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Kenosha County Eye

Embattled Racine Prison Warden Relieved Of Duties – DOC Won’t Give Details

Racine Correctional Institute Warden Jason Wells
(Background Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

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.

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John Beard, Director of Communications, Wisconsin Department of Corrections

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.

Former RCI Security Director Julia McLaughlin
(Wisconsin DOC)

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.

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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.

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  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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26 Responses

  1. You have a building full of scumbags,druggies,and losers. Don’t always blame the warden when things go bad.

  2. If only we can get rid of Salem lakes fire chief for lack of leadership resulting in low morale and staffing issues.

  3. Anyone who has had a family member in RCI, Knows and hears the stories of all the things the guards do, It’s common for the guards to bring THC vape pens and gummies for the inmates, And other drugs. the warden turns the blind eye, i wrote a letter to the warden, never heard back from him, my loved one was there for some time, and has addiction issues, and its real nice that the guards supplied him with what he needed. this is a serious issue at this place, i have seen guards post on tik tok
    when they are working, making jokes and fun of this. One was in the guards’ tower, sending out snap chat and tik Tok , with his shirt off. saying ” yep another hard day at work ” … We in Racine are becoming like the corruption down in kenosha .

      1. This nation is a failed state due to corruption from bottom to top mirroring the culture as a whole. The citizenry, rich or poor, will do anything for a buck. Americans will destroy anything for a dollar.

  4. It seems to be a bit of a stretch to say that it is the leadership of Warden Wells that is causing vacancy rates, when this is a statewide issue. Overall vacancy rates for correctional officers across the state in adult corrections is 44.1%, RCI is comparable to this state average at 48.5%. Are you telling me that Warden Wells is to blame for state-wide vacancies? Doubtful. Perhaps some of the focus needs to shift to the administration? What are they doing to rectify this issue? The amount of forced overtime in these facilities is sure to cause morale issues. The vacancy rates are also a security concern for both those within the prison and the general public. This issue is not of any warden’s making nor within their control to correct, as officer hiring is performed at a statewide level.

    Source (I will cite mine since it is reputable):

    1. I beg to differ. There are plenty of good employees that either transferred or took an early retirement because of the leadership at RCI or lack thereof. Meaning the top two leaders made a mess of things and did not handle certain situations very well. Morale is not going to be good If leadership doesn’t have the gumption to go out back and at least listen to their employees and their concerns Instead of hiding in their offices.

  5. In a world where you can work at McDonalds or be a prison guard for the same salary, why do it? No wonder there is mandatory OT, no one wants to work….maybe pay the guards more, or offer them free fries…or something! Being the person on top means better pay, better conditions and perks but it also means being the fall guy for things, even if they are out of your control!

  6. Teachers and prison guards are pretty much one in the same. They are both extremely important and should be payed accordingly.

  7. 5 Years ago My Nephew was at RCI for a Year. There was a Female Guard that was taken into a cleaning closet and raped by 2 other inmates. She was beaten very to a bloody pulp. She never returned to work. I saw her there. She always conducted herself in a CO Trained Way. My Nephew said she Never had issues with her, yet this crime never made it to News or Paper? Big Cover UP? He also said they had Riots and Lock Downs were the Norm

  8. As a former inmate there I can tell you from my own account at least 3 of the guards are soulless shapeshifters. I brought this up to a White shirt and instead of taking me serious they cut my clothes off and put me in a cell for 3 days. I pretty sure she was a soulless creature too!!! Complete cover up.

  9. I can tell you these two were involved in numerous cover ups and did not support their staff whatsoever. Even when staff came to them with safety concerns about inmates threatening them or even conspiring to get staff fired over allegations of smuggling things in. Yes, there were dirty staff. But there were honorable staff too. Inmates were running the prison not administration. The drugs are out of control there. Inmates were recruiting their people without records to work there so they could smuggle things in. Facts.

  10. Lock it down and sweep with law enforcement or National Guard. Also make legal mail electronic. That’s how they’re getting the K2 in, aside from staff. Legal work can be faked, forged and there are dirty lawyers too.

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