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Transformational Justice

Like an Animal in a Cage: Voices from Solitary Confinement

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, Room C190ABC (Entrance 15), Appleton

Join us as we watch the play, Like an Animal in a Cage: Voices from Solitary Confinement. Melissa Ludin from EXPO (Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing) will provide a first-hand account of the horrors she survived in solitary confinement.

A replica solitary confinement cell, created by Wisconsin’s Prison Ministry Project based on the exact specification of a segregation cell in a Wisconsin state prison, will be available for you to see, hear (there’s a sound track), and reflect on. Cell available beginning at 5:00 pm and after the program.


This event is part of the Pathways to Recovery Lecture Series, sponsored by Bev Kelley-Miller and the Megan Kelley Foundation. ESTHER and EXPO are co-sponsors of this event.

Human Trafficking and Law Enforcement

Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, Room C190ABC (Entrance 15), Appleton

Learn about the present state of affairs in the Fox Cities with human trafficking—Grand Chute deals with this issue on a regular basis. We will listen and learn from Five Stones and local law enforcement.

5-STONES is a non-profit established for the purpose of raising awareness about the magnitude of sex trafficking in Wisconsin. We are invested in educating communities to:

  • INCREASE awareness of human trafficking
  • DECREASE the demand for commercial sex
  • PREVENT victimization
  • NETWORK with other organizations which fight against human trafficking


This event is part of the Pathways to Recovery Lecture Series, sponsored by Bev Kelley-Miller and the Megan Kelley Foundation.

Animal in a Cage

Thursday, January 3, 2019 - 5:00pm

Community Forum on Excessive Supervision

Monday, February 4, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 140 South Green Bay Road, Neenah

Community Forum on Excessive SupervisionJoin us for this special event during the ESTHER-Fox Valley Prison Reform Task force meeting that will include a presentation on Columbia University Justice Lab’s paper on mass supervision in Wisconsin.

Following the presentation, a panel discussion will take place featuring people who have been directly impacted by Wisconsin’s horrific, racist system of mass supervision.

NOTE: Childcare will be provided.

Read more about the Justice Lab’s research and conclusions here.

The forum is sponsored by JOSHUA, ESTHER, and EXPO.

Help spread the word: Download and share the attached flyer!

Film Showing and Panel: Milwaukee 53206

Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, Room E130 (Entrance 10), Appleton

Milwaukee 53206 Film ImageJoin us to watch Milwaukee 53206, a powerful documentary that chronicles the lives of those affected by incarceration in America's most incarcerated city. This film tells the story of people from Milwaukee and across the United States who live with the daily effects of mass incarceration. There is no charge to attend.

Immediately following the screening, there will be a panel discussion chaired by Dr. Sylvia Carey Butler, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence, UW-Oshkosh. The panel features people with personal or professional experience in the harmful effects of Wisconsin’s over-use of jails and prisons and expertise in alternatives.

Madison Action Day 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 9:00am - 4:00pm
Madison Masonic Center, 301 Wisconsin Ave, Madison

View of State Capital from Above

WISDOM’s Madison Action Day

A day of collective action with leaders across Wisconsin in our state capitol.

Time is Short - Register Now!

It’s less than a week until Madison Action Day! There’s already a large group going from the Fox Cities, you can still be part of it.

Here’s your chance to join leaders from all parts of Wisconsin in a day of action and movement-building to get our issues and values on the minds of legislators while they are making their budget decisions. We’ll be emphasizing the values of the Beloved Community: radical inclusion, reconciliation, and living for the seventh generation. $40 cost includes transportation. Sponsorships available on request.

Register Now!

Buses will be transporting people to the event from Appleton and Oshkosh. Click Read more below for details.

Follow Madison Action Day 2019 on Facebook.

Introducing Melissa Ludin, EXPO Fox Valley Organizer

Melissa LudinEXPO (Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing, a project of WISDOM), under the leadership of previously imprisoned women and men, works to end mass incarceration, eliminate all forms of structural discrimination against formerly incarcerated people, and restore formerly incarcerated people to full participation in the life of our communities.

Melissa Ludin is the new EXPO organizer in the Fox Cities. She works closely with ESTHER and its Prison Reform Task Force, as well as providing state-wide support. Here is how Melissa describes herself and her work:

I have been a leader and a board member of the organization since May 2016. As a formerly incarcerated woman, I lead with an unrelenting passion for criminal justice reform and reentry peer support…. My goal is to build trust and provide support, a mission I am still pursuing.

“Locking Up Our Own”: A Talk by James Forman, Jr.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 7:30pm
Lawrence University Wriston Hall Auditorium (S. Lawe St. south of the Library)

James Forman Jr., author of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, will deliver a talk that explores the rise of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. The talk will be followed by a signing of his book, which is hailed as “superb and shattering” by The New York Times.

James Forman Jr. headshot

Forman explores how the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers and seeks to understand why. His exploration began when Forman served as a public defender in Washington, D.C. After he failed to keep a 15-year-old out of a juvenile detention center, he wondered how the mayor, the judge, the prosecuting attorney, the arresting officer, even the bailiff—all of whom were black—could send so many of their own to a grim, incarcerated future.  

Now a professor at Yale Law School, Forman will explore the answers in his talk.  He will show how good intentions and pressing dangers of the last 40 years have shaped the get-tough approach in the culture at large and in black neighborhoods.

This event is free and open to the public, and no registration is required.

[The text of this article draws heavily from the LU press release about this event, found here:]

Fox Cities Lights of Hope

Sunday, September 9, 2018 - 5:00pm
City Park, 500 E Franklin St, Appleton

faces of addiction and recovery quiltThis event is the fourth annual gathering to raise awareness of the local impacts of addiction and to bring light and support to families affected by addiction.

The three 2018 Wisconsin Faces of Addiction and Recovery Quilts will be on display, showing the names and faces of 577 people who have died because of addiction. Red squares indicate someone who is in active addiction, gray squares indicate someone is incarcerated for addiction, and white squares feature people who are in recovery, which shows hope and success!

Bev Kelley-Miller and Natalie Coenen, members of the ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force, will share their stories. Senator Tammy Baldwin will also attend to share her own family’s story about how the addiction crisis hits close to home and to highlight the efforts of event organizers in lighting the way and supporting families touched by the crisis. 

Read more about the event on its Facebook page:

WISDOM Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

Monday, June 11, 2018 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Rd, Pewaukee, WI



At this forum, WISDOM leaders from around the state will be asking gubernatorial candidates very specific questions about their intentions in the areas of criminal justice reform (including parole, crimeless revocations, treatment alternatives to incarceration, Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, solitary confinement), public transportation, childhood poverty, health care, immigration, education, mining.

WISDOM affiliates on Wisconsin map

Confirmed candidates so far include:

  • Matt Flynn
  • Andy Gronik
  • Mike McCabe
  • Mahlon Mitchell
  • Kelda Roys
  • Kathleen Vinehout
  • Dana Wachs

Candidates unable to attend, expressing regrets: Tony Evers, Paul Soglin

Also invited, awaiting response: Scott Walker

Hosted by the WISDOM network.

Car-pooling from Northeast Wisconsin is being arranged, including reimbursement of cost of gasoline for those who drive. Contact ESTHER by phone (920-843-8083) or email ( to make arrangements.

For the most current information, see the event page on Facebook:

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