Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Walker's Policies Still Wreaking Havoc In Corrections System

Ever since Scott Walker and the Teapublicans usurped control of the state, being a corrections officer has become more dangerous than ever before.

Due to Act 10, there has been a mass exodus of officers.  Those who could retire, did. Those who weren't yet eligible looked elsewhere for work.  This left the prisons extremely short-staffed and the officers who were still on duty were working long hours due to mandatory overtime, leaving them exhausted and less than on top of their game.

Making things worse, Walker and cohorts passed Act 28, ending any chance for early release for the inmates and taking away their only incentive to behave.

These acts of incompetence and indifference had led to the predictable spike in assaults on the corrections officers.

The problems still remain and people are still getting hurt:
A corrections sergeant at the Columbia Correctional Institution was stabbed multiple times with a pencil by an inmate with a history of attacking law enforcement officers, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

The sergeant and other officers were able to eventually restrain the inmate, but the sergeant was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck area, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

The inmate is a 39-year-old Milwaukee man serving a 40-year sentence for armed robbery, according to the release.
I would have thought that when Walker went to visit his old chum, Tim Russell, in prison, he might have noticed that his agenda wasn't working. Then again, Walker probably wouldn't have cared.


  1. "... he might have noticed that his agenda wasn't working. Then again, Walker probably wouldn't have cared."

    Of course not. He gets paid no matter what.

    By the way, Capper, have you been getting my emails?

    I haven't gotten any replies from you....

  2. Speaking as a 30 year veteran and current retiree of DOC, my contention is that this is a very deliberate strategy by Walker to force a disaster upon the Department to such a magnitude that he can smugly claim "See? I told you those public employees can't do anything right!" At which point he decides to "experiment" with privatization of the state's correctional facilities.

    1. That's a systematic strategy for that crew throughout state government, Mark. This is how low and scummy these people are.

      Thomas Frank's "The Wrecking Crew" sums it up very well

    2. Exactly....the Neocon/Friedman-esque creation of disasters in order to gain opportunities

  3. Congratulations Mark Bye.

    I also have close to thirty years in corrections, and I've never seen anything like what is happening now. The implementation of Act 10 did send many officers into retirement, but now the exit door is swinging at a much faster pace for officers both new and old, a pace that the DOC can't keep up with.

    To meet the officer shortage this summer at Columbia Correctional Institution, work hours were just changed to two twelve hour shifts, a couple days off, and then a 16 hour shift. That's bound to cause some major difficulties for officers with young families. The additional uncertainty of work schedules, and an increasing number of brand new officers without experience doesn't help make the job attractive.

    Walker's budget sends a clear message to correctional officers, there is no future here. No raises to keep up with the CPI, and it'll be more dangerous to work due to the closing of the towers on the night shift and the resulting cut back in staff. It's interesting to watch how much in lockstep the republicans and their appointed people march. No voice of opposition to be heard to this plan, and it will be carried through. It doesn't appear to be well thought out: Inmates locked in their cells for the night. At OSCI the inmates have the key to their doors, I wonder if locks have been added to each door. At GBCI they run a big gym like dorm without individual cells. Perimeter patrols might work at OSCI with the chainlink fence, but how can that work at WCI or GBCI with their solid walls?

    One of the most puzzling work rule changes the Walker people have implemented was the confiscation of accrued sick leave hours upon being fired. I know excellent staff that choose to retire in order to protect their hours, and that isn't far-fetched when you see your co-workers being fired. Funny thing is; it's the good employees that come into work everyday, that don't call in sick, that are able to save sick leave hours. Crazy, unless the goal is to get people retired without consideration that the person may be a valuable employee. Mark Bye may have a correct analysis of the situation, fortunately both of us where able to finish out what is no longer a career.

  4. Hang in there ippons. You'll be seeing the folks at ETF soon! Your reward is around the corner. And good on you for sticking it out for all these years. I've been out for 8 years, now. The folks I used to work with tell me "you got out just in time", and "you wouldn't believe that place, now", etc. etc. I really feel sorry for the folks just starting out or those who have 10 or 15 years to go.

  5. Wow I wish the state media would pick up on this story and especially the insights of these former employees. They are absolutely correct on the impact of Act 10. The same has occurred in education. Those who could retire did and those who were close stuck it out and got out as soon as they could. As the two correctional workers pointed out not many people are seeking careers in which your pay doesn't even increase enough to keep up with inflation and at least initially your take home pay was reduced from $5,000 to $8,000.

  6. I see the failure to properly fund the correctional system as similar to what right wing privatizers are doing to the public educaation system. They are starving both systems to death to prove their claim that private for-profit enterprise can do all things better than government.

    1. "The inmate is a 39-year-old Milwaukee man serving a 40-year sentence for armed robbery, according to the release."

      That sentence shows the groundwork the republicans did to pave the way towards a profitable private prison system, and how it has made working in a prison much more dangerous.

      39 years old sentenced to 40 years under truth in sentencing, or a life means life sentence extends prison time and has increased prison populations. Plus it has also often times eliminated incentives to being a model inmate. We can thank Tommy Thompson and his republican friends for this.

  7. Ever wonder why David Blaska never shows up on a thread like this? I don't lol.

  8. Lost another rookie last week to a private sector job, and losing three other officers to retirement (two just tired of how the DOC is being ran and getting out earlier than they had planned). I liked the rookie, and am sad to see him go. He was a good hire by the DOC, with a lot of military experience.
    This reminds me of how my coworkers and I were called union thugs for opposing Act 10, but most of my coworkers are military veterans. I think about that on veterans day when the conservatives talk about supporting the veterans.