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May 19, 20

Prisoner Disturbance at Redgranite Correctional Institution, Wisconsin

Report on prisoner protest and disturbance at Redgranite Correctional in Wisconsin from Perilous Chronicle.

On May 12, 2020, a unit at Redgranite Correctional refused to comply with staff directives after the prison was placed on “modified movement” status, a form of lockdown. The modified status was instituted after a guard tested positive for Covid-19.

An emergency response unit was called in to quell the unrest.

Perilous Chronicle received a message from someone incarcerated at Redgranite Correctional Institution (RGCI). The prisoner asked that we not reveal his name out of fear of retaliation:

So they finally got us. A few people tested positive for covid-19 and they placed us on a complete lockdown. (No phones, no day rooms, no recreation, nothing!) Everyone is acting a damn fool right now. Nobody is locking in, officers don’t know what to do because nobody is listening to them, and they’re threatening a revolt. Dudes are on the phone, no one is going to work, sergeants are losing control. I’ve never seen anything as uncontrolled as this! It can only get more volatile as the minutes tick by. I don’t know if you will even get this message because they might go to “operation blackout” where no information is coming in or going out to protect themselves from scrutiny. So let Everyone know what’s going on up here and I will try to keep everyone up-to-date as information comes in. Hopefully you will get this message tonight sometime and be made aware of what’s going on in here. I will try to contact you all whenever I get the opportunity to do so. Hopefully you can email me back soon to let me know that you’ve received my message. Love you all, talk to you soon.

According to Makda Fessahaye, Administrator with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, the protest was quelled without use of force after staff explained to prisoners their santitation protocols. “After institution leadership responded to the unit,” Fessahaye explained “engaged with the individuals and provided additional information regarding the measures taken to ensure their health (for example, disinfecting phones, kiosks and tables between use), the individuals began to comply and returned to their rooms.”


Anonymous Redgranite Prisoner, Personal Interview via Jpay, May 15, 2020.

Makda Fessahaye, Administrator, Division of Adult Institutions, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Personal Interview via Email, May 15, 2020.
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Perilous Chronicle

Perilous is a project supported by a network of people—including you—who seek to gather and track information on prison uprisings, riots, protests, strikes, and other disturbances within public and private jails, prisons, and detention centers in the US and Canada. In this process, we rely on crowdsourced information in addition to local news outlets and our own reporting.

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