May 17, 2004
Prisons: there and here
Governor Tommy Thompson, against the advice of his secretary of Corrections, Mike Sullivan, and most prison wardens in Wisconsin, decided to build a Supermax prison in Boscobel. He sent a team around the country to visit other so-called supermaximum facilities to make sure Wisconsin's would be the worst of the worst for inmates. He succeeded.
It should be noted that then-Attorney General Jim Doyle did not speak up in opposition and politicians from both parties swore to "eliminate country club conditions" in our prisons. When Chief Judge Barbara Crabb issued an injunction ordering the removal of seriously mentally ill inmates from Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (f.k.a. Supermax), acting Governor Scott McCallum opposed the order and tried to go back on the agreement entered into with counsel for plaintiffs and the Department of Corrections. Then Assemblyman and would-be governor Scott Walker was appalled that the prison would improve by including outdoor recreation and cooler cells.
Now think about Iraq. The Red Cross was so upset with American prisons in that country they wrote to the administration. "The internment of persons in solitary confinement for months at a time in cells devoid of daylight for nearly 23 hours a day is more severe than the forms of internment provided for under the Geneva Conventions."
Welcome to Boscobel, where some inmates have been held in solitary for two years without ever seeing daylight. How can Wisconsin condemn the treatment of Iraqi inmates when our own prison violates the minimal standards of the Geneva Conventions?
On June 1, Governor Doyle's Department of Corrections will argue before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that the court should overturn Judge Crabb's ruling that cells must be cooled by air conditioning, the only practical method for doing so, according to the state.
We have Tommy Thompson, Scott McCallum, Jim Doyle and Scott Walker all in support of the same inhuman conditions. Shameful.
post a letter about this blog »