Building Momentum MADISON ORGANIZING IN STRENGTH, EQUALITY AND SOLIDARITY
COVER ART BY JAMES MORGAN
“The difficult I will do right now. The impossible will take a little while. — Billie Holiday
WISDOM Prophetic Declaration We are people of faith united by our passion for justice, commitment to community and a practice of hope. We stand together understanding that our lives and destinies are intertwined. • We come together because God calls us into relationship with one another, with our communities and with the world around us. • We come together from across the state, across faith traditions, across race, class, gender and ethnicity, and across many divides that might ordinarily keep us apart. • We come together around core faith convictions that affirm our direction and shape our vision for the future. • We come together to act for justice, build power and to transform our communities, cities and state. We stand together in our faith: • We believe in the God-given dignity and infinite worth of each and every human life. • We believe that we are each and all part of a sacred community, to which we have responsibility and from which we gain sustenance. • We believe that our faith calls us to work for justice and liberation, standing against all forms of oppression and inequity. • We believe we are called to be stewards of the natural world in all its bounty and diversity. • We believe in shared abundance and stand against the dominant culture of reckless consumption and consumerism for some and deprivation for others. • We believe in the triumph of love and hope over hate and fear. We build power and act together, drawing courage and inspiration from our faith. We believe God has called us to live, speak and act courageously in accordance with our faith beliefs. Together we will create the community we seek for ourselves, but also build the power we need to transform the world around us. We will build the relationships and strategic capacity we need to powerfully engage and impact public decisions. Together we declare: Where there is division, we declare unity. Where there is hatred, we declare love. Where there is lack, we declare abundance. Where there is desolation, we declare renewal. Where there is discouragement, we declare hope. Where there is lack of strength, we declare power!
For more information on WISDOM, contact David Liners: (414) 736-2099 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About MOSES MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality and Solidarity) is a grass roots, interfaith organization working in the Madison area that unites congregations, individuals and non-profit organizations to build a better community. We join together to take action on social justice issues affected by public policy, beginning with the problem of mass incarceration in Wisconsin. We are an affiliate of WISDOM, a statewide network of organizations like ours. MOSES had its formal commitment ceremony in November of 2012, meaning we are three years old on November 16th, 2015. We welcome faith communities, individuals, and other partners to join MOSES to build community and address issues of social injustice. We seek to: • Deliver a message of hope, healing, and unity that reaches beyond the divisions of race, creed, and social-economic barriers. • Build solid relationships with one another and with the greater community. • Identify and take action on root causes of poverty, oppression, and injustice. • Empower and train leaders to respond to injustices at the local, state, and national level. • Be agents of change that build upon and create strong and just communities. • Begin a discussion on social justice issues and their possible solutions in our communities. To create change, MOSES uses: • Connection: Relating to each other and to those in our community, including those different from ourselves; • Education: Helping communities better understand the public policy issues that affect our lives; • Training: Enhancing our abilities to act as leaders; • Advocacy: Speaking with a common voice so public policy better reflects our common values; • Action: Moving beyond the walls of our congregations to make our presence felt and to transform our communities. Working Locally, Throughout the State of Wisconsin, and Across the Nation MOSES is part of a powerful statewide organization, WISDOM, with 11 other congregation-based affiliates across the state which work to live out their values in the world. WISDOM is a member of the Gamaliel Foundation, a national network that works to address issues of justice. While MOSES maintains its own board of directors, bylaws, and finances, and selects its issues locally, our partnership with WISDOM and Gamaliel allows us to work together at the state and national level when needed. MOSES is Non-Partisan As an organization that works to address systemic change, we are often engaged in public policy affairs. However, we do not endorse candidates or parties. We believe in the need to build relationships with all elected officials, state and local, and in the need to hold public officials accountable no matter what party they represent.
Madison Organizing In Strength, Equality and Solidarity
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
“The word ‘solidarity’ is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It presumes the creation of a mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.” —Pope Francis
Message from the President Dear MOSES Members and Supporters,
Executive Committee and Staff: Eric Howland President Talib Akbar Designated Vice President Carolyn Moynihan Bradt Vice President Alison Brooks Secretary Pat Andersons Treasurer Anne Hines Assistant Secretary Ann Lacy Financial Secretary Sister Joan Duerst Director, Clergy Caucus Karen Reece Communications Consultant
As I write this, in September 2015, MOSES and WISDOM are in transition. WISDOM has reached the end of the 11x15 Project, a campaign that aimed to reduce the number of people incarcerated in Wisconsin to 11,000 by 2015. Although not all goals were met, there were important, notable achievements: an increase of 5 million dollars for alternatives to incarceration; recent changes in Department of Corrections policies around the use of solitary confinement; several proposed bills for further expansion of alternatives, including a bill to return first time, non-violent 17-year-olds to the juvenile legal system. WISDOM’s new campaign is called Restoring Our Communities — Beyond 11x15 or ROC Wisconsin. The focus on communities gives WISDOM the opportunity to consider developments that are based on shared value systems that will reflect the best policy outcomes for families and individuals most affected by the campaign. The MOSES Jail Task Force is also evolving.They had a very busy year as demonstrated through their recap, which you will be able to read later in the Yearbook. I would like to acknowledge MOSES’s incredible contribution to the local discussion on the New Jail. It was possible because of the tremendous work,impressive knowledge and persistence demonstrated by members of the New Jail Task Force.Their willingness to return again and again to draft legislation with improved language, allowed the final bill to reflect MOSES’s values. Thank You! Now the Jail Task Force is reorganizing again to insure that progress does not stop when Dane County receives the recommendations. This will lead us to new forms of advocacy and new allies. MOSES and WISDOM are founded on the idea that universal values should form the basis of public policy and can provide a cohesive model of what justice in our community can look like. MOSES is the ideal organization to bring that vision into the public discussion. I would like to acknowledge John Mix, recipient of the 2015 MOSES Leadership Award for his role as Dane County Chaplain. His work has had a profound and positive influence on the lives of inmates in the Dane County Jail. What can be more important than placing yourself in the service of those who find themselves shut away from their natural lives and the lives of their loved ones? John instilled in people a sense that they are never truly alone, that there is hope through companionship, self expression through art and recognition through continuing to challenge yourself to learn, no matter what your circumstances. Thank you, John! MOSES’ successes this year are the result of our members’ hard work and persistence. We should all pause and thank each other for each person’s contributions. Thank both the people in the spotlight, but also the many people who saw a need and simply stepped up to satisfy it. As a result of our work and the wider public awareness of the issues we are working on we were able to make striking progress this year. Even better, for the long term, our deep values of fairness and human worth are getting wider attention. Yet the next step, of implementing recommended reforms, will take even more work than was needed to achieve our current success. We can not be satisfied until we bring justice into the legal system and the lives of people most affected. Eric Howland, President, MOSES MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
Congregational/Organizational Members of MOSES Advent Lutheran Church Bethany United Methodist Church
Madison Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Breaking Barriers Mentoring Call to Action Madison Area End Times Ministries International First Unitarian Society of Madison Fountain of Life Family Worship Center Holy Wisdom Monastery Hoover Family Foundation James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Memorial United Church of Christ, Fitchburg Midvale Community Lutheran Church Plymouth United Church of Christ Discipleship Team Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society St. John’s Lutheran Church St. Mark’s Lutheran Church St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church Snowflower Buddhist Sangha
Lake Edge Lutheran Church
Southwest Wisconsin Association, UCC, Division on Social Concerns
Lake Edge United Church of Christ, Christ-Centered Justice Team
Unity of Madison Zion City International Church Ministries
About WISDOM WISDOM is a statewide network of congregation-based community organizations that work to live out their values in the world. WISDOM works on immigration reform, public transit, criminal justice and other issues. WISDOM’s oldest member organization, MICAH (in Milwaukee) was founded in 1988. Other WISDOM organizations in the state include: RIC (Racine County) CUSH (Kenosha County) SOPHIA (Waukesha County) ESTHER (Fox Cities & Oshkosh) JOSHUA (Green Bay & Brown County) NAOMI (Wausau area) JONAH (Eay Claire area) AMOS (LaCrosse area) RUTH (Manitowoc) MOSES (Madison area) Each local organization is represented at the decision-making tables of WISDOM. MOSES (like all WISDOM organizations) is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations to MOSES are tax-exempt. MOSES does NOT endorse candidates or get involved in partisan politics. We have members from all political parties, and we believe in the need to hold public officials accountable, no matter what party they represent.
WISDOM’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin The 11X15 Campaign For Safer, Healthier Communities WISDOM began its “11x15 Campaign” in early 2012, calling for the state to cut its prison population in half, to 11,000 by the end of 2015. Though the Wisconsin prison population has stopped growing and shrank slightly, we are still far from the goal we set out in 2012. While we succeeded in demonstrating that the prison population can safely be reduced by at least half, and though we helped build a great deal of popular support for the goal, it seems that this is an issue where our elected leaders lag behind the people they represent. The campaign was extremely successful in raising the profile of the issue, with presentations made by trained leaders to more than 5,000 people in every part of the state, and dozens of news stories generated by actions, studies and other activities. Events in Madison have drawn as many as 1,000 supporters. These efforts helped result in a 300 percent increase in the state budget for Treatment Alternatives and Diversions, which now keeps 1,000 people per year out of jails and prisons. During the 11x15 Campaign, WISDOM created and distributed tens of thousands of pieces of printed material, from tri-fold brochures to issue briefs about “old law prisoners,” crimeless revocations and solitary confinement. WISDOM also created lengthy publications such as Voices from Inside, a book featuring excerpts of letters WISDOM received from prisoners, and the 2014 Blueprint to End Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin. In addition to these written materials, four videos highlighting the work of the campaign were also produced, and have been widely distributed and viewed.
Restoring our Communities (ROC) Wisconsin: Beyond 11x15 As we near the end of 2015, the campaign needs a new name. About 30 leaders from the 11x15 Campaign are actively involved in the effort to “re-brand” the campaign, with the goal of conveying a sense of our deepest goals. “ROC Wisconsin” will build on the concept of “restoration.”
However, the campaign will not abandon any of its unfinished business. Leaders and allies feel that the issue agenda laid out in the past year and in the “Blueprint” document is sound. It is important that there be no interruption in those efforts to: • Continue to expand Treatment, Alternatives, and Diversions (TAD) • End solitary confinement in our prisons • Bring about a review of the way parole-eligible prisoners are handled • Stop sending thousands of people back to prison for technical violations of supervision (“crimeless revocations”) • Remove barriers that keep down formerly-incarcerated people The ROC Wisconsin campaign will have the following additional goals of: • Restoring people to health (treatment, not prison for people with mental health or addiction issues) • Restoring families both by reducing incarceration and providing more re-integration support • Restoring communities that have been damaged by mass incarceration • Restoring people formerly incarcerated into the economy, community and civic life • Restoring balance in our criminal justice system • Restoring fiscal discipline and humane priorities to our state budget At the most basic level, the ROC campaign, will force Wisconsin to ask the questions regarding, “Why do we have a criminal justice system?” The campaign will provide a stark contrast between a system built mainly upon retribution, punishment and vengeance, and a system built primarily on the goals of restoration, healing and reconciliation. In summary, ROC Wisconsin will have four principal aims: • To address the issues of racial and economic inequity that underlie mass incarceration • To reduce Wisconsin’s prison population by half
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
Talib Akbar, Na’Zeeya Bey and Caliph Muab-el, members of EXPO, help to grow the leadership and participation of formerlyincarcerated people in the work of MOSES and WISDOM. • To change the way that Wisconsinites view people convicted of crimes, so they are considered as human beings and members of families • To remove barriers to the full restoration of formerlyincarcerated people to the economy, communities and civic life
EXPO (EX-Prisoners Organizing) A key element of ROC Wisconsin will be the participation and leadership of formerly-incarcerated people. Although there have always been formerly-incarcerated people, as well as family members of currently and formerly-incarcerated people involved with 11x15, the past year has seen a concerted effort to build the participation and leadership of people with conviction histories. Members of the group EXPO will help continue to grow the campaign’s leadership and involvement of this important group of people. EXPO already has participation from about 75-80 people, all of whom have participated in two-day (Friday evening and all day Saturday) leadership training events. Within this group, 18 people participated in a first ever “Weeklong Leadership Training” in Milwaukee on June 21-26. The training was the exact same National Leadership Training that Gamaliel offers for professional organizers and significant leaders. This is the first training of its kind held anywhere in the U.S.,
with the exclusive goal of empowering formerly-incarcerated people to build a powerful organization that can have a voice in the future of the criminal justice system. From that training emerged a strong core of leaders, with a plan to grow EXPO, both in breadth and depth. The voices of many people joined together will change the way Wisconsin approaches criminal justice. It will take people from all walks of life, all races, and all parts of the state to join together to finally say “enough!” Change is coming much more slowly than it should, but it is coming. ROC Wisconsin: Restoring Our Communities beyond 11x15 is the vehicle that will ensure that WISDOM will keep up the fight until the day that change is finally here.
Official kick-off: Tuesday, November 3, 2015. More details will be available as this date approaches. To learn more or to get involved at any level of the campaign, please visit our website or contact us: www.prayforjusticeinwi.org 414-831-2070 email@example.com
MOSES Leadership Award
A Compassionate Presence John Mix
Retired Chaplain, Dane County Jail
“Wake-up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living.” —Pope Francis
MOSES is proud to award this year’s Leadership Award to John Mix. John retired as chaplain at the Dane County Jail on August 31st, a position he has held for the past eight years. MOSES would like to acknowledge John in his role as chaplain; for the many lives he influenced positively; and the solace he gave in some of the most isolated and hardest moments in individual’s lives. John didn’t initially start out working within the prison system. After 10 years as a Lutheran pastor, in 1986, he left the ministry to pursue art. The administrative aspects did not suit him and there was not enough need for pastoral care. John decided to take an art class. He continued fine art classes and also studied art therapy in Chicago. He sold his art in art fairs and commissioned sculptures over the next 20 years. He was reminded of how wonderful being inspired by your work and your sense of contribution to the world could be. During this time he was introduced to prison ministry through another pastor who spoke at a church about working within the prison system. Like his connection with art, John felt compelled to investigate. One or two days a week he worked as a chaplain in a medium security prison for men and two juvenile prisons. He immediately felt a sense of importance in the work, something John now refers to as, “a ministry of presence.” As the Dane County Jail Chaplain, John has had many responsibilities. He assisted people in addressing various needs which could be as diverse as introducing people to art therapy; holding Protestant services on Sundays; checking on individuals on behalf of their families and providing pastoral care and counseling over the course of an individual’s internment. John related that the most important aspect of his work was to be a compassionate presence for the individuals in jail and to help others find meaning within their lives, through the pursuit of their own North Star. John says that he deeply felt that, “this person is more than the worst choice they ever made” and that we all deserve recognition for the weight we carry through our lives.
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
JOHN MIX (6)
2015: Building Momentum » A look back at MOSES activites over the year.
» Solitary Confinement: Raising awareness As President Obama said in his speech to the NAACP on July 14, 2015 “… we should not tolerate conditions in prison that have no place in any civilized country…. The social science shows that an environment (of solitary confinement) is often more likely to make inmates more alienated, more hostile, potentially more violent. Do we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for 23 hours a day, for months, sometimes for years, at a time? That is not going to make us safer. That is not going to make us stronger. And if those individuals are ultimately released, how are they ever going to adapt?”
hile speaking before a House Appropriations Subcommittee in March of 2015, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy “blasted” the U.S. prison system for isolating inmates. “Solitary confinement literally drives men mad,” he said in response to questions from an Arkansas Representative. (Huffington Post, March 24, 2015) As evidenced by the quote above, along with countless other news articles and interviews in the national press within the last year, the issue of solitary confinement, has finally made it into the national conversation, in a very significant way. Both WISDOM and the ongoing work of MOSES congregations, in particular, can take credit for being a very visible part of this ground-breaking shift in bringing to light the torture and abuse caused by solitary confinement. MOSES research has revealed that, on any given day in Wisconsin, there are at least 1,400–1,500 prisoners kept in isolation. These men and women endure 23 to 24 hours a day in a solitary cell, often for months at a time – some for years, or even decades. To make this abusive practice more visible to our citizens, we decided to find a way to help people actually experience, even for a few moments, what this torture would be like. Our Replica Solitary Confinement Cell In the fall of 2014, the Prison Ministry Project of the First United Church of
Christ in Madison donated the funding to create a life-size replica of a solitary confinement cell, based on the exact specifications of a segregation cell in a Wisconsin state prison. As our first action, the mobile replica was installed on the steps of the State Capitol on October 1, 2014, as part of a powerfully moving rally against solitary confinement. Complete with a soundtrack of the horrifying and haunting sounds of prisoners screaming and banging the doors inside of an actual solitary unit, the cell moved many to tears that day. Since the initial installation at the Capitol, the replica cell has been on tour across our state, spending a week or so in most locations: • November ’14: Madison Christian Community, Madison • December ’14: Lake Edge Lutheran Church, Madison • January ’15: First Congregational United Church of Christ, Madison • March ’15: Edgewood College, Madison, WI and Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI • May ’15: First Unitarian Society, Madison • June ’15: Annual Juneteenth Celebration, Racine, WI • July ’15: Sinsinawa Mound Center, Sinsanawa, WI • October ’15: ‘Right Next Door: Beyond the Walls of Church and Neighbor’, Interfaith conference in Ankeny, Iowa • Fall 2015: Fox Valley & Green Bay
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
Highlights of the Replica Solitary Cell Installations • At least 3,000 people have been through our replica cell; it is likely at least another 2,500 have walked by and read the posters and seen the banners. During the various installations, the cell has been toured by college classes, members of the media, numerous clergy of various faiths, social justice activists, and the general public. •C ommunity forums have been held at most of the installations, allowing people to hear stories from affected family members and to gather information on the issues. The forums have also often involved talking circles, which allow the participants to talk about their responses to the cell, ask questions, and learn how to become involved in the issue of solitary confinement. •A number of legislators have experienced the cell, whether on the steps of the Capitol or at other installations. At the Juneteenth Celebration in Racine, the cell was installed right across from the table for statewide Republicans, and even Representative Robin Vos, the Assembly Speaker, walked over to see the cell. • The installation at Marquette University’s Raynor Library in March led to some national and even international press, after the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s coverage was picked up nationally. • Solitary Watch, a national advocacy group, did an extensive summary of
progress against solitary in Wisconsin. In addition, the leadership of WISDOM voted to become a participating member in the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), whose U.S. campaign focuses on ending the use of solitary confinement nationwide. •M any people have spent up to an hour at a time sitting in the cell alone, and some have written moving reflections about their experience. Reverend Phil Haslanger, a UCC pastor from Fitchburg, wrote a reflective piece on his experience that was published by Sojourners, a national magazine that focuses on social justice issues. (See page 14). • T im Coursen has made a number of videos about the cell and some of its installations, including the worship service that featured the cell at First Congregational UCC Church in Madison. These videos receive hundreds of views online, and the Madison Public Library and the University of Wisconsin Law Library expressed interest in acquiring copies of all of the REFORM NOW videos for their collections. • T he success of our replica cell has led to the creation of a ‘sister’ cell, built by NRCAT (the National Religious Campaign Against Torture) in Washington, D.C. Their cell, built directly from our specifications, has already been featured at three very large faith-based conferences, traveling from D.C. to New Jersey, and then to Cleveland.
ACTIONS REQUIRED TO REFORM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT NOW *Note: The Wisconsin Dept of Corrections is now using the term ‘Restricted Status Housing’ (RSH) to refer to what the general public would know as solitary confinement or disciplinary segregation. • T he Department of Corrections (DOC) must restrict the use of solitary confinement to 15 days or less, and then only for safety reasons. • The DOC must eliminate the use of solitary confinement for all mentally ill inmates and must establish model mental health units in all state prisons. • The DOC must ban the use of solitary confinement for all prisoners under the age of 21, regardless of whether they have been waived into an adult status. • The DOC must immediately establish a public database to report the exact number of prisoners held in Restricted Status Housing (RSH) every day, their mental health status, their age and racial-ethnic identity, how long they have been in RSH and how much longer they are projected to be there. A more expanded version of these actions can be seen in the REFORM NOW Brief on Solitary Confinement published by WISDOM in October, 2014.
» A glimpse into solitary confinement PHOTO COURTESY OF PHIL HASLANGER
By Phil Haslanger
Many people have spent up to an hour at a time sitting in the cell alone, and some, like Phil Haslanger, have written moving reflections about their experience.
I started 2015 in solitary confinement. It’s not that I am regularly in prison or that I had behaved so badly. I was simply in a mock solitary cell located in the sanctuary of a church. I was only there for an hour. But that hour did offer a glimpse into the world of how solitary confinement is used — and abused — in our nation’s prisons. When Kate Edwards, a Buddhist chaplain who has worked in the Wisconsin prison, closed the door behind me, I was alone, but hardly in silence. One of the dominant experiences is the noise, the unrelenting noise. Edwards had a tape playing of actual noise from solitary. The intensity varied, but it veered from inmates banging on doors and kicking walls, to screaming and howling. The sense of night and day disappears. The light in the cell is on all the time. I thought I had figured out a way to outsmart it. If I put my head closer to the door, I was looking away from the
light. “That won’t work,” Edwards told me. “You have to keep your head at the far end where the guards can see you,” she said. I tried to figure out how to pass the time. I could walk back and forth, and I did that a lot. I could lie on the bed and stare at the light. I could sit on the bed. I began to think of the banging as a kind of prison percussion, looking for patterns in the rhythm — but, of course, they did not really exist. I counted the bricks on the wall — there were nine across. I paced, feeling like an animal in a cage at the zoo. It did not take long for the affects of solitary confinement to creep up on me. And my experience was pretty benign. People going into solitary with mental illness do not come out with any improvement and studies show the harmful effects of extended stays in solitary. Suicides and attempted suicides are part of the solitary experience. Roughly 4,000 prisoners a year spend some time in solitary in this state and in 2013, 118 inmates in Wisconsin were kept there for more than two years. That makes my hour in a fake cell seem like the blink of an eye. But it did help open my eyes to the overuse of solitary confinement and the need for all of us, to keep our eyes on the need for change. Phil Haslanger is pastor at Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg. This is part of a column that originally appeared on Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog.
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MOSES MEMBERS
» Madison Action Day On Wednesday, April 29, 2015 well over 100 MOSES members and friends joined hundreds of people from WISDOM affiliates and allies from around the state at the biannual “People of Faith United for Justice Advocacy Day”. This energizing day of legislative advocacy began at Bethel Lutheran Church with inspiring speeches, and a broad overview of our priority issues for the day, which fell into four broad areas: social safety net (such as drug testing and Medicaid expansion), criminal justice reform, driver licenses for immigrants, and transit. After attending an
informative breakout session—each of which covered one of the four areas in greater detail — and lunching by senate district, everyone marched around the Capitol square in the bright sunlight, wearing WISDOM t-shirts color-coded by affiliate. MOSES was fortunate to have been assigned bright blue as our color. MOSES members then headed to First United Methodist Church for a presentation on our issues — with a focus on criminal justice reform—followed by large town hall meeting sessions with Senator Mark Miller and staff from the offices of Senators Jon Erpenbach and
Fred Risser and Representatives Therese Berceau, Gary Hebl, Dianne Hesselbein, Robb Kahl, Sondy Pope, Melissa Sargent, Lisa Subeck, and Chris Taylor. The sanctuary was a sea of bright blue shirts! Legislators and staff returned to their offices with packets of information outlining WISDOM’s positions on the issues; MOSES members headed home knowing that we had been heard by our elected representatives. It was a welcome opportunity to come together as people of faith and add our voices to Wisconsin’s political conversation.
»MOSES New Jail Task Force:
Changing the Conversation About Incarceration in Dane County MOSES members formed the MOSES Jail Task Force, in July of 2014, in response to the release of a countycommissioned study, written by the architecture and consulting firm Mead and Hunt, that recommended the county build an entirely new (“greenfield”) jail at a cost of upwards of $130 million. With the possibility of the county sinking such a vast amount of money into incarceration, the Jail Task Force began a flurry of activity analyzing Mead and Hunt’s study and presenting opposing views at county board meetings and other public venues, as well as to stakeholders and media. Since early on, the three primary goals of the Jail Task Force have been:
1. S top all unnecessary incarceration in Dane County, which includes: • End racial disparities in incarceration • Provide treatment instead of jail for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, or addictions 2. Improve conditions for people in the county jail 3. E nsure that any jail facilities changes promote the above two goals A significant early victory came at the start of October 2014, when County Executive Joe Parisi’s proposed budget did not include funding for the proposed jail. This was not the end of the story with regard to Mead and Hunt’s study and the county jail though, and the past year has continued to be a very active
one for the Jail Task Force. Through the fall and winter, the Jail Task Force pushed back against renewed proposals by the county for a de facto new jail, much of the action taking place in meetings of the Public Protection and Judiciary (PP&J) committee of the county board. A draft proposal put forward in late November, for example, called for another study by Mead and Hunt to, among other objectives, identify how to implement the original new jail proposal, only over time and in phases. This proposal, along with questions over how the county might decide to spend $8 million in capital funds it had previously allocated for jail planning, sparked an even more widespread public outcry. Large crowds that included MOSES members, members of
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
Many MOSES members work for justice volunteering on the Jail Task Force: Back row from left: Mark Hoover, Rev. Joe Baring, Talib Akbar, Ann Pooler, Paul Saeman, Nino Rodriguez, Rachel Kincaide, Eric Howland, Pat Anderson, Mary Anglim. Front row from left: Joan Duerst, Anne Edwardson, Lynne Butorac, Na’Zeeya Bey, Lisa Munro, Jan Gilbert, Barbara Benson, Jeanie Verschay.
the Young Gifted & Black Coalition, and more, turned out to a number of PP&J meetings to protest the county investing in incarceration. Many individuals gave powerful testimony about personal experiences with racial discrimination and other unfair treatment in the justice system. With all this activity going on, and concerns that the county might attempt to move forward with an incarceration agenda, members of the Jail Task Force organized a mobilization at the January MOSES monthly meeting. There was a presentation providing up-to-date information about the county’s plans with regard to the jail, and outlining the need for implementing evidence-based practices, including better and expanded treatment, alternatives, and diversion
programs. (Such practices and programs both divert people away from being incarcerated, avoiding the often long-lasting harmful effects of being locked up, and are less expensive than incarceration.) The mobilization encouraged MOSES members to get involved, for example by contacting county officials or attending PP&J meetings. Shortly after the New Year turned over, in a TV interview, Sheriff Dave Mahoney, outlined yet another idea for a de facto new jail: greatly expanding the existing jail facilities in the Public Safety Building, including constructing up to four new floors on the PSB. The Jail Task Force issued a press release in response, pointing out that an expansion of the PSB was similar to two “backup” options outlined in Mead and Hunt’s
report from the previous summer--options that were estimated to be even more expensive than the original plan for an entirely new jail. (The PSB options were priced between $146 and $161 million, but did not even include certain costs, whereas the “greenfield” jail was estimated to cost $130 to $150 million.) This pushback, as well as continued turnout at PP&J meetings, seemed to sink the PSB option as a standalone plan. With all the public pressure being placed on the county over the jail and broader justice system issues, county board members on PP&J began to move in a partly new direction. On February 19, the committee released the text of a new measure it would be considering, Resolution 556. This resolution became the focus of the Jail Task Force’s
work for the next three months, as the resolution wound its way through three county board committees and went through several significant revisions. In its original form, the resolution called for creating three work groups — potentially including both community members and people in county government — to devise recommendations for justice system changes in different areas, with an eye toward decreasing the number of people incarcerated in the county jail, and also the racial disparities among the people incarcerated. (The areas of the three work groups, as later updated and clarified, were mental health and solitary confinement, diversions from incarceration before arrest, and diversions from incarceration following arrest — i.e. decreasing the “length of stay” in jail.) On its own, this was another significant victory for the Jail Task Forces’s goal of ending unnecessary incarceration, in that the county was agreeing to make this more of a priority, and would be getting input from community members in a formal way. On the other hand, Resolution 556 also contained concerning provisions related to jail planning that harkened back to the de facto new jail proposals from the fall and earlier in the winter. For example, it would commission Mead and Hunt to create a new plan for expanding and renovating the Public Safety Building jail in phases “as growth and funding allows.” It also seemed that Mead and Hunt might be given sway over the three work groups. This raised questions about whether the work groups would really have “teeth” or if they would be mere window dressing to allow the county to make but a gesture at improving the dismal state of racial
disparities while going forward with its earlier jail-building plans. At a joint meeting of the county board’s Public Protection and Judiciarity committee and Health and Human Needs committee, held at the Alliant Energy Center on February 24th, there was again a large public turnout. Most of the people who testified regarding Resolution 556 were opposed given the concerns about a new jail still fundamentally being on the table. Over the next two weeks the Jail Task Force drafted a comprehensive position statement on Resolution 556 that was then adopted by MOSES as a whole at the March monthly meeting, with an eye toward being distributed to county board members and influencing how the resolution would be shaped. The statement called for improvements to the resolution and was divided into eight areas: 1. C reate crisis intervention and restoration centers to provide services to those with mental health needs, substance abuse issues, or developmental disabilities, rather than locking them up in jail 2. E xpand existing alternative and diversion programs, and look at setting up additional programs 3. A chieve racial equity, in part by setting concrete goals for participation in services and alternative/diversion programs 4. A ddress immediate and pressing life and safety issues in the county jail, but wait on broader jail planning until after the work groups have completed their recommendations 5. C ommitting the county to act on their proposals and by clarifying the need for specific implemenation methods
6. Implement better data systems so that there is accountability about who is in the justice system and why, including data disaggregation by relevant factors including race and ethnicity 7. Connect people to BadgerCare and FoodShare by providing county staff or volunteers to assist with applications, including to those who pass through the jail 8. R equire long-term jail planning to take into account work group recommendations that would decrease the number of people in jail Without delving into too many of the twists and turns (and there were quite a few!) that followed with Resolution 556, here are a few of the important developments that unfolded through early May: • The Jail Task Force began to write its own edits of the resolution, in order to make it crystal clear to members of the county board how it could be changed for the better. • The Personnel and Finance committee of the county board decided to slow down its consideration of the resolution in order to consult at more length with interested community groups, including MOSES. • The idea of having three work groups was briefly removed and replaced by a more stripped-down way of soliciting community input into the reform process--the Jail Task Force pushed back strongly against that change, and played a part in getting the three work group format reinstated. • A set of 14 principles to guide the county’s process of reforming the jus-
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
tice system was added to the resolution, originating in one of the Jail Task Force’s proposed edits. Ultimately, the resolution passed the full county board by a unanimous vote on May 21st. Many of the changes to the resolution suggested by the Jail Task Force, and connected with the March 7th position statement, were ultimately incorporated. The final version of Resolution 556 included, among many others, stronger racial equity language throughout; made it clear that the work group recommendations would be used in forming county operating budget proposals for 2016 and beyond; and contained provisions requiring upcoming jail planning to take into consideration work group recommendations that would decrease the number of people in jail. The passage of this significantly improved version of Resolution 556 was a major victory, but it is also only a first step in achieving actual reforms to the justice system. The Jail Task Force is keen to see the county work groups produce the best possible recommendations for the county to act on, and it called on MOSES members to apply to be on the work groups in order to represent MOSES. Three MOSES members were ultimately selected to serve starting at the end of June, one on each work group. The Jail Task Force has also re-organized to mirror the three county work groups, so as to lend support to the MOSES members who are serving and further the efforts of the work groups as a whole. Throughout the year, Jail Task Force members have also been carrying out the ongoing work of meeting with elected officials and other important
figures in the local justice system. These meetings can simultaneouly serve as ways to learn about the justice system as it currently exists, to educate those in power about MOSES’s views and goals and to establish relationships that MOSES and the Jail Task Force can draw on as we continue our work. Among those that Jail Task Force members have met with are Dane County Circuit Court Judges Juan Colas and Nicholas McNamara; Dee Dee Watson, the regional attorney manager for the Madison office of the State Public Defender; the public defender’s office, and a number of members of the county board. In a similar vein, in October of 2014, three MOSES members involved with the Jail Task Force helped to organize a very successful community forum on alternatives to jail, held at the Fountain of Life Church and hosted by Justified ANGER. There were several speakers followed by breakout discussions on a number of topic areas. The event was attended by 85 people, including District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, several judges and top jail administrators, and other elected officials. New Jail Task Force Moving Forward Looking to the future, there are several areas to which the Jail Task Force intends to devote its attentions. First and foremost is the outcome of Resolution 556. Not only is it important for the county work groups to produce solid recommendations, the county board, and especially the Public Protection and Judiciary committee, must be held accountable when it comes to acting on the eventual recommendations. Likewise, it will be important that specific county agencies or other parts of the
county government fully and meaningfully carry out the changes in policy and practice that are the substance of reform. Another aspect of Resolution 556 that is very important to keep an eye on is jail planning, to make sure that backsliding in the direction of a de facto new jail is kept in check. Either Mead and Hunt or another similar firm will be creating a new set of proposals in the coming months to address both pressing facility safety issues in the jail, particularly the City-County Building, as well as more nebulous “health and safety needs” and “meeting current jail standards.” Hopefully the proposals will be limited in scope, but this cannot necessarily be taken for granted. The Jail Task Force also wants to take a look at jail operations, including things like fees, to decrease the extent to which the local justice system is funded on the backs of people who are incarcerated. The Jail Task Force also recognizes that this round of attention being paid to the justice system through Resolution 556 and its work groups cannot be the end of reform efforts in the county for the forseeable future. Positive changes must be ongoing in order to make a lasting difference, and finding a way to build such ongoing reform into the system is important. One way of doing this could be to re-design the county’s Criminal Justice Council, so that it includes community representation. Another might be to use the work group format for producing recommendations, repeating it on a regular basis. Whatever the case may be, the Jail Task Force will continue to be a presence working for needed changes in the justice system here in Dane County.
Ways to Support MOSES: PHOTOS COURTESY OF MOSES MEMBERS
Learn… Check out the MOSES website: www.mosesmadison.org Attend a monthly meeting (usually the first Saturday of each month from 10-noon, location varies, but is always listed on the website.)
Get involved… Serve on a committee. Volunteer for an action. Participate in a training.
Donate… The more financial support MOSES receives from our members — congregational, organizational, and individual — the less dependent we are on donations that may come with strings attached, and the less time we need to spend seeking and writing for grants. One of the advantages of being an affiliate of WISDOM is that MOSES, like all of the other affiliates across the state, is able to share in WISDOM’s 501 (c) 3 status, and also its coordination of an electronic giving program through electronic funds transfer. Tax-deductible donations in any amount are always welcome, and may be mailed at any time to MOSES, PO Box 7031, Madison, WI 53707. For information on enrolling in the monthly giving program, please download an individual membership form from the MOSES website or contact the MOSES Treasurer at firstname.lastname@example.org
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
Thank you for your support November 2014–September 2015
Sustainers ($120+) Bev Buhr and Carin Bringelson Colette and Stanley Corwin Robin and John Downs Gary and Pamela Gates Dick Goldberg and Lisa Munro James Green and William Diederich Ralph and Marie Jackson Karen Julesberg Alice Jenson Nancy and Andy Kosseff Ann Lacy and Steven Klafka James O’Brien Susan and Terry Millar Susan and Steven Spiro Morris Waxler and Carolyn Zahn Waxler Lisa and Kenneth West Rain Zephyr
Patrons ($25-$119) Anonymous Patricia Ball Barbara Benson Anjali Bhasin Julia Bilgere Kevin and Merilee Blackmer Lewis Bosworth
Buddhist Peace Fellowship Wynn Davies Mary Ann and David Drapcho Suzanne Gardner Chris Glad Alan and Katie Green Denise Hettrick Frances Hoffman Kristin Hoffschmidt and Greg Padden Seth Jensen Anne and Brook Johnson John Koch Allen and Joan Liegel Nancy Lloyd Juli Loker Gail Martinelli and Family Kristi Minahan Mary Musholt Shelley and Rick North Colleen O’Hara Jan O’Neill and Hank Kuehling Leila Pine Ann Pooler Emmanuel Scarbrough Mike Stier Audrey Tommerson Patricia Watson
Friends ($5-$24) Rachel Avery and Teressa Pepper Susan Balliette Alison Brooks Erica Colmenares Penny Eiler and William Parmenter Anne Edwardson Steve Ferris Renée Gregory Bob Gwynne Joan and Tom Kemble Naomi and James McGloin Sheryl Renslo Roy Schenk
Foundations and Grants Alison Brooks Charitable Fund ELCA World Hunger (Domestic Hunger Grants) Katz-Krantz Family Foundation Racine Dominicans Sinsinawa Dominicans Ministry Fund
“Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.” — Jesse Jackson
INSIGHTS WITH DICK GOLDBERG 30 minute informative and fascinating podcasts (radio on demand) on psychology, society, business and life. Featuring longtime former WI Public Radio and PBS-TV host Dick Goldberg. Topics include:
Restorative Justice with Reverend Jerry Hancock Prison and Jail Ministry with Chaplain John Mix and Reverend Jerry Hancock Plus 50 more, including Homelessness, Forgiveness, Business Ethics, etc… To listen on your smartphone or computer, go to DickGoldbergRadio.com or subscribe with iTunes or Stitcher Radio
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
In a world graced by the Holy Spirit yet wounded by
PLYMOU H CHURCH
celebrating faith and love without barriers
divisions, exploitation, and oppression, we are impelled by
Sunday Worship Service: 9:30am
God’s tender mercy to commit ourselves in partnership with others to seek and foster right
Wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!
relationships among all of God’s people and with Earth that sustains us.
2401 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI www.pcucc.org - 608.249.1537
Thank you, MOSES!
Society of St. Vincent de Paul ♦ Food Pantry
(Customer-choice model ‒ eligibility every 30 days)
♦ Vinny’s Lockers
Books change lives — so does MOSES!
(Goods/documents storage for those without a home)
♦ Charitable Pharmacy Helping Our Neighbors In Need
(For persons without current access to insurance)
2033 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison 608.257.0919 •www.svdpmadison.org
Please call before visiting.
“Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities.” —Robert H. Schuller
See: http://TeachingBooks.net/MOSES www.mosesmadison.org
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MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TAYLOR: WORKING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank
“Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through by the passion of individuals.” — Margaret Mead
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MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
Memorial United Church of Christ Standing with MOSES. Following Jesus, who came “to bring good news to the poor… to proclaim release to the captives… to let the oppressed go free.”
Reaching out in ever-widening circles as witnesses of God’s all-inclusive love. 5705 Lacy Rd, Fitchburg WI + www.memorialucc.org
WEGLEITNER On the County Board, Heidi is a strong voice to: expand restorative justice and alternatives to incarceration b end the failed war on drugs b expand community mental health programs and implement Cit b end solitary confinement b stop criminalization of poverty b increase access to affordable housing b implement racial equity and social Justice initiative and recommendations from the jail reform work groups. Authorized And pAid for by friends of heidi Wegleitner, MAry AngliM treAsurer
McHUGH FAMILY DENTISTRY Thomas W. McHugh D.D.S. 6660 University Avenue Middleton, WI 53562 Office Hours by Appointment
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” — Benjamin Franklin
2349 Deming Way, Suite 300 Middleton, WI 53562 608-826-1900 Phone 608-830-5063 Direct 608-826-1901 Fax email@example.com Visit us online at www.meichercpa.com www.mosesmadison.org
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MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
“I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent.” — Rabbi A.Y. Kook
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MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
“For freedom Christ has set us free.” Galations 5:1
Congratulations to MOSES, as you continue to fight the good fight of freedom for all. 4032 Monona Dr., Madison, WI 53716 • (608) 222-7339 • lelc.org www.mosesmadison.org
In Gratitude To those whose generous donations and services made this annual celebration possible: Our Hosts We are especially grateful to Zion City International for hosting this year’s event. Thanks to Culinary Creations Catering Service of the Catholic Multicultural Center for supplying us with tasty appetizers. Musical offerings are provided by singer/guitarist Carl Wray, the Zion City Youth Praise Dancers, and the Zion City Praise Team. Celebration Committee We thank the MOSES Celebration planning committee for their diligent efforts in bringing us this year’s annual celebration. Members include Fawn Bilgere, Na’Zeeya Bey, Sr. Joan Duerst, Jeanie Verschay, Ann Lacy, Karen Cook, Lisa West, Rachel Kincade and Nancy Kosseff. Yearbook Committee We are appreciative of the contributions of the yearbook committee, Renée Gregory, editor; Ann Lacy, ads coordinator; Jessica Spiegel, assistant editor; Julia Cechvala, proofer; Anne Hines, photography; Colleen O’Hara, graphic design; and Wells Print and Digital Services. Thank you to our members who solicited ads from the community to support the work of MOSES and the production of the yearbook. Silent Auction Donors Thanks to Betty Lou Cruises, Anthony Dailey, Dave Friedman, Karen Julesberg, James Morgan, the Nau-Ti-Gal, Princeton Club, the Weary Traveler, and several anonymous donors for making the Fantasy Fishbowl Fundraiser and the Art Corner possible through their generous donations. Featured Artwork The cover and inside cover art were created by MOSES member, James Morgan. The artwork (shown at right) was gathered by MOSES members from various individuals incarcerated throughout the State of Wisconsin. Quotations used throughout were submitted by members of the MOSES clergy caucus.
“We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Madison Organizing In Strength, Equality and Solidarity
MOSES: Building Momentum 2015
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