(2/1/13) The new head of Wisconsin's prison system has told his employees they can be fired if they spread, quote, "false or malicious information" about the Corrections Department.
The Associated Press said Ed Wall put out the warning in an e-mail on Monday, the day before the Senate confirmed him as the new corrections' secretary. An employee sent the e-mail to the A-P, and the news service said the agency verified it. Then yesterday, Wall e-mailed employees to say he wanted to treat the corrections department more like a family and quote, "less like a bureaucratic coffee grinder." In the first e-mail, Wall wrote that he was disturbed by baseless rumors that his department might be opening a new prison – or getting a private company to run the prisons. He called them false rumors, and said those involved in spreading them should "stop immediately." Wall said there's no choice but to fire those responsible, quote, "when the false information causes panic and degrades morale like these things do." Governor Scott Walker's office responded to the e-mails by saying there are no plans to privatize the prisons. His Thursday e-mail was in response to a state Assembly hearing Wednesday, when union chief Marty Beil said seven guards were assaulted since Christmas Eve – and it made workers feel unsafe. Wall told his employees that Beil exaggerated the extent of injuries in two of the cases – but he tried to reassure his staff that he was taking the assaults seriously.