After staff shortfalls and overcrowding that left prisoners spending months on lockdown, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Department of Correction officials announced plans to lift restrictions at two of the state’s oldest prisons, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The two prisons, Waupun Correctional Institution and Green Bay Correctional Institution, will open access to more services, reduce solitary confinement, and -- at Waupaun -- reduce prisoner population. Waupun has been on lockdown since March; Green Bay since June. A third prison, Stanley Correctional Institution is nearing a year of "modified movement," though it's been under fewer restrictions than the other two. As of Tuesday, Waupun will ease limits except for a few involving "visitation, personal hygiene frequency, and recreation time." At Green Bay, only visitation and recreation time remain limited, the governor said.
Though the Wisconsin DOC contends that restrictions have been gradually eased in recent months, incarcerated people, family members and prison reform advocates have seen little shift during the lockdown , which left people confined to a small cell, usually with another person, at nearly all hours of the day. Multiple prisoners told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that over the past few months, they had not been able to leave their cells for meals or recreation, and are limited to one to two showers a week. During the lockdown, the prisons faced other accusations, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, which reported several deaths and poor living conditions inside the facilities, including rodent infestations, rampant violence, and lack of access to medical care.