Columbia Correctional Institution

Columbia Correctional Institution
Columbia Correctional Institution
A tower and a housing unit.
Location Portage, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°33′58″N 89°29′24″W / 43.566°N 89.49°W / 43.566; -89.49Coordinates: 43°33′58″N 89°29′24″W / 43.566°N 89.49°W / 43.566; -89.49
Status Operational
Security class Maximum
Capacity 541 males (operating)
Population 827 males (as of FY 2008)
Opened May 1986
Managed by Wisconsin Department of Corrections
Division of Adult Institutions
Director Gregory D. Grams

Columbia Correctional Institution, (CCI), is an adult male maximum-security correctional facility operated by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Division of Adult Institutions in Portage, Wisconsin. The facility was constructed on 110 acres (0.45 km2) at a cost of $38.6 million dollars. It has 27 acres (110,000 m2) inside the perimeter fence. Columbia Correctional Institution opened in May 1986, with an original capacity of 450 inmates housed in single bed cells. In 1997, a 150 bed barracks was constructed for minimum security inmates and over time many of the single bed cells have been converted to double bed cells. The current operating capacity is 541. The average daily population for 2007 was 839.[1]

Gregory D. Grams, the fifth warden, has been in that position since March 2005.[2][3]

In 1988, a sculpture entitled Chromatic Fragments - Vortex to the Sky by artist and University of Illinois Professor of Art Christiane Martens was installed in the parking area of the prison. The 20-foot (6.1 m) tall painted steel sculpture cost $50,000.[4]

According to the Wisconsin State Journal and the Portage Daily Register, in 2007 and 2008 two female staff members were accused of having sex with inmates at the prison. A 42-year-old cafeteria worker who was accused of sex with an inmate in the prison freezer pleaded no contest to a lesser charge in 2007. In 2008, a 45-year-old female corrections officer was charged with multiple counts of second degree sexual assault. The use of force was not alleged in either situation, but Wisconsin law does not allow prisoners to consent to sex with prison staff. Punishment can be up to 40 years in prison, and a large fine.[5]


Buildings and grounds

Columbia Correctional Institution is located in Wisconsin
Columbia Correctional Institution's location in Wisconsin
  • Opened in 1986, $38.6 million
  • Originally designed and built to house 450 inmates, one per cell,[1] 541 design capacity plus modifications and expansions
  • Count as of June 27, 2008 - 828[6]
  • Overcrowding has some inmates sleeping on the floor[citation needed]
  • Overcrowding forced the construction of a 150 bed barracks in 1997 for minimum security inmates and conversion of many single bed cells into double bed cells.[1]
  • 12 total housing units - 6 general population, 2 SMU (Special Management Unit [psych]), 2 segregation (plus one housing unit is half for SMU seg and reception and orientation houses min/med security seg if not put to DS2 or DS1), 1x 150 bed barracks, 1x 13 cell R&O (Reception & Orientation). The facility is stated to have ten living areas with 50 cells each and a 150 bed barracks.[7]
  • 110 acres (0.45 km2)

High-profile residents

Some nationally and locally notorious individuals who have been incarcerated at CCI include:

  • Jeffrey Dahmer - Deceased
  • Jesse Anderson - Deceased
  • Christopher Scarver - Convicted murderer who, while in prison, killed Jeffrey Dahmer and Jesse Anderson
  • Filemon Amaro Jr. - Waukesha County courtroom shootout in 1978 that killed two sheriff's deputies
  • Kim Brown - Serial Killer
  • James Oswald - Convicted of a crime spree in the mid-1990s that included, kidnapping, bank robberies, wounding two officers and killing Waukesha Police Captain James Lutz


  1. ^ a b c FY 07 Annual Report
  2. ^ New prison warden takes oath of office, lists key issues to address during his tenure. Portage Daily Register. March 10, 2005.
  3. ^ Columbia Correctional Institution. Accessed July 20, 2008.
  4. ^ Prison debate raises the issue of public art. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee, Wis.: April 20, 1997. pg. 12.
  5. ^ Corrections officer accused of having sex with inmate. Portage Daily Register. Also published in the Wisconsin State Journal. June 18, 2008. accessed July 20, 2008.
  6. ^ WI DOC populations. June 27, 2008
  7. ^ Columbia Correctional Institution

External links

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