Wisconsin has made a “culture shift” in its use of solitary confinement in prisons, eliminating it as punishment for minor rule infractions and cutting the time inmates spend in isolation for more serious offenses, Department of Corrections officials revealed in an interview granted as part of a legal settlement with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
Former inmate Talib Akbar says years spent in segregation in the Wisconsin prison system took a toll on his mind. Akbar now lives alone in a small RV that he parks around Madison while volunteering for Wisdom, a statewide faith-based group that campaigns against solitary confinement. The drawing Akbar made while confined in a cell […]
A state prison official called the new rules, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, “an excellent opportunity to focus on making positive changes” to the state’s use of solitary confinement.
Part 3: Ed Wall, secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections, asked whether segregation is being used for punitive reasons, when “what we really need from segregation is for inmates to have a corrective and rehabilitative experience.”
Part 2: Of the 40 inmate allegations against prison guards, Joseph Beahm is named in 28. A dozen inmate lawsuits since 2011 accuse Beahm of physical or psychological abuse.
Part 1: 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.
Brief synopses of inmate allegations of abuse by correctional officers at the segregation unit at Waupun Correctional Institution.
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.