Employees of a Wisconsin Prison received an internal memo from Racine Correctional Institution Deputy Warden Patrick Melman. In the memo, staff was notified that the Warden of a Milwaukee prison will be serving as the Warden for RCI also. There was no mention in the memo about the former Warden, Jason Wells. At least four employees or former employees have notified KCE of this memo and also reported to us that Wells is on leave.
We reached out to the Department of Corrections and heard back from John Beard, the Director of Communications for the DOC. He either refuses, or is not being allowed to tell his staff or the media why the Warden was relieved of his duties.
According to current and former employees of the Wisconsin DOC, former Warden Jason Wells is a bad leader and his lack of leadership has led to morale and staffing issues. The security director, Julia McLaughlin has also been relieved of her duties at RCI as well. She is apparently being transferred to another prison. This move will remain in effect “until further notification” the memo reads.
Jason Wells has overseen many scandals and deaths at RCI in the recent months. In August of 2022 a high-ranking prison employee was charged with 41 felonies for misconduct and an inappropriate relationship with an inmate. In November of 2022, there was an attempted escape of a convicted murderer that was paroled by Governor Evers. In January of this year, an inmate died at the prison. In March of this year, another inmate died in the prison. Neither Wells, nor McLaughlin would give comments to KCE when reached by phone.
KCE will stay on this story and will eventually obtain information about the shake-up.