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$110,000 Settlement for Outed Wisconsin Prisoner Informant

Regular readers of Prison Legal News may remember the April 2019 article (page 61) chronicling the story of Wisconsin prison guard Sergeant Robert Wilcox. Wilcox placed images of a rat, signifying an informant, next to the names of five prisoners working for a gang intelligence investigator, Captain Jason Wilke. Wilcox left the altered roster in a desk, where it was viewed and copied by other prisoners at the Redgranite Correctional Institute (RCI).

The informants’ lives were allegedly endangered and Captain Wilke and his family began receiving threats as well. The prisoners were transferred to other prisons for their safety. Wilke reported the threats to law enforcement since prison administrative personnel, in violation of policy, refused to do so. He eventually took early medical retirement, fearing retaliation by prison officials for having sought law enforcement protection.

Wilcox, a member of the Redgranite Governing Board (city council), was suspended for a day. He subsequently quit his job at the RCI.

Prisoner Joseph Benson, one of the informants outed by Wilcox, filed for relief in a federal court under 42 U.S.C., § 1983 in a pro se filing. Attorney Ben H. Elson of Chicago’s People’s Law Office stepped in and helped obtain an $110,000 settlement for Benson in July. Another part of the settlement provides for Benson’s assignment to a prison unit where his safety could presumably be better assured.

Court pleadings and other official documents relating to prison conditions are always welcomed by PLN. See: Benson v. Meisner, U.S.D.C, (E.D. WI), Case No. 2:18-cv-00538. 

 

Related legal case

Benson v. Meisner