The state of Wisconsin forced Mark Rice to spend 26 months in Wisconsin prisons and eight years under the supervision of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. His experience with the state’s carceral system inspired him to become a leader in the movement to dismantle this unjust system.
Today, Mark serves as the coordinator of the Wisconsin Transformational Justice Campaign at WISDOM. This campaign aims to advance racial justice, decarcerate Wisconsin, and redirect resources to build safer, stronger, and healthier communities. The campaign also strives to restore the rights of people with conviction records and change narratives that dehumanize formerly incarcerated people.
He founded and managed the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign, aimed at decarcerating Milwaukee, shuttering MSDF (Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility), and redirecting resources to build communities. This campaign produced the largest amount of decarceration in any adult Wisconsin prison in over 20 years. Mark is a founding member of EXPO (EX-incarcerated People Organizing). Led by people who are directly impacted, EXPO is committed to dismantling all systems that support mass incarceration and excessive supervision. EXPO is dedicated to creating just systems with policies that build healthy families and safe communities. In addition, he served as a board member of Project RETURN for over six years. Project RETURN is a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee that helps people leaving prison make a positive and permanent return to the community.
He has earned an M.S. in Urban Studies and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management & Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 2016, Mark received the Distinguished Leadership Award from MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope) and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore for his outstanding and committed work to end mass incarceration. He has contributed his expertise on the penal system to numerous media outlets including USA Today, Wisconsin and Milwaukee Public Radio, PBS, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Capital Times, Truthout, WRRD Resistance Radio, NBC 26, WISN 12, CBS 58, the Daily Beast, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.