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Group calls for prison abuse investigation at Waupon

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  A Wisconsin faith-based coalition has asked Governor Scott Walker to seek a federal investigation into the alleged abuse of prisoners at Waupun. WISDOM has been pushing for a host of reforms at the state's lock-ups. Yesterday the group wrote Walker to ask for a probe into suspected abuses by staffers in Waupun's segregation unit.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism cited 40 abuse allegations this month. 28 cases involved one guard who's suspected of slamming inmates into walls, choke holds, hitting prisoners' knees, touching genitals in strip searches, and making racial slurs. WISDOM has asked Walker to transfer the guard in question until an investigation is finished. The group also asked that the state Corrections Department rotate guards in segregation units, improve training, and create an independent system for inmates to lodge complaints.

The Reverend Jerry Hancock, who heads a prison ministry project in Madison, says it's clear that the corrections agency is "out of control." Walker's office did not comment on the request for a federal probe. A corrections spokeswoman said the Dodge County Sheriff's Department normally investigates prison allegations, and there's been no substantiated allegations of prisoner abuse by Waupun staffers.