MOSES Advocacy Helps Pass Resolution 556 #nonewjail


Tireless advocacy by the volunteer members of MOSES, an inter-faith social justice organization, led to numerous improvements to Resolution 556, which was passedUNANIMOUSLY PASSED tonight by the Dane County Board. “The passage of this resolution demonstrates that when everyday people organize in solidarity, the community can significantly improve our County’s criminal justice system” said Morris Wexler, VP of MOSES, and longtime regulatory consultant. By passing resolution 556 “the County board is unequivocally stating its support for eliminating racial disparities, reducing incarceration, reducing the number of jail beds as well as its opposition to the construction of a new stand-alone jail” (RES 556, 316-319) as well as creating three community Work Groups to investigate solutions and make budget recommendations to realize the comprehensive reform of Dane County’s criminal justice system.

Specifically MOSES efforts led to:

  1. Unequivocal language that rejects the construction of a new stand-alone jail.
  2. An official commitment to comprehensive reform of the Dane County Criminal Justice System.
  3. Adoption of a set of guiding principles for future action.
  4. Inclusion, as partners, of people of color, people with mental health needs and people affected by incarceration within the Work Groups.
  5. Focus on racial and mental health disparities in the Work Group investigations.
  6. Prioritization of racial equity in access to and participation in community-based programs and alternatives to jail.
  7. Grounding future criminal justice budgets and jail planning in the recommendations of the Work Groups.
  8. Encouraged a competitive bidding process for criminal justice reform on contracts.

MOSES is proud of its contribution to this victory for justice in Dane County – but this is just the beginning. “The MOSES Jail Task Force will be transforming into smaller task forces to support the resolution’s Work Groups to ensure that our vision for criminal justice reform and investing in community-based alternatives becomes a reality” said Jeanie Verschay, a member of the MOSES Jail Task Force, and the Executive Director of Employment Connections. MOSES recognizes and thanks all supervisors who voted for and sponsored resolution 556 and especially supervisors, Stubbs, Bayrd, Corrigan, Pan, Wegleitner, Dye, Hendrick, Pertl, and Willett for their work either on committee or in meetings with MOSES. MOSES also recognizes the work of other community groups that helped shape resolution 556: YGB, NAMI, No Dane County Jail Working Group, MUM and DD Coalition among others.



For more information please contact:

[Urgent Action] Contact your legislators: Second Chance Act and Jail Resolution

On Tuesday, May 19th, the Joint Committee on Finance may consider a budget amendment to pass the Second Chance Act, moving most 17-years-olds out of adult corrections and into the juvenile system. Please take 30 seconds to call your State Senator and Assembly Representative with this message: “Please support the Second Chance proposal to return 17-year-olds to the juvenile system, which will be considered in the budget discussions. action-thDon’t let another year go by without making this needed reform, which will be good for kids, for families, and for our communities.” Per David Liners: “We might be close to winning this one!”

On Thursday, May 21st, the County Board will vote on Resolution 556. MOSES Jail Task Force has had a huge win in getting nearly all of our most important policy recommendations incorporated.

Resolution 556 commits to implementing significant improvements to the Dane County criminal justice system to eliminate racial disparities, dramatically reduce solitary and incarceration for people with mental illness, and increase community alternatives.  Additionally, the resolution strongly states the County Board’s support for reducing the number of jail beds, and explicitly opposes the construction of a new standalone jail. A copy of Resolution 556 is attached to this email.

MOSES Jail Task Force members have put several months and countless hours into this important resolution; it’s now YOUR TURN to ensure that the whole County Board feels the power of MOSES in support of Resolution 556!
Attached is a brief statement of support you can use.

Letter to send to your legislators about Res. 556
Resolution 556 with edits


Experience Solitary Confinement at Edgewood College

During the week of March 9th, stop by The Stream in the Theatre Arts building at Edgewood College in Madison WI to experience life in a solitary confinement cell. This experience is contemplative in nature and campus-wide participation is encouraged. The Solitary Cell can be reserved for an individual over a 30 or 60 minute time period. Please contact Tony Garcia,, for group/classroom visits.
solitary at edgewood

MOSES January Newsletter!

(click here to download and print the newsletter)

Welcome to the New Executive Committee

On December 6, 2014 a new executive committee was elected for MOSES, effective immediately.

jhancockPresident: Rev. Jerry Hancock, First Congregational
Designated Vice President: Belinda Richardson, Breaking Barriers
Vice President: Bev Buhr, James Reeb UU Congregation
Vice President: Caliph Muab-El, Breaking Barriers
Vice President for Recruitment: Morris Waxler, First Unitarian Society
Secretary: Susan Millar, First Unitarian Society
Assistant Secretary: Nancy Kosseff, First Unitarian Society
Treasurer: Ann Lacy, Plymouth Congregational UCC
Financial Secretary: Pat Anderson, First Unitarian Society

A blueprint for achieving 11×15 by 2015

MOSES has worked for 2 years with other state affiliates of WISDOM on the 11×15 campaign, with the goal of reducing the prison population in Wisconsin from 22,000 to 11,000 by the end of 2015.  Now at the start of 2015 there is a clear blueprint to arrive at this goal. Can we do it? Yes we can!

On December 10, 2014, over 150 people representing the ten WISDOM affiliates gathered at the state capitol for a press conference at which WISDOM representatives—including MOSES members Na’Zeeya Bey, Judy Cooper, Kate Edwards, Jerry Hancock, and Carol Rubin—spoke passionately about each section of the plan, before delivering copies of the 11×15 Blueprint for ending Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin to the offices of senators and assembly members from around the state.  In the afternoon, ten WISDOM work groups were formed to achieve the 23 Calls to Action specified in blueprint.

How can Wisconsin reduce the prison population by almost 10,000 in one year?

3,000 through TAD, or Treatment Alternatives and Diversions programs 2,800 potential parolees, who, though eligible, have not been paroled because they were sentenced before “truth in sentencing” became the law, and so their sentences presumed parole after requirements were met 4,000 through reducing revocations that are due to infractions of rules rather than new crimes = 9,800 people each year who aren’t in prison.

To learn more about how to advocate for justice in Wisconsin, download the blueprint at   Contact the MOSES office at  or (608) 622-2360  for a hard copy of the blueprint, or to learn how to get involved with a work group.

A Call for Reflections on Solitary Confinement Cell

A model of a solitary confinement cell has been traveling around Madison for the past several months. Anyone, who saw that exhibit in any of its locations, is invited to write the Communications Committee about their thoughts and reflections regarding the exhibit. Send your submissions to!

Do you have an upcoming social justice event that you think MOSES members might be interested in? Do you have an article or item to submit to the Newsletter? Send all submissions with necessary information to the MOSES communications committee for inclusion on the official calendar and newsletter at!cropped-moses_logo_2c_wtext.jpg


Take Action NOW: Mobilizing to Fix the Dane County Jail System!

The MOSES Jail Task Force gave an update at the January monthly MOSES meeting about Dane County’s plans to study and invest in new jail facilities. MOSES opposes spending county money on new jail construction or on redundant studies.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW to act and mobilize others is available in four documents from the MOSES Jail Task Force:

  1. PowerPoint – explaining the discussion surrounding the Dane County Jail and MOSES’ position
  2. Mobilization Letter – to send to Dane County Board members and other officials
  3. MOSES Jail Task Force position statement with data
  4. Mobilization Actions List – detailed list of what you can do now

THIS TUESDAY: The Dane County Public Protection and Judiciary Committee (PP&J) will discuss several issues related to the new jail (see agenda here, items on final page) including additional funding requested by Sheriff Mahoney to expand the Mead & Hunt study (with little additional study on mental health) as well as a request from Supervisors Bayrd and Pan to study Criminal Justice Reform.

What can you do NOW?

**Be prepared to stay two hours or more, as testimonies and discussion about the jail proposals may take that amount of time.

In the news:

Meets 3rd Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Optional orientation for newcomers 6:00
(Sub-committee work teams have additional meetings)
St. Mark’s Church (in basement)
605 Spruce St., Madison (Off S Park St.)
Contact:  Ann Pooler,, 608-658-6847

Solitary Confinement Cell Replica & #ReformNow Video

The replica of a solitary confinement cell will be installed at First Congregational Church in Madison, WI from January 4 – January 10, 2015.

The cell will be available for viewing during the following times:

  • solitary-confinement-flyerSunday, Jan 4: 10am worship service
  • Tuesday, Jan 6: 1-4 pm
  • Thursday, Jan 8: 1-4 pm and 6-8 pm
  • Saturday, Jan 10: 9-noon (Tour before or after the monthly MOSES meeting!)


Also, view the Reform Now video on Solitary Confinement including footage from the October 1 rally at the State Capitol:


Updates from the MOSES Jail Task Force


MOSES JAIL TASK FORCE has these 3 primary goals:no new jail 1

  1. Stop all unnecessary incarceration
    1. End racial disparities
    2. Treatment instead of jail for people with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, or addictions
  2. Improve jail conditions for those inside
  3. Ensure that any facility changes promote goals 1 and 2

MOSES’ goals are ambitious and involve multiple complicated systems.  But other municipalities have already succeeded with similar goals, using evidence-based strategies.  JOIN US!

Meets 3rd Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Optional orientation for newcomers 6:00
(Sub-committee work teams have additional meetings)
St. Mark’s Church (in basement)
605 Spruce St., Madison (Off So Park St.)
Contact:  Ann Pooler,, 608-658-6847

 Background: In July, a consultant firm (hired by the County Board) recommended that Dane County build a new jail estimated to cost $135 – $141 million.  A MOSES team immediately formed to decide MOSES’ position. We studied the consultants’ 600-page report and began to attend and testify at county committee meetings.

MOSES determined that the proposal assumed a continuation of already outdated incarceration practices. We discerned that many people are in jail unnecessarily—meaning that they are not a risk to the public and are in jail only because they are waiting for a court or DOC hearing, or cannot pay fines or bail (often $500 or less).  We also found racial disparities in jail alternative programs (e.g., only 16% of those released from jail on home monitoring are people of color, compared to 51% of those in jail).

MOSES rejected the new jail proposal in a position statement we released on August 25th.  We presented this at a NAMI public forum, at numerous County criminal justice meetings, and to stakeholders and media. MOSES celebrated an advocacy win October 1st when the County Executive removed the jail proposal from the budget; but our work has just begun.

Please click here to access MOSES position statement including facts and figures about the jail population.  Feel free to share this document widely.

WISDOM Launches 11×15 Blueprint Details #11x15blueprint

On Wednesday, December 10, it was standing room only in the State Capitol as WISDOM announced its blueprint for achieving the goal of cutting Wisconsin’s prison population in half (to 11,000) by 2015. YOU are a critical part of bringing this plan to reality. If you missed the event, you can watch a recording by Wisconsin Eye.

Click here to check out a presentation you can share with your friends, family, and colleagues about the 11×15 Blueprint. (Click here to download the Power Point presentation.)

You can also click here to read the detailed executive summary for more details about the approach WISDOM and its affiliates are taking to end mass incarceration in Wisconsin.

BluePrint ppt 12 10 14

11×15 Blueprint to End Mass Incarceration Announced Wednesday, December 10, 2014!

Wisconsin can cut its prison population in half.  Actions taken in 2015 can make it happen.  Learn how action by people of faith and good will can be the decisive factor.

11×15 Blueprint to End Mass Incarceration
Wednesday, December 10
10:00 am
State Capitol, Room 411S

Following the presentation, anyone interested in being part of the solution is invited to nearby First United Methodist Church for lunch and to meet in groups to work on strategies to continue to demand:

  • Increased resources for Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) programs that can keep thousands of people out of prison.
  • The Second Chance Act, which will keep most 17 year-olds out of adult courts
  • Sentencing Reform
  • Parole for more than 2,500 eligible prisoners who have been denied a fair chance for release, even after they have served the time intended by judges.
  • An end to the torture that is Solitary Confinement
  • “Compassionate Release” for prisoners who are elderly and/or very ill
  • Alternatives to Revocation for many of the 4,000 people whose Supervision or Parole is revoked for “technical violations”
  • Audit and reform of a faulty GPS Monitoring system
  • Transitional Jobs opportunities for thousands of long-term unemployed Wisconsinites, including many with conviction histories
  • Ban the Box legislation and reform of the CCAP on-line data base

For more information, contact David Liners at 414-736-2099, or at  Or, contact any local WISDOM organization.

MOSES and WISDOM Rally to End Solitary Confinement #ReformNow #ReformWisDOCNow

A passionate group of WISDOM’s 11X15 supporters from around the state gathered at the Capitol Wednesday to protest the inhumane practice of solitary confinement. Along with pleas from MOSES’ own Rev. Jerry Hancock, Rev. Kate Edwards and President Carol Rubin, the crowd of nearly 200 people heard appalling testimony from parents whose children have endured dehumanizing torture for years at a time. The organizers and public were moved to then march on to deliver the Reform Now! brief to Governor Walker’s office. The brief calls for a private US Department of Justice investigation of the WI Department of Corrections and an immediate response in accordance with the United Nations policy that no individual is to be subject to such treatment in excess of 15 days, despite WI accounts of both juveniles and adults being confined for 23 hours a day, in some cases for up to 15 years.

Join MOSES and WISDOM in this fight by going into the makeshift solitary cell, located State Capitol steps in downtown Madison. If your congregation would like to host this structure in the future, please contact MOSES for more details. Also, see WISDOM’s 11×15 page for more coverage of the rally.

Photo credit: Bill O'Neal

Photo credit: Bill O’Neal