Kris Lotlikar

At least 150 prisoners formed a sit down protest at the Fox Lake Correctional Institution because of a department policy of moving inmates out of state. Bill Clausius, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, admitted that the

three-hour long sit-down was peaceful. In reaction to the demonstration, the prisoners who participated are being penalized with four months to a year of solitary confinement. Also, many of the protesters will get fewer visits and phone calls, less recreation time and allowed fewer possessions in their cells. There are varying reports on the number of inmates that took part in the sit down. DOC reports that there were 155 participants, but two prisoners who were present say there were several hundred.

Many of the protesters were moved to four other state prisons and more than a dozen were moved out of state even after the demonstration. More than 1,500 Wisconsin inmates are being held in Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Oklahoma because of prison overcrowding. This practice has limited family interaction through visits, which some consider cruel and unusual punishment. Jody O'Kane, who took part in the event, wrote a letter to his family, excerpts of which appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal. "I spent 13 years being good, trying to do the right thing in prison, and now all of a sudden, as a reward for that, they want to send me to Tennessee somewhere. So what if I have to spend 20 years in prison. At least I can spend it in Wisconsin where I can see you and spend as much time with you on visits as I can. It is much better than going down there." Janet O'Kane, Jody's mother, whose ability o travel is limited by health problems, told the Journal about the protest. "They weren't violent at all. It was a peaceful sit-down just like in the 60's. Their whole point was to be heard, and so far they haven't been heard at all."

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Issue #52, 7/31/98 NJ NEP Workers' Conviction Upheld in Appeals Court | Oakland City Council Votes to Shield Local Cannabis Dispensary from Federal Prosecution Controversy Over Searches | DOJ Asks for Dismissal of Hemp Suit | Feds Indict Peter McWilliams, Todd McCormick and Others, Alleging Vast Conspiracy to Supply Medical Marijuana | Peaceful Prison Protest Earns Solitary Confinement | Action Request: The Tax Stamp Controversy | New Zealand Health Ministry: Pot Poses No Serious Risk | Newsbriefs | Link of the Week | A Campaign for Substance Awareness | Debating Points | Office of National Drug Control Policy Hard at Work | Editorial: The Pompano Beach Twelve

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