervisory and administrative personnel not involved in the incidents.
• The status for federal court cases was last checked July 9, 2014.


About

Bill Lueders

Bill Lueders is a reporter, editor and Money and Politics Project director for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

  • TS Eliot

    Before riling up the public about alleged mistreatment of inmates in WI Correctional facilities, please carefully consider the convictions and continued violence of the aforementioned inmates while incarcerated. PREA and institutional policies educate and hold accountable correctional officers for violations. Public watchdogs have little to no insight into the daily workings and dangers of correctional work.

  • Ward Craft

    Having worked in the business for almost 22 years now, I can say that when an allegation of Inmate abuse surfaces it is definitely investigated by the prison management (and that has always been the case at the three facilities I’ve worked at over my career)

    As the author of this article states these allegations are mainly from the WCI Segregation unit, yet he doesn’t report word one in his article that the seg unit has video cameras recording the wings and any cell-entries are video recorded so there is a visual record of the process.

    The Department Of Corrections has been handtied largely because of the changes that occurred when “Truth In Sentencing” was implemented. Prior to that law being enacted DOC had tools (loss of good time), now that is gone and there is no big motivation for the problematic inmates to comply with the policies & procedures of the Institutions and their Staff.

    DOC needs more of everything, more resources for programming (i.e AODA, SOTP, CGIP etc.) but rather than discuss types of issues that can be worked on by the various workgroups and political committees .. you chose to take the easy path and bash correctional officers without providing any actual evidence of wrongdoing.

    DOC does have room for allot of improvement, and instead of accusing people without evidence why don’t the author and his reader champion the cause and have their state legislature devote more funds to psychiatric care, treatment and programming needs.

    And for those Correctional Staff that walk the beat everyday .. keep your chin up, walk with pride and stay safe during your journey forward.

    • Bill Lueders

      As a matter of fact, the article does mention videos, in Part 2 and in the sidebar about how the report was put together. From Part 2: “The state DOC, in response to a records request, provided information on some incidents. But it refused to release records regarding inmate injuries, saying this was confidential medical information. It also denied access to internal complaints filed by inmates against guards and videos taken during some alleged incidents of abuse, saying this would jeopardize security.”

  • http://Wisconsinwatch.org Lori S.

    My support is for the correction officers. This article was of high interest TO ME because I had worked with children and adults with behavior disorders. This article seemed slanted in favor of inmates.

    A corrections officer stated the problem simply. The “carrot or reward” that staff had before is removed and there has been nothing else put in place. I question the effect that weeks, months and years of seclusion have on inmates.

    Abuse is a strong allegation and ought NEVER be condoned. Equally nobody ought ever be assumed guilty without hearing both sides. Folks that “watchdog” these complaints may be more objective if they walked side by side in the boots of the correctional officers for several shifts.

    I experienced personally the speed in which outbursts occur. Adrenalin rushes through their body. It is beyond frightening what happens if only one person is available. The response from staff MUST be exact and automatic for the safety of the correctional officers and the inmates. Riots occur easily.

    The show “Lock Up” has a crew in the prison to show it as it is. When inmates lash out, the show gets up close. Officers are trained to respond in precise cycle. Takedowns were shown and injuries may happen if the inmate resists. Since the nose on a face sticks out blood will often be present.

    I believe these incidents happened but not as abuse. Inmates may find it more helpful to follow rules.

  • Curious One

    Sorry, but Lueders did not accuse anyone of anything. He reported accusations and what information he was able to learn about those accusations from the tight lipped Dept. of Corrections. And of course the guys in the Seg unit aren’t there because they are model prisoners…but they are also in the “best position” to be abused (often out of sight) by some overly aggressive staff that undoubtedly do exist. Undoubtedly the vast majority of prison staffers are decent people dealing with some average prisoners and some very tough/rotten prisoners. The story still needs to be told and the bad guards need to caught and thrown out (or thrown in jail themselves). You make good points about what advocacy might accomplish, including getting rid of mandatory minimums/ bring back ‘good time’…it should be the prison guards who sing that song the loudest to our idiot legislators who care only what will get them votes (” I am tough on crime!”), instead of caring about the true ramifications of the laws they pass.

  • Roby

    I hate to just disagree but wow man your article is far from the truth!!!!!!! I worked there for about a year and staff are great people who cared about how they treated staff and others. Inmates lie about that stuff all the time, trust me I’m a black male officer and if you asked a seg inmate he would say i beat him too. Know what kind of people you’re dealing with before you post an article and besides inmates are people but their mindset is totally different if you disagree then maybe you might just rob a bank or something if not then you know what i mean then. Sorry for the typos phone

    • Don’tbelieveverythingiread

      Why would all these people be lying when they know nothing is going to be done. Some of these guys are telling the truth. Some maybe not. One thing we do know is the guards are not all perfect either. Some of them maybe lying. We don’t know. We were not there!!!!!!

  • Darla Lorenz

    Who is to say, these inmates are not causing their OWN injuries? I sure wouldn’t put it past any one of them. Many of those in segregation SHOULD be thankful they are NOT in general population. Chances are their demise would have come sooner than later leaving our Prison Systems liable for not affording the necessary protection for these inmates.
    My dearest friend was murdered, multiple stab wounds by her long time boyfriend. He left her lifeless, cold body, covered with her blood, to be found by her beautiful, fragile, 13 year old daughter.
    He is in Segregtion. In my heart, I have no doubt if he were to be in General Population, his life would be snuffed out. We as family and friends lost a mother, daughter, best friend, awesome Domestic Violence Co-Worker, the list goes on.
    We want to know he sits in this small cubicle 23 hours each day much as the way our beautiful Trish lies in her casket for all eternity.
    There is a very good reason these men are in segregation. I ask you, I implore upon you, to leave sleeping dogs lie. There may or may not be abuse, figure it out, but please don’t change the system as it stands now!