Skip to main content

Vigil regarding COVID-19 in Wisconsin Prisons


Demonstrators at the Governors Mansion in MadisonOn October 19, WISDOM members (including several from ESTHER), led by EXPO (EX-incarcerated People Organizing) and SIP (Supporters of Incarcerated People) started a vigil outside the Governor's mansion.  The purpose of the vigil is to challenge the Governor to seriously address the issue of COVID-19 in Wisconsin’s prisons. The group is calling on the Governor to hold a press conference to specifically address this issue, which directly impacts more than 30,000 Wisconsinites who live and work in the state’s prisons, asking him to:

  1. Express his concern for the health and safety of the people who live and work in the prisons;
  2. Be completely transparent about how many people in our prisons have already died and how many have become sick enough to need oxygen or hospitalization;
  3. Say definitively whether he has any intention of using his powers to commute sentences in order to safely reduce the prison population during this emergency.

Many people came out to join the first day of the sit-in. There was tremendous press coverage, with stories on at least four TV stations in Madison and Milwaukee, public radio and more. You can see TV coverage here:

We do not know how long it will take Governor Evers to act. We hope it will be soon, but we want to be prepared for the long haul.  So, we are asking people to sign up for a 2 or 3 hour shift over the next couple of weeks to ensure that we have a constant presence outside the Governor’s mansion. It is easy to sign up here:

We need Governor Evers to understand that ignoring the families of people in prison, or the people of Wisconsin who are concerned about them, is not going to make them go away. He cannot make the Coronavirus leave our prisons by pretending it is not there.

Thousands of people in our prisons have already gotten sick with COVID 19, as have hundreds of Corrections Officers. We know people have died of the virus in our prisons, even though the state will not confirm how many. And, we know it will only get worse if the Governor remains silent.

This is a time when WISDOM’s voice is needed. Please join in if you can.

Share this