The lockdown began on Jan. 14.
Tenesha LeFlore has been calling to ask if her husband and brother, who are both housed there, are safe.
“They said the institution was on lockdown. So I called back to ask about the visits and they said visits are on restriction until further notice,” LeFlore said.
LeFlore said she usually visits her husband several times a week and gets calls from him multiple times a day.
“Without those calls, I automatically know something is wrong,” LeFlore said.
While CCI and the Department of Corrections would not say why the lock down was initiated, they sent the following statement:
The Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI) located in Portage, Wisconsin, has been placed on lockdown status as of January 14, 2019. CCI remains in lockdown status as of Monday, January 21, 2019.
Lockdowns at Institutions are periodically done in order to conduct a safe and thorough search. The main objective of the current lockdown at Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI) is to perform a complete and thorough search of the facility in an effort to rid the Institution of any contraband that may have been introduced into the facility over time. Our staff continue to perform the search of the facility, and as the search progresses, the status of the lockdown will be monitored.
Due to the ongoing process at CCI, we are not commenting on the reason for the lockdown as it could compromise the integrity and safety of the search or any potentially related investigations.
Throughout the lockdown, inmates have received all meals in their cell including at least one hot meal per day. We continue to conform to the caloric and nutritional standards for meals that inmates receive. Showers for inmates will continue on a routine basis for the duration of the search. We continue to take steps to return CCI to normal operations while prioritizing the safety of inmates and staff.
Anyone with questions is welcome to email the Department of Corrections Public Information Office atDOCMedia@wisconsin.gov.
LeFlore said she believes something more is happening at the prison.
“I’ve been visiting my husband in prison for the last 10 years and there hasn’t been a lockdown to this effect,” LeFlore said. “I’ve heard of several instances where there has been drugs or weapons or violence and rape and all types of things, but there has never been a lockdown for eight days.”
There is no indication when the lockdown will end.