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Transformational Justice

Help ESTHER Celebrate 20 years

Join us at one of these events and activities

Heroin Highway Lecture Series: Journey Into Recovery

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, 150 N Campbell Rd, Oshkosh

heroin highway lecture series bannerJessica Geschke, President, Stop Heroin Now, facilitates a panel of speakers on their journeys from addiction to recovery.

No Charge. Tickets Required.

For complete information, see

Heroin Highway Lecture Series: Suicide Prevention

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton

heroin highway lecture series bannerNo Charge. Tickets Required.

For complete information, see

Why Wait Two Years for AODA Treatment Center at Lincoln Hills?

Screen Capture Evan Goyke Wisconsin Eye Inmate 501In early January of this year, 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 specializing 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 treatment. It would also relieve some overcrowding in the prisons.

The Governor’s plan is a good one, and one that is urgently needed. While the Governor wants to wait until 2019 to launch this plan, the good news is that we don’t have to wait. Legislation to enact the plan the Governor announced, written by Rep. Evan Goyke, has already been proposed and is pending in the State Assembly. You can find Rep. Goyke’s analysis and plan, called “Inmate 501,” here. A video of the presentation may be found here. 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.

Heroin Highway Lecture Series: Beyond Opoids: Methamphetamines and Tweaking

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton

heroin highway lecture series bannerFor complete information, see

The Power of Grace: Play and Discussion

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2600 E Phillip Ln, Appleton

Power of Grace

A group of women formerly incarcerated in Illinois will share their thoughts and feelings about being incarcerated when a play called “The Power of Grace” is presented by ESTHER-Fox Valley and Fox Cities EXPO (Ex-Prisoners Organizing). The presentation is supported by a Bright Idea Fund grant from the Community Foundation and will be follow by a panel discussion.

The short theatrical piece was created from poetry written by the women. The script communicates the story of incarcerated women to the general public in order to break down stereotypes and encourage awareness regarding the U.S. criminal justice system. Presented from the prisoner’s point of view, the play is a window into the personal experience of incarceration, and represents a ritual of self-liberation.

Alternative Courts Education Forum

LWV Appleton Logo

Judge John Des JardinsBernie VetroneJudge John Des Jardins and Treatment Services Director Bernie Vetrone will describe ongoing work leading towards a system-wide, evidence-based approach to evaluation, treatment, and incarceration of criminal defendants in Outagamie County, Wisconsin.

Thursday, May 5, 7:00 pm
Appleton Public Library, Room C

Outagamie County is one of eighteen counties in the nation chosen to participate in this National Institute of Corrections-sponsored project.

Read more about the project in this article from the Post Crescent of March 23, 2015.

Restore Our Communities Prison Reform Presentation

Join us on Wednesday, April 6, at 6:30 PM at the Appleton Public Library for a high-impact presentation on the Restore Our Communities project to end mass incarceration in Wisconsin. The presentation will be given by David Liners, State Director for WISDOM. ROC Wisconsin is a campaign to demand all the reforms that were lifted up by the 11x15 Campaign: Keeping people out of prison, treating prisoners more humanely and fairly, and ensuring that those returning from prison have a chance to succeed. Altogether, these changes will truly “Restore Our Communities,” improving the health, safety, and well-being of all who live in them.

Restore our Communities: Restorative Justice for Wisconsin

David LinersDavid Liners, State Director for WISDOM, will be speaking in Appleon on March 2, 2016 under sponsorship of the Noonhour Philosophers program of Trinity Lutheran Church, Appleton. His topic will be ROC Wisconsin, an ongoing project of WISDOM, working alongside its affiliates and partners (including EXPO—Ex-Prisoners Organizing), to reform the criminal justice system in our state so that it helps to build up our communities instead of tearing them down.

  • Wednesday, March 2, 2016
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • Trinity Lutheran Church
    209 S. Allen St., Appleton
  • Free and open to all; no advance registration required

Solitary Confinement Cell comes to Fox Valley

Solitary Confinement in Wisconsin



ESTHER is hosting a life-size replica of a solitary confinement cell in the lobby of the Communications Art Center at UW-Fox Valley (1478 Midway Rd, Menasha) during the week of October 5th-9th. The cell is open at no cost for the public to experience from 10:00am-8:00pm on October 5th-7th (Mon-Wed) and again on October 9th (Friday).

Three community events are planned for the week:

  • Monday, October 5th at 6:30pm - Mental Illness and Incarceration, Community Forum. Community leaders share about the impact that incarceration, as well as solitary confinement has on those with mental illness. Free and open to all.
  • Tuesday, October 6th from 11:30am-1:30pm - Religious Leaders Experience. Open to all religious leaders, lunch included. Please RSVP by phone at 920-843-8083 or email
  • Tuesday, October 6th at 6:30pm - Solitary Confinement and Prison Reform, Community Forum. Experts present the effect that solitary confinment has on individuals and what's being done in Wisconsin. Free and open to all.

To schedule a group or class to experience the cell contact us by phone at 920-843-8083 or email

Print event flyer here

Click here to

“Voices From Inside: Wisconsin Prisoners Speak Out”

Cover of Voices from Inside“Voices From Inside: Wisconsin Prisoners Speak Out” is now available. The book contains excerpts from some of the hundreds of letters WISDOM has received from inmates since the start of the 11×15 campaign. The letters touch upon a variety of themes, and each of them reminds us that prisoners are human beings with hopes, dreams, regrets and questions. The letters are accompanied by reflections from judges, bishops, pastors and others, as well as important facts about the criminal justice system.

Books can be obtained from any local WISDOM group or from the WISDOM office—3195 S. Superior St., #310, Milwaukee, WI 53207. A $5 donation per book is suggested.

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