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Prison Reform

Mental Health Task Force

Posted in
Friday, September 6, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Angies Main Café, 132 S Main St, Shawano, WI


All Voices Welcome!


Friday, September 6th, 2019 6:00-7:30PM

Angies Main Café
132 S. Main Street

Families with children having emotional or cognitive disabilities who need advocacy in school, and people who have been formerly incarcerated, or families with loved ones who are incarcerated should attend this meeting. Your feedback is important!

Unlock the Vote Forum

Monday, September 16, 2019 - 6:00pm
Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton

Unlock the Vote / WISDOM logosToo many people have been removed from or been denied access to the electoral process. We want to make sure that every citizen in Wisconsin is able to vote.

Currently, our state denies voting rights not just to those people currently locked up, but also to those who are on probation, parole, and extended supervision. That is approx. 68,000 people in our state who are locked out of the electoral process!


Prison Reform Task Force Meeting Summary - 1 July 2019

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Lisa Hanneman, chair of ESTHER’s Prison Reform Task Force, shares a brief video report on the Committee’s July 1, 2019, meeting. The August meeting will be held on Monday, August 5, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 140 S. Green Bay Road, Neenah.

Listen to Brian Defferding and Josh Dukelow on WHBY’s Fresh Take

Posted in
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 10:00am - 11:00am
WHBY Radio 1150 AM, 103.5 FM, 106.3 FM

brian defferding (from Facebook)Winnebago County Board member Brian Defferding will be a guest on June 6 on Josh Dukelow’s “Fresh Take” program on WHBY radio. Brian is a member of the ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force and his topics of conversation with Dukelow will include hopes for a Mental Health Court for Winnebago County. If you are unable to listen to the live broadcast, the program will be recorded and available for listening on the Fresh Take website

Prison Reform Task Force Meeting Summary - 3 June 2019

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ESTHER’s Prison Reform Task Force held its monthly meeting on Monday, June 3, 2019. More than 25 people were in attendance. Watch this brief report from Karen Pfefferle and Philip Bennett commenting on the topics discussed at the meeting.

The task force meets on the first Monday of each month at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 150 S. Green Bay Rd, Neenah, WI. It works to reduce the number of people in county jails and state prisons by:

  • Supporting safe community alternatives
  • Encouraging humane treatment of people
  • Supporting individuals as they return to their communities

Anyone interested in being a part of this work is welcome to attend!

ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force

Posted in
Monday, July 1, 2019 - 6:00pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Green Bay Road, Neenah

Contact Gov. Evers on Good Friday About the Parole Commission!

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We are pleased to share this request from David Liners, executive director of WISDOM, on behalf of parole-eligible people in our state prisons.

telephone iconGovernor Evers has been in office for more than three months. In that time, he has done a lot. But, he has NOT yet appointed a new Chair for the Parole Commission. And he has NOT yet named members of the Pardon Board. Loved ones and family members of the 3,000 parole-eligible people in our prisons have been patient. But, as their loved ones have waited far too long to be released, so we also have waited far too long for the Governor to keep the campaign promises he made about these important parts of his job.

Read more to find out two simple things you can do this Friday, April 19.

Panel Discussion: Life After Prison

Posted in
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
First Congregational U.C.C., 724 E South River St, Appleton

Join us for a Panel Discussion


How do we create a successful transition into society
for released inmates?


Douglas DarbyDouglas Darby, recovering addict and founder, Rise Together Eugene NelsonEugene Nelson, outreach coordinator, Project Return Melissa LudinMelissa Ludin, Vice President, EXPO (EX-incarcerated People Organizing) John Des JardinsJohn Des Jardins, Judge, Outagamie County

Free to attend. Panel followed by refreshments.

Panel hosted and moderated by Sydney Pittner, Discovery Corps Coach and senior at Valley New School.

For more information, contact

Smart Justice: Ending Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, Room A170 (Entrance 16), Appleton

Sean Wilson, ACLU of WisconsinThis presentation by Sean Wilson, Smart Justice Statewide Organizer for the ACLU of Wisconsin, describes the ACLU of Wisconsin’s unprecedented multi-year effort to reduce Wisconsin’s jail and prison populations by 50 percent and to eliminate racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

“Wisconsin locks up more African-American males than any other state in the country, and our state government invests more money into prisons than it does the entire University of Wisconsin System.” -Sean Wilson

For more information about Smart Justice, visit

Co-sponsored by ESTHER, EXPO, and the Megan Kelley Foundation

Justice for Youth: New Directions

Monday, February 4, 2019 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Copper Rock Coffee Co, 210 W College Ave, Appleton

League of Women Voters of Appleton

Jonathan I. CloudYouth Advocacy Educational Forum

Please note new date, time, and location.

Jonathan Cloud, a 33-year human services veteran, will speak on research findings on brain development and effects of childhood trauma on youth behavior. This research has led to new strategies and changes to training on how juveniles should be treated in juvenile justice programs. Cloud is the author of Parenting the Guardian Class: Validating Spirited Youth, Ending Adolescence, and Renewing America’s Greatness, which argues for empowering youth rather than controlling them. This educational forum will provide background for the Youth Advocacy Consensus meeting, to be held on Wednesday February 6.

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