As of March 3, 2015, the Felmers O. Chaney Advocacy Board (FCAB) is an independent body and is not affiliated with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections or any other governmental body or institution. FCAB is an advocacy board comprised of private citizens guided by a shared concern for social justice, corrections policy, and the successful re-entry of former inmates as they return to their communities. All documents on this site pre-dating March 3, 2015 are historical and in reference to FCAB’s prior incarnation as a Wisconsin Department of Corrections affiliated citizens advisory board. Click on the History tab for a chronology of the evolution of the Board.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead
FELMERS O. CHANEY ADVOCACY BOARD
Prior to the full opening of the Felmers O. Chaney Correctional Center, initially known as the Men’s Correctional Center, which occurred on June 19, 2000, representatives of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) sought endorsements from various community groups to build the prison, including an endorsement from Milwaukee’s Sherman Park Community Association (SPCA). SPCA conditionally endorsed construction of the prison based upon SPCA’s insistence that the prison have a community advisory board. DOC representatives concurred with SPCA’s demand for an advisory board and DOC, in holding to the agreement, on August 21, 2000, issued the following statement:
“The purpose of the Board will be established in support of effective re-integration of offenders back into the communities from which they came. The Board will work in collaboration with the Men’s Correctional Center to address the interests and concerns of the community and facility. It will further serve as a contact point between the facility and the community at large to share information and respond to issues that are brought to their attention.”
The first board meeting took place on October 4, 2000 after which the board developed its own mission statement, as follows.
CHANEY ADVISORY BOARD
PRINCIPLES, GOALS, AND OPERATING STANDARDS
WHEREAS, the Chaney Pre-Release Center's Community Advisory Board, hereinafter "FCAB," was established pursuant to agreement by the Sherman Park Community Association and the Department of Corrections, State of Wisconsin; and
WHEREAS, FCAB was established for the purposes of: (1) Supporting effective community re-integration by offenders; (2) Disseminating information to the Milwaukee Community and to the Felmers O. Chaney Pre-Release Correctional Center that is pertinent to community re-integration; (3) Addressing corrections-related interests and concerns both of the Milwaukee Community and of the Chaney Pre-Release Correctional Center; and (4) Responding to correctional and other issues brought to FCAB's attention:
NOW, THEREFORE, FCAB shall operate in accordance with the principles, goals, and standards, as articulated below:
I. PARTIES. FCAB shall operate within a framework of advisory consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (hereinafter "D.O.C.") to include advisory consultation with the Wisconsin Correctional Center System, and with the Chaney Center.
II. COMMUNITY RE-INTEGRATION. FCAB acknowledges and declares its mutual interest with D.O.C. in facilitating community involvement in regard to the re-integration into society of convicted offenders formerly domiciled in the Felmers O. Chaney Correctional Pre-Release Center.
III. COLLABORATION. FCAB acknowledges and declares its recognition of the importance of mutual collaboration within the framework of policies and procedures developed and promulgated by D.O.C., especially with regard to the observance of necessary and adequate procedures seeking to ensure safety, and to minimize any potential for adverse incidents or effects flowing from the conduct of Chaney inmates. No FCAB members are or will be responsible for the security, safety, or actions of any Chaney inmates absent knowing involvement in any illegal or otherwise "bad acts."
IV. FCAB OBJECT AND PURPOSES. The object and purposes of FCAB are to: (a) Identify and encourage the adoption of correctional policies, procedures, and programs that enhance the rehabilitation and community re-integration of inmates; (b) to identify and encourage policies, procedures, and programs that harmonize the Pre-Release Center’s relations with indigenous neighborhood residents and the broader Milwaukee Community; (c) to identify and promote policies, procedures, and programs with businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations that serve to enhance the attainment of desirable inmate rehabilitative and community re-integration goals; and (d) to identify and encourage policies that promote community involvement in efforts to establish stable and productive life styles for offenders following their release from incarceration. It is acknowledged that all FCAB recommendations are advisory, only, and do not constitute the development and promulgation of D.O.C. policy, procedure, practice, rules, or regulations.
V. REASONABLE SAFEGUARDS. FCAB acknowledges and declares its commitment to promoting the re-integration of convicted offenders by encouraging consideration of necessary and reasonable adjustments to the framework of extant D.O.C. policies and procedures as appropriate to enable community involvement while maintaining reasonable safeguards.
VI. FCAB GOAL ATTAINMENT. As stated in its by-laws, the Chaney Advisory Board shall achieve its goals by maintaining a continual awareness of the conditions, needs, and concerns of the Chaney Center’s inmates, by maintaining continual awareness of the safety, needs, and other Chaney-related concerns of residents of the immediate neighborhood within which the Chaney Center is situated, by maintaining continual awareness of the safety, needs, and other Chaney-related concerns of residents of the broader Milwaukee Metropolitan community, and by coordination of its activities, within a framework of Chaney Advisory Board approval, with the Chaney Center’s administration and staff, and with other affiliated organizations and community groups having a similar purpose.
VII. GOOD FAITH. Regarding the re-integration of convicted offenders, the Department of Corrections, Wisconsin Correctional Center System, Chaney Center, and FCAB, have common aims. FCAB commits to work in good faith to articulate common goals and objectives and to recommend new or adjusted policies and procedures as reasonable and appropriate to facilitate community involvement in the community re-integration of convicted offenders through an array of potential efforts supportive of collaborative initiatives.
VIII. SPECIFIC COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVES. FCAB shall pursue collaboratively planned and executed initiatives involving the distribution to inmates of apparel such as winter coats by community residents and inmates' family members, and initiatives shall be pursued involving inmates' off-site employment, church attendance, barber shop visits, recreation, and schooling. All suggested initiatives are conditional upon FCAB having first prepared mutually acceptable procedural safety recommendations that minimize the potential for inmates to walk away or engage in other adverse conduct.
On October 12, 2000, the Men’s Correctional Center was formally named the Felmers O. Chaney Correctional Center by former Wisconsin governor, Tommy Thompson (See: http://www.wi-doc.com/FelmersChaneyCC.htm and http://www.communityjournal.net/?p=14931).
The Board has been operating continuously since 2000 although, initially, it met only semi-annually, whereas it now meets every two months. A proposal drafted by FCAB in 2008 and circulated for endorsements by various community and political bodies exemplifies the kind of work that the advisory board performs. Presented with the proposal on January 7, 2009, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) agreed to virtually every recommendation advanced in the proposal.
The Board remains an entity vibrantly seeking implementation of policies and programs that further the re-integration of inmates back into society, back into their communities, and back into their families.
On March 3, 2015 The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC) unilaterally dissolved the Felmers O. Chaney Community Advisory Board. In response to WDOC's unilateral and unwarranted action, the former members of the Felmers O. Chaney Community Advisory Board re-organized themselves into the Felmers O. Chaney Advocacy Board (FCAB), so as to carry on the work of the now dissolved board.