Todd Hiivala / recreation for workers made impossible

Todd Hiivala 363687
GBCI , PO Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307 

Inmates forced to choose between recreation and their prison jobs
Greetings to all at Community, along with appreciation for the time, hard work and continued advocacy on behalf of those of us housed at this and other Wisconsin correctional institutions.

Below find letters I mailed to the DOC Secretary, DAI Administrator and Security Chief in Madison, informing them of GBCI officials' most recent action in forcing those with jobs or in school to relinquish up to half of their constitutionally protected right to recreation. This blatant act of retaliation against 1,100 inmates for the despicable action of a single inmate who assaulted a staff member with hot water is unprecedented. As I pointed out to DCC officials, I've done over a quarter century in a dozen prisons across three states and have never witnessed anything--any assault on the fundamental rights of inmates--as flagrant as this! I firmly believe they are attempting to push this prison over the edge, so to speak, to justify "locking it down" long-term and turning it into the State's next Supermax.

The inmate complaint process here being ineffectual (useless, really), I invoked Wisconsin Statute 301.29(3), asking that the Secretary conduct an internal investigation into this radical departure by GECI officials from DCC rules. Yet the fact the Deputy Warden here has just (8/17) issued an official memo confirming that inmate workers and students will be forced to forego their recreation periods seems indicative of non-action by, or the indifference of, Madison officials. Apparently only the courts will be able to reign-in these rogue prison officials and force them to follow the law, the rules of the department, and observe the constitutional rights of inmates at this facility.

As the "what happens at GBCI stays at GBCI" philosophy has over the 15+ years I've been here allowed prison administrators to take uncounted inhumane and unconstitutional actions against inmates, I just wanted someone on the outside to know what is now being done to the hard workers and dedicated students at this facility. Dozens of workers and students have already quit their jobs and school, and if something isn't done to hold officials here accountable I fear the taxpayers will end-up footing the bill for the salaries and benefits of dozens & dozens of civilian workers needed to do the jobs abandoned by inmate workers who were forced to quit in order to receive their proper amount of recreation. The notion that inmate who refuse to work, go to school or be productive are receiving more recreation than hard-working inmates is counter-intuitive, counter-rehabilitative, against public policy and expectations, and contrary to the DOC's so-called "Mission Statement."

Thanks again for the investment of your time and resources in pursuit and advocacy of our fundamental human rights and humane treatment. Your work is more appreciated than you may realize.
Sincerely yours, Todd Hiivala 63687,
GBCI, P.O. Box 19033,Green Bay 54307

He sends us the statute ON LEISURE TIME/will be looking for rules on recreation
Wis. Adm. Code DOC 309.36
* This document is current through Wis. Admn. Register No. 725, May 2016 *
Wis. Adm. Code DOC 309.36 (2016)
DOC 309.36 Leisure time activities
(1) The department shall provide as much leisure time activity, as possible for inmates, consistent with available resources and scheduled programs and work. Leisure time activity is free time outside the cell or room during which the inmate may be involved in activities such as recreational reading, sports, film and television viewing, and handicrafts.
(2) Each institution shall permit inmates to participate in leisure time activities for at least 4 hours per week. Institutions with the facilities to permit more leisure time activity should do so.
HISTORY: Cr. Register, October, 1981, No. 310, eff. 11-1-81.
 Letter to Secretary Litcher on word followed by letters to three DOC Heads in PDF form:

Todd B. Hiivala 363687
 Green Bay Corr'l Institution
 P.O. Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307-9033
Jon B. Litscher, Secretary Department of Corrections 3099 E. Washington Ave. P.O. Box 7925
Madison, WI 53707-7925
Re: Request for investigation (Wis. Stat. § 301.29(3))
11 August 2016
Dear Secretary Litscher,
Sir, I am writing to inform you of the decision of GECI officials to deny inmate workers and students their required amount of recreation, and to request that pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 301.29(3), you conduct an internal investigation into this blatant and willful violation of inmate rights as well as DOC admin. code.
As the prison lockdown winds down, GBCI officials have recently posted a revised recreation schedule. This schedule designates rec. times by tiers, whereas the longstanding schedule accounted for work and school. Inmates are being told that beginning Monday, August 15, 2016, if they work or go to school they will have to forego and not be allowed to attend recreation if/when the times of the revised schedule conflict with their work or school assignments. In effect, that they will be denied recreation because they work or go to school. This is outrageous!
• The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has recognized that exercise is a necessary requirement for the physical and mental well-being of inmates; and, that denying inmates opportunities for out-of-cell exercise violates the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel & unusual punishment. See Delaney v. Detella, 256 F.3d 679 (7th Cir. 2001). The court further held that inmates are entitled to at least five (5) hours of recreation per week. Administrative Code § DOC 309.36(2) mandates (through the use of the word "shall") that inmates be given a minimum of four (4) hours per week recreation.* Neither federal case law nor department rules or policies allow for exclusion of workers or students from the constitutionally and administratively required amount of recreation. Thus the actions of GBCI officials are arbitrary, capricious, and a violation of both the constitutional rights of inmates and the rules of the department.
What is disturbing to me--someone who's spent 26 years in prison--is that prison officials, in any modern prison, would be so indifferent towards the law, the rights of inmates and the rules of the department as to, in effect, punish inmates for working or going to school--two "rehabilitative goals" expected by the public. The notion that because I (myself a maintenance worker) perform an essential function necessary to the operation of the institution, or another inmate seeks education that it is hoped will prevent recidivism, can & are being forced to relinquish their right to something deemed medically necessary to their well-being, is shocking to the adult conscience and a complete regression in penal philosophy. I, for one (as I assume is also true of others), will quit my job and be unassigned before I relinquish my right to recreation.
But the question here, really, is: What's the point; what are GECI officials attempting to do or accomplish by such unsanctioned and illegal (indeed, despotic!) actions? I both feel and fear that by & through such oppressive and extremist actions officials here are attempting to provoke some type of disruption; or at the very least, a flurry of unnecessary litigation that is sure to cost the department and taxpayers many thousands of dollars. This is just my opinion, or observation, but it's based upon a thorough knowledge of the law and a quarter century of incarceration in a dozen prisons across three states.
I'm asking, Secretary Litscher, in the interests of maintaining order, and respect for the rights and well-being of inmates under your care and supervision, that pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 301.20(3), you immediately investigate this radical departure by GBCI officials from the administrative rules of the department and constitutional rights of inmates at this facility. And, that you take steps to ensure ALL GECI inmates--workers, students & otherwise--receive the minimum and same amount of recreation mandated by Admin. Code § DOC 309.36(2).
Thank you for your valuable time, and your prompt action in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Respectfully,Todd E. Hiivala
cc: Peggy Swan, Community Activist File

Todd Hivala to DAI AdministratorTodd Hiivala to DAI Administrator: