Death of another prisoner reported at troubled Wisconsin prison

Another inmate has tragically lost their life at a troubled prison in Wisconsin.

Donald Maier, aged 62, passed away at the Waupun Correctional Institution on February 22, as confirmed by Kevin Hoffman, spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the county medical examiner are currently conducting an investigation into the matter. Unfortunately, no additional details are available at this time, according to Hoffman.

In 2012, Maier received a 15-year prison sentence for multiple counts of stalking. He faced a first-degree murder charge in Wood County in September 2022 for the 1985 stabbing death of Benny Scruggs. At the time of Maier’s passing, the case was still unresolved. Maier’s lawyers, Andrew Hernandez and Annie Getsinger, as listed in online court records, did not respond to phone and email messages on Tuesday.

Since June 2023, four inmates at the Waupun facility have died, including Maier. The first was Dean Hoffmann, who took his own life while in solitary confinement. Tyshun Lemons passed away on October 2, followed by Cameron Williams on October 30. The investigations into their deaths are still ongoing.

Last year, the Department of Corrections implemented lockdowns at Waupun, Green Bay, and Stanley prisons. This was in response to a shortage of guards.

In October, a federal lawsuit was filed by a group of inmates from Waupun, claiming that the conditions during the lockdown were a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Additionally, last month, Hoffmann’s daughter also filed a federal lawsuit, accusing the officials at Waupun of neglecting to provide her father with proper mental health care and necessary medications. Both cases are currently awaiting resolution.

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Last summer, Governor Tony Evers signed a two-year state budget that included several beneficial provisions for prison guards. One of the notable changes was the implementation of 6% raises for these guards, along with an increase in their starting pay. The intention behind these measures was to spark interest in the profession and attract more individuals to join the ranks. It seems that this strategy has indeed yielded positive results, as evidenced by the recent graduation of the largest class of guards since 1981, with a total of 214 individuals successfully completing their training.

Normal operations at Stanley resumed in late November. While movement restrictions have been eased at Waupun and Green Bay, some limitations are still in place.

Evers is currently in search of a suitable candidate to fill the position of Corrections Secretary, as Kevin Carr recently announced his retirement.

Carr did not provide a specific reason for his decision to leave the job. However, the official announcement from the Department of Corrections acknowledged that Carr had encountered familiar challenges faced by correctional systems across the country, such as high staff vacancies and resource shortages, when he assumed the role of secretary in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated these issues, according to the announcement.

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