Fourth Death at Waupun Correctional: Inmate Found Dead Amid Ongoing Investigations

Image by: WPR

Another inmate has been discovered dead at a difficult Wisconsin jail.

Donald Maier, 62, died at Waupun Correctional Institution on February 22, according to Kevin Hoffman, a spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the county medical examiner are investigating, and Hoffman said no more information was provided.

Maier was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2012 for multiple counts of stalking. In September 2022, he was charged with first-degree murder in Wood County for the 1985 stabbing death of Benny Scruggs. Maier’s death occurred while the case was still pending. Maier’s attorneys, Andrew Hernandez and Annie Getsinger, did not return calls or emails on Tuesday.

Maier is the fourth Waupun inmate to die in the facility since June 2023. Dean Hoffmann murdered himself in solitary confinement that month. Tyshun Lemons died in the facility on October 2. Cameron Williams died there on October 30. Their deaths remain under investigation.

Last year, the Department of Corrections implemented lockdowns at Waupun, Green Bay, and Stanley prisons owing to a guard shortage.

In October, a group of Waupun inmates filed a federal complaint, alleging that the facility’s lockdown circumstances constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Last month, Hoffmann’s daughter filed a federal complaint saying that Waupun officials failed to give her father with sufficient mental health care and medications. These cases are currently pending.

Gov. Tony Evers signed a two-year state budget last summer that included 6% raises for prison guards and increased their starting salary in the goal of increasing interest in the profession. The move appears to have worked, since the class of guards that graduated from training last month numbered 214, the largest since 1981.

Stanley returned to normal activities in late November. Movement restrictions have been relaxed in Waupun and Green Bay, but some remain in effect.

Evers is looking for someone to replace Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr, who announced his retirement last week.

Carr did not explain why he decided to leave the job, but the Department of Corrections’ official announcement stated that Carr faced “several challenges not unfamiliar to correctional systems nationwide, including high staff vacancies and other resource shortages” when he took over as secretary in 2019. According to the release, the COVID-19 epidemic compounded these concerns.


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