Prison Employees Charged in Connection to Wisconsin Inmate Deaths due to Neglect and Abuse

Waupun, Wisconsin – The former warden of Waupun Correctional Institution and eight other prison employees faced charges on Wednesday in relation to several prisoner deaths within the past year. The charges were announced by Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt.

Randall Hepp, the former warden, was charged with misconduct in public office after leaving his position earlier in the week. Along with Hepp, most of the other employees, who served as correctional officers and registered nurses, were charged with abuse of a prisoner. Two correctional officers and a sergeant were also charged with misconduct.

During a news conference, Sheriff Schmidt detailed the failures of Hepp and the staff in providing adequate care for the prisoners in their custody. He highlighted four recent deaths, including one where a prisoner died due to malnutrition and probable dehydration, ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.

The investigation revealed various issues within the facility, such as inadequate staffing, contributing to the deaths. Governor Tony Evers called for accountability and justice, emphasizing the importance of holding those responsible to the fullest extent of the law. He expressed concerns regarding the treatment of individuals in their care.

The shutdown at Waupun Correctional Institution, which lasted for months due to staffing shortages, was also a point of concern. The lack of regular fresh air, family visits, and delays in medical care and psychological services had a detrimental impact on the inmates. The lockdown was linked to several deaths within the facility.

In light of these events, Sheriff Schmidt urged state leaders to consider closing and replacing both Waupun Correctional Institution and Green Bay Correctional Institution. He also called for the establishment of new statewide standards for prisons to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Despite the efforts to address the issues and hold accountable those responsible, the conditions within the prison remained largely unchanged. An ongoing class-action lawsuit filed by attorney Lonnie Story on behalf of several prisoners highlighted the systemic failures in providing adequate physical and mental health care.

The community, including prisoners like Kevin Burkes, expressed a mix of relief and frustration with the developments. While there was applause at the news of the warden’s arrest, there was also a recognition that more needed to be done to address the underlying issues within the correctional system.

As investigations and legal proceedings continue, the focus remains on seeking justice for the individuals who suffered due to the negligence and misconduct within the prison system. The call for accountability and reform echoes through the halls of the correctional facilities as efforts to prevent future tragedies are underway.