Prison whistleblower speaks out about prisoner’s death
5 mins read

Prison whistleblower speaks out about prisoner’s death

MADISON, Wis. — After four inmates died at Waupun Correctional Institution, a whistleblower spoke up to report current conditions at the prison.


What you need to know

  • The whistleblower, who asked to remain anonymous because of concerns for his safety and that of his family, worked as a prison guard for three years. The whistleblower will be referred to as “Jim” in this story; Jim is not his real name.
  • Jim said that three days before Cameron Williams died, he informed his superiors and the nursing staff about Williams’ poor health. He said nothing was done
  • Williams, 24, died from a stroke and was allegedly lying dead in his cell for 12 hours before he was found
  • Jim said that all the deaths that occurred in the prison were due in part to understaffing.


Lonnie Story is an attorney handling three lawsuits against the Department of Corrections and prison staff in connection with the deaths of Tyshun Lemons, Dean Hoffman and Cameron Williams.

Story said that before he relied on the whistleblower’s testimony, he asked him a series of questions about prison conditions — questions to which he already knew the answers.

“Everything he told me was consistent with what I had heard from other prisoners. Other prisoners actually encouraged him to come forward,” Story said.

Prison whistleblower speaks out about prisoner’s death

(Spectrum 1 News/Cody Taylor)

The whistleblower, who asked to remain anonymous because of concerns for his safety and that of his family, worked as a prison guard for three years. The whistleblower will be referred to as “Jim” in this story; Jim is not his real name.

Jim said he was recently fired for allegedly failing to respond in a timely manner to an incident in Cameron Williams’ cell.

“I was the detective who found him in the cell, and that’s one of the reasons they fired me,” Jim said.

Jim said that three days before Williams died, he informed his superiors and nursing staff of Williams’ poor health.

He said nothing had been done.

“I saw him in shower stall number two, and he looked pale and sweaty. He looked sick, so I went and talked to the doctor,” Jim said. “They told me to file a blue note, and I said, ‘Are you sure? He doesn’t look good. I can carry him down, and you can check him out real quick.’”

According to Jim, the medical staff told him to fill out a blue form and showed no interest in checking on Williams’ condition.

“I think I was out for three days, and the day I came back, I was the range officer who found him in the cell,” Jim said. “That’s one of the reasons they fired me.”

According to the Dodge County Medical Examiner, Williams was found dead on October 30.

Williams, 24, died from a stroke and was reportedly dead in his cell for 12 hours before he was found.

(Spectrum 1 News/Cody Taylor)

“I got him out of the cell and did CPR for probably 32 (or) 35 minutes and then they pronounced him dead,” Jim said.

Jim said some of the deaths that occurred at the prison were due to understaffing.

“The inmates are just running around by themselves. (There’s) not enough staff to monitor them. (It’s) very dangerous for the staff, for the inmates and for the public because the towers aren’t even staffed on the first shift,” Jim said.

(Spectrum 1 News/Cody Taylor)

According to the Department of Corrections’ staffing and vacancy dashboards, 56.2% of inmate capacity was occupied at Waupun Prison in February 2024.

The latest data shows that in July 2024, this rate dropped to 45.9% vacancy.

Jim said staffing shortages are not the only problem at the prison.

He added that while he worked there, prisoners and staff smuggled drugs and other smuggled goods into the facility.

Jim said he observed a situation that had been going on for over a year.

“The warden said, ‘We need more evidence,’ and let him do his thing for another year. … God only knows how many cell phones, drugs and barbells this guy brings into the facility,” Jim said.

Story said he recently contacted the governor’s office in an attempt to resolve three of his cases.

He added that the governor’s office responded that it was an ongoing legal proceeding.

“They want to do everything they can legally to find a way to dismiss my cases,” Story said. “That’s how they want to respond to these families, and it’s very disturbing that the administration wants to approach it that way.”

If you are a current or former Department of Corrections employee and would like to discuss the current situation at the Waupun Jail, you can contact Cody Taylor of Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin at [email protected].