How the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism investigated prison-abuse allegations

The state Department of Corrections released hundreds of pages of records but denied access to other materials, including videos and internal complaints.

The DOC, citing security reasons, denied the Center’s requests to interview inmates and take photographs in the segregation unit at Waupun, or videotape an inmate at another facility. It redacted from the released records references to inmate injuries and the physical or mental health treatment they received. It categorically denied access to formal complaints filed by inmates against guards, although some released records do convey the inmates’ perspective. And it denied access to video recordings to various incidents, saying this would compromise security. Continue Reading

National access advocates coming to Madison

Wisconsin’s status as an open government hot spot is reflected in the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s decision to host its annual conference here this month. The 2012 FOI Summit, also held in collaboration with the Society of Professional Journalists, will be held at the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club in downtown Madison on May 11 and 12. Continue Reading

Dick Wheeler, knower-in-chief

Dick Wheeler, whose career was dedicated, first and foremost, to the Public’s Right to Know, died of a heart attack Nov. 11, as he was preparing for work. On April 25 he will be honored posthumously in Madison with the Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award, presented by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Madison professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Continue Reading