A physical therapist nurse on staff at Fox Lake Correctional Institution (FLCI) has tested positive for COVID-19.  At 8 am count this morning several residents who had been in contact with her were moved to the segregation unit for quarantine. Their roommates were not moved from general population. 

MILWAUKEE, WIS. – May 26, 2020 – Prisoners at Fox Lake Correctional Institution remain defenseless in the face of the staff’s failure to follow through with the safety measures and testing, while their own limited rights are being jeopardized.

According to the reports coming from FLCI, a memorandum received on May 24 announced a “precautionary” suspension of Administrative rules. This is usually used in the case of a riot or a similar circumstance.  No actual changes have been made, but the warden could instantly call for a total and unlimited lock down at any time.

“One thing we can positively know,–an IWOC’s contact writes,– the suspension of administrative rules is in no possible way in the inmates’ favor!  It essentially means the prison staff can NOW treat us in any way they might feel like treating us, without regard to ANY rules.  There now don’t need to be any official conduct reports or due process hearings in order to discipline an inmate for accused behavior violations, for one thing.  Nor does an inmate NOW need to violate an actual RULE in order to be punished.”

Another contact reports that “almost no member of the staff had been seen wearing a mask or using gloves in any more than a usual way.  No program of testing has begun, though there is a rumor that a team will be there when they finish at other institutions. Until now, no process of social distancing, other than limiting how many residents could be at rec or such at a time, had been started.  As of now, …, the rules for meals are changed.  The number of individuals at a table in the dining area is limited to two, the number of people standing in line will be held between 8 and 10, and the residents will be called out one room at a time rather than the whole wing getting in line all at once.”

Another report shows, however, that even these insufficient measures are not followed through: “as we got our lunch trays this afternoon (May 25), the officers in my housing unit 4 told us they’re not following that procedure; we’re still expected to sit six guys on each side off each table like previously.”

People at FLCI and other Wisconsin prisons are left to the merci of those who do not follow through with their own rules. An outbreak may happen any time, severely affecting not only prisoners, but also many Wisconsin communities.

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