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Stop long-term solitary confinement in Wisconsin Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Aug. 04, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

“I was in prison and you came to me.” Matt. 25:37

The 22,500 people incarcerated in Wisconsin’s prisons are largely hidden. Although the UN has declared solitary confinement for over 15 days to be torture, about 20 percent of Wisconsin inmates are held in solitary confinement each year, some for weeks, some for decades. Imagine spending 23 hours a day in your walk-in closet, almost never having human contact, all for “recklessly eyeballing” a guard.

While 15 days of solitary confinement may be a useful tool for controlling some prisoners and punishing more serious infractions, isolation has been shown time and again to cause and exacerbate mental illness if used for a longer period of time.

Currently, six or more Wisconsin inmates, most at Waupun Correctional Institution, are participating in a hunger strike to protest the liberal use of solitary confinement in our state. They are hoping that if enough people get involved and show support, legislators and the Department of Corrections will stop long-term solitary confinement. Other states have reduced the use of solitary confinement and have seen violence against prison staff decrease.

As citizens of Wisconsin and disciples of Christ, please show your support for the “Dying to Live” campaign to end the mental torture of the least of our brethren in prison. Contact your legislators and sign the Waupun Solitary Torture petition on Change.org

Bernadette Maurice, Oregon

 
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