WI Research Team Meeting 3/30

Attendance:

  • Christal
  • Peggy
  • Elmer
  • Renee
  • Jeff

Check Ins:

  • How are you feeling in this moment? What’s one thing that’s challenging for you right now? What’s one thing that’s working well for you right now?
  • Christal – feeling some body aches. Keeping immune strong – lemon tea w ginger and honey. Children are challenging, both have runny noses. TOugh w kids leaving the house.
  • Peggy – Feel like there’s great opportunity for change. Gamelial organizing another town hall meet this thursday. Like working from home. Also tough w kids leaving the house. Now built a healthier schedule. Reaching out to lots of people feels like it’s been good for personal relationships. Missing connecting with other people in person. 
  • Elmer – Used to working from home. It’s tough that gym is closed. Physical therapy appointments closed. Trying to be precautious and considerate of others. Minimizing movements. It’s tough not being able to see kids right now.
  • Renee – Searching for humor helps. Misses laughing and jokes.Humor really helps for mental health. Anxious about son in prison. Waiting to see a genetics specialist on telehealth for rare form of muscular dystrophy.

Agenda/Updates/Discussion

  • What’s new in EXPO?
    • Wisdom sent letter to governor 2 weeks ago w 3 demands for releasing vulnerable prisoners, crimeless revocation, and those close to going home.
    • There’s been some movement. 2 hours after letter was sent the governor’s staff said they read the letter. 24 hours later gamaliel made a national ask. That Thurs heard that at least one person who had previously been denied compassionate release was sent home. Last week early in the week started getting messages from Stanley, Jackson, Oak Hill – parole board going back to review people. Juvenile lifer was released who was supposed to be released in July. 
    • Waupon has covid19 outbreak. Rushing to release some inmates.
    • Parole board heading to Red Granite.
    • Unfortunately little movement for people who have been revoked. MSDF employee tested positive. Expecting more movement this week.
    • Reviewing cases for people being held for court getting reviewed since courts are closed. 
    • Racine started emptying jails. On local level much better movement happening faster.
    • Courts are holding back people on commitments. 
    • Compassionate release – gov says he needs approval from judge that sentenced them. Gov before him chose to commute sentences without judge’s approval. Gov says he’s moving as fast as he can and holdup is w judges
    • How to escalate pressure on governor?
      • Rolled out petition
        • Collected 1,113 signatures in 24 hours 
      • This week thinking about same thing but w ICE detention centers. Last week ICE detention in Racine was emptied but not clear where people were sent. 
      • Meeting today at 3 to discuss next steps.
      • Group had been protesting outside DOC secretary house, then moved to capitol.
      • People aren’t getting info about their loved ones on the inside. People on inside aren’t getting info about how to stay safe. 
      • For people who will stay incarcerated, what can we ask for that will keep them safer?
  • What interesting discoveries or connections were made in the research on inmates being released?
    • Some more populated states considering releasing inmates
    • Putting forward recommendations from WHO and CDC
    • Added some case law to the document, could be useful for getting others released. ACLU has been doing lots of this work. 
    • Some of these examples might be useful to get others released.
    • Elmer also added Marshall Project on prisoner release plans potentially discriminating. Using racist criminality algorithms.
    • Criminalizing violations – Racine increased fine from $250-500 for violating stay at home orders.
  • Where to focus research this week?
    • Peggy – what is the governor able to do? What are his capabilities? Prison Policy Initiative – 5 things facilities can do to reduce spread of covid – send to governor and cc DOC secretary.
    • Renee – agree to research the governor’s powers. Look at what other states are doing.  **Peggy share the article with us.
    • Christal – Supporting inmates to know what they need to do to stay safe. How can we get that info to them? Maybe through the chaplain?
    • Elmer – Let’s see what other governors are doing. Who are they listening to? What powers are they exercising? How can we get guidance for the governor based on what’s happening in other states?

Questions:

Next Steps

  • Share resources about how to stay safe on the inside. Translate into Spanish, possibly other languages – Elmer + Christal
    • EXPO might have tools that can help with core links
    • Peggy will focus on core links
  • Renee – work on deciphering what’s in governor’s power, review the research that Elmer did
    • Been in contact with a friend, was in an area that was quarantined. Now out of quarantine. Tring to find out why she was quarantined but not tested
    • Someone contact ACLU to clarify governor’s powers?
  • How to get more testing for covid in prisons and jails?