WISDOM Updates

New Race to Justice Campaign

posted Jan 29, 2018, 2:27 PM by Sophia Webmaster

Join the Race to Justice!!!

The Leadership of the Restore Our Communities (ROC Wisconsin) Campaign feels that 2018 is the year when we will make some significant progress in the effort to reform Wisconsin’s Criminal Justice system!  We know that work for racial and economic justice is a marathon, but inside that big race the ROC Wisconsin team believes it is time for a sprint! And so we announce the Race to Justice Campaign to raise many voices calling for serious reform and demanding that our broken "corrections" system be addressed by all who want our votes in November.

The first step in the Race to Justice is a series of local training and organizing gatherings.  For four hours on aSaturday, we will bring together current ROC leaders, allies, friends and people who want to get involved.  We will get clear about some of the many issues; we’ll practice telling our stories and hearing the stories of the people who have been most impacted; we’ll get ourselves organized; and we’ll make plans for the next six months.

After the trainings, we will be doing outreach, and we will have candidate forums for people running for Governor and for the state legislature.  We will make presentations and we’ll go door-to door.  And, we will join efforts to get everyone in Wisconsin to vote this fall.

The conversation about needed reforms to the justice system is starting to happen on every level.  We need to be sure our officials and those who want to represent us understand that significant change is urgently neededregarding Crimeless Revocations, the Parole system, Solitary Confinement, Treatment Alternatives and Diversions, MSDF, and more.  

Please plan to attend the Race to Justice training in your area. More details will follow.  

Race to Justice Training Events:

The events will be held from 9 am to 1 pm.  In some places, there will be an afternoon public event. 

  • Wausau area - March 24
  • Southeast Wisconsin - April 7
  • Madison area - April 14
  • Green Bay and the Fox Cities - April 28
  • Eau Claire area - May 5 
  • Superior - May 4 (a briefer, evening event)

    You can make a donation toward this work by clickinghere.


WISDOM is Making a Difference!

posted Jan 23, 2018, 5:17 PM by Sophia Webmaster

WISDOM is making a difference!

1) WISDOM held a very successful Forum on Revocations in Madison on January 17.  More than 150 WISDOM members over-filled the hall at Grace Episcopal Church, along with eight candidates for Governor and one candidate for Lieutenant Governor.  

About 3,000 people are sent to prison each year for Crimeless Revocations, not because they have been convicted of a new crime, but for failure to comply with a rule of supervision.  At the Forum, we heard from faith leaders. We heard from experts in public health and sociology.   And we heard from the people who have been the victims of the senseless and outdated practice of Crimeless Revocation.

Then, we heard from those who wish to be Governor of Wisconsin.  All of them agreed with WISDOM’s position that Wisconsin's policy and promised serious changes to the system if elected.  To read more about the event, clickHERE.

2) I also want to remind you to be certain you have added your name to the End Child Poverty Campaign.  Already, more than 1,000 Wisconsinites have signed the three-part goal, calling on our state to:
    •    Reduce Child Poverty in Wisconsin by half in the next 10 years;

    •    Reduce racial disparities in Child Poverty by half in 10 years;

    •    Establish a mechanism to do an annual assessment of our progress in reducing Child Poverty.

The End Child Poverty Campaign is something we are doing together with our friends from the Wisconsin Council of Churches, Kids First, and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.  It is our belief that before decision-makers will get really serious about poverty, we need as a state to at least agree that it is a priority.  Before we start to challenge those in charge, we want to be able to show that there are 10,000 Wisconsinites who want this done.  

It is very easy to add your name:  just click HERE.  And, please ask your friends to do the same.

You can donate to help move this work forward by clickingHERE.


On Lincoln Hills

posted Jan 8, 2018, 2:17 PM by Sophia Webmaster

Last week Governor Walker announced a plan for future reforms in our adult and juvenile corrections systems. Essentially, it would be to close down the troubled Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile facilities, and to convert them into an adult facility that would specialize in AODA treatment.  This would help alleviate the backlog of people awaiting AODA treatment in the system, many of whom would become eligible for early release if they get it. It would also relieve some overcrowding in the prisons, meaning we could stop talking abut building a new prison and maybe start talking about closing one.  The Governor’s plan also calls for building smaller facilities for youth in several places in the state; a plan about which we have some questions.
The Governor’s plan for converting Lincoln Hills into a treatment center is a good one, and one that is urgently needed.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t intend to do it until after the 2019 budget process!  Why should the state wait two more years to do something we can and should do now?
The good news is that we don’t have to wait.  The plan the Governor announced has already been proposed and is written into legislation that is pending in the State Assembly.
On November 29th, 2017 Rep. Evan Goyke conducted a legislative policy briefing on the Wisconsin prison system at the State Capitol.  In that briefing, he proposed the very thing that Governor Walker spoke in favor of last week.  
You can find Rep. Goyke’s analysis and plan, called Inmate 501, here.  A video of the presentation may be found here. 
We should not wait to close Lincoln Hills and convert it into a treatment center.  There is bipartisan agreement that it needs to be done, and there is a plan already in place.  Instead of waiting two years, we need to call on Representatives Schraa and Hutton, and the Assembly Corrections Committee, to hold hearings on Assembly Bill 791, see it here, and move the process forward quickly.
There will be more on this in the future.  In the meantime, please don’t forget EXPO/WISDOM’s Hearing on Revocations:

Wednesday, January 17 
12:00 - 2:00  
Grace Episcopal Church, 112 W. Washington St., Madison.

Seven candidates for Governor and one candidate for Lieutenant Governor have committed to attending and learning about the problem of Crimeless Revocations in Wisconsin, and stating how they would handle it. 

Click here to find WISDOM's extensive report on Crimeless Revocations. 
Click here to download the Executive Summary.  
Click here to download personal stories by victims of Wisconsin's unjust revocations policy.

Showing Solidarity on New Year's Weekend

posted Dec 31, 2017, 2:39 PM by Sophia Webmaster

WISDOM leaders have invited us to take part in two very different kinds of actions as we close out 2017.

1) WISDOM Organizer Guy Reiter and the Menikanaehkem (“Community Re-builders”) on the Menominee Reservation have sent this request: 

We, the Protectors of the Menominee River, are asking for all people to gather in their places of worship to pray for our beautiful Menominee River and our Menominee sacred sites, which are under threat by the state of Michigan and Aquila Resource’s Back 40 Mine. 

We ask that the people of earth should sit together in prayer with good hearts and minds, to remember creation and to show gratitude for all that has been given to us. 

We ask all to please light your sacred fires in this time of uncertainty and pray with us for the protection of all life on December 30th, in the month of the Nipatepaeh Kesoq (night moon). 

Netaehnewemakanak (“all our relations”). Waewaenon (“thank you”).

                                               ~ ~ ~     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~    ~ ~ ~

2) The second invitation comes from the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign.  They have invited us all to get out and get loud on New Year’s Eve when we will gather in front of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) to make some noise!

Sunday, December 31

6:00 pm

Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF)
the corner of 10th and State streets in Milwaukee

It will have to be loud: MSDF, one of the most inhumane penal institutions in the country, has no windows.  People imprisoned there never see the sun and they never get outdoors.  It is easy for them to believe the world has forgotten them.  On New Year’s Eve we will make enough noise that they can hear us through two layers of brick!  

They can know that WISDOM, EXPO and people of good will are thinking of them and that we will continue to fight to close MSDF.

~ ~ ~     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~    ~ ~ ~

As 2017 draws to a close, I am very hopeful that 2018 will be a better year for our communities and our state.  Whatever comes our way, I am heartened to know that there are so many people of faith and good will keeping up the struggle for a more compassionate and just world.

To make a financial contribution to the struggle, click hereor mail a check to us at 2821 N. 4th Street, #517, Milwaukee, WI  53212.

Thank you.
David Liners, Director

Revocations Forum. January 17. Madison

posted Dec 21, 2017, 12:43 PM by Sophia Webmaster

More than 4,500 people are currently incarcerated in Wisconsin prisons for a revocation without a new conviction. Each year, thousands of others are held temporarily in county jails or the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) while their agents investigatealleged rule violations. Wisconsin could literally close MSDF and other prisons by transforming its unjust revocation process.

Join us for a special event that will examine the consequences of excessive revocations in Wisconsin. At this forum, civil rights leaders, EXPO leaders, and State Representative Evan Goyke will present on various aspects of the revocation process in Wisconsin. 

Candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor have been invited and will be given an opportunity to respond.

Forum on Revocations

Wednesday, January 17
12 pm to 2 pm
Grace Episcopal Church, Madison 
116 W. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Confirmed reservations from candidates as of December 21:

Please take a moment to send an end-of-the-year contribution to continue WISDOM's important work.  
Donate here

Updates from EXPO

posted Dec 18, 2017, 11:55 AM by Sophia Webmaster

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) sent EXPO Leader Ventae Parrow to MSDF (Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility) without justification. This move was clear retaliation against Ventae for his speaking out about injustices within the system. Like so many people in Wisconsin, Ventae was re-incarcerated without having been convicted of any crime.

Ventae has spent over five months in the inhumane conditions at MSDF awaiting a revocation hearing. DOC might decide to send him back to a facility up north. During this time he has continued to be a bold advocate for the people held at MSDF, organizing others to send letters describing their experiences, which has made up the bulk of the stories posted on the closemsdf website.  

If you have met him or seen him speak you know Ventae’s passion for system change, as well as his own personal transformation. If you have not had that privilege, check out this video.

Ventae's hearing will be on December 20th.  We are calling on the Department of Corrections to recognize the injustice of locking Ventae up. We want him returned to the community.  

You can help!

Please contact - today - Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher at 608-240-5055 orJon.Litscher@wisconsin.gov and let him know that it is time to free Ventae and to end the practice of re-incarcerating people who have not committed a new crime.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West joined EXPO Radio on December 13th to talk about why it is time todecarcerate Milwaukee and shut down MSDF.

You can listen to that program here. Click here to listen to past episodes of EXPO Radio.

All the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor have been invited to participate in a WISDOM/EXPO Forum on Revocations:

WISDOM/EXPO Forum on Revocations
Wednesday, January 17 
12 pm
Grace Episcopal Church MADISON (116 W. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703)
RSVP here.

For more information, visit 

Please share this information widely and help us build the hashtags #CLOSEmsdf and #BUILDcommunities.

The next #CLOSEmsdf Coalition meeting:
Tuesday, December 19 
6 pm 
Welford Sanders Enterprise Center, 2821 N. 4th St., Suite 108, Milwaukee 53212. 

Please help us continue this important work with an end of the year contribution.  Donate here.


Let's Build a Movement to End Child Poverty in Wisconsin!

posted Dec 14, 2017, 7:12 AM by Sophia Webmaster

Today, WISDOM and its partners are calling on people across Wisconsin to sign on to a new Campaign to end child poverty in Wisconsin.

Over 200,000 kids in Wisconsin live in poverty:

  • African American kids are almost 5x more likely to be poor;
  • Latino kids are 3x more likely to be poor;
  • Native American kids are 4x more likely 
to be poor;
  • The poverty rate for our African American kids is 8% above the national average for black child poverty. 

To learn more about this Campaign, and to sign your name as part of the movement to end child poverty in Wisconsin, go to http://www.endchildpovertywi.org/.

You can help us create moral outrage about the disgrace of child poverty in Wisconsin:

      ~ View a compelling PowerPoint presentation and share it with your friends: http://www.endchildpovertywi.org/our_presentation;
      ~ Share the message on Facebook and 
      ~  Use our sample messages and graphics to post daily on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Find them
      ~ Arrange to have a presentation given at your house of worship or to your community group. Contact us:wisdomforjustice@gmail.com.

WISDOM President Rev. Willie Brisco has said, "Childhood should be a time of wonder and possibility.  Children raised in poverty are less likely to see the world as an great adventure, and more likely to see it as a grim struggle for survival.  As people of faith, we believe every child should have the chance to grow into the great person God created her to be."

This effort is a joint project of WISDOM, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, Kids Forward (formerly, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families), and the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund.

Please go to the website, add your name, and encourage your friends to do the same.  Our first goal is to bring a list of 10,000 signers when we approach our elected leaders to demand that ending child poverty be a goal for Wisconsin.

And, please take a moment to send an end-of-the-year contribution to continue WISDOM's important work. 
Donate here.

Thank you.

Be on the Ground Floor of a Movement! December 14

posted Dec 11, 2017, 6:05 PM by Sophia Webmaster

Thursday will be an important day as we launch the "End Child Poverty" Campaign across the state of Wisconsin!

Thursday, December 14
6:30 - 7:30pm
Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union Ballroom
1442 W Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee

Help us get 10,000 people to sign on to a movement that calls for the state of Wisconsin to adopt a 3-part goal:
     *To reduce child poverty in Wisconsin by half in the next 10 years;
     *To reduce racial disparities in child poverty in that same time;
     *To adopt evidence-based means of measuring our progress, complete with an annual report.

WISDOM and our partners from Wisconsin Citizen Action, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and Kids Forward (formerly the WI Council on Children and Families), will launch the "End Child Poverty" Campaign with events across the state on December 14.

There will be a LOT more information coming your way on Thursday.  Join us at Marquette for this exciting moment, as the people of Wisconsin begin to demand that our state put its priorities where they belong!

Download a flier here to share with your contacts.
View the event here on Facebook.

And, please take a moment to send an end-of-the-year contribution to continue WISDOM's important work. Donate here.

Call to Action: Mothers in Chains

posted Dec 11, 2017, 12:35 PM by Sophia Webmaster

For many of us in the Christian tradition, we are in the time of Advent - the time of getting ready for the celebration of Jesus' birth.

This is an appropriate time to ask you to help out in an effort that is being led by the Religious Leaders' Caucus of MOSES in Madison.  They call the campaign, "Mothers in Chains."  It is an attempt to get Wisconsin to join the growing list of states that outlaw the shackling of pregnant women, women giving birth, and women who have recently given birth.  This seems like something that a civilized society should have outlawed long ago.  

You can see a lot of good information at this page on the MOSES website:  http://mosesmadison.org/mothers-in-chains-wisconsins-shame/

As you will see, there is a bill being considered in the State Senate, which has bipartisan support, and which is expected to be voted on in January.  Unfortunately, some Senators want to water down the bill so that it only pertains to women who are actually in labor.  While that helps with the most extreme abuse, there is still no reason for women late in a pregnancy, to be chained hand and foot to go for a doctor's appointment, or for women to be chained soon after giving birth.

We can make a difference on this. What better thing to do for Advent than to call your state representative and senator and ask them to pass this bill without watering it down.

Please take a moment to see all the excellent material on the MOSES site, and please pass this request along to others.  To find your legislators: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/.

AND, please take a moment to send an end-of-the-year contribution to continue WISDOM's important work. Donate here.

Thank you.

Support is Building for Alternatives to Incarceration: Show YOUR support!

posted Nov 28, 2017, 8:23 AM by Sophia Webmaster

Counties around the state are considering resolutions calling for the state to increase Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) funding by $15 million per year.  TAD is a state program that gives grants to counties so they can implement or expand programs for people with addictions and/or mental health issues.  The program has been extensively studied, and has shown that every $1 spent on TAD saves taxpayers $2 in incarceration costs.  Not only that, people who participate in TAD programs are less likely to commit another crime than people who spend time in jail or prison.  

TAD saves money and keeps us safer: seems like a common sense way to invest money!

That is what County Boards around the state are saying.  This week, three County Supervisors in Madison who have worked with MOSES (the WISDOM affiliate there) to craft a resolution calling for the state to increase TAD funding by $15 million.  At least six other counties are looking to do the same thing.

As our state looks for ways to invest in the well-being of its people, a maximum investment in TAD makes a lot more sense than planning for new prisons.  Before committing hundreds of millions for new prisons, our state should first put $15 million more into TAD.  It can help Wisconsin stay in step with other states, both "red" and "blue" (like Texas, Michigan and New Jersey) that are closing prisons every year, and are watching their crime rates drop as they do.

To find out if your County Board is helping to promote a TAD increase, or to get involved in the campaign to reduce Wisconsin's prison population, contact us atwisdomforjustice@gmail.com.

If you are able to make a contribution to WISDOM to keep pushing our state toward a fiscally and morally responsible criminal justice system, click HERE. Or visit our website at www.wisdomwisconsin.org.

Thank you.

1-10 of 141