Ready or Not Here He Comes

Posted: July 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  Once again, my hearing before the Program Review Committee (PRC) is not scheduled for this week.  On the plus side, tests done confirm my cancer is in remission.  I won’t have anything more on this until 3 months from now when I’ll get tested again.  Again, on the downside, I’m probably going to lose my single cell.  My doctor left things in the notes that might hint I should keep it but it may not be enough.  I’ve been single cell since coming to prison, and for 10 months before that I was in a cell by myself at the Waukesha County Jail (WCJ).  This was all due to the cancer diagnosis.  It worries me, getting a cellmate.  I have problems when I don’t have my own space or if I feel like my space is being violated.  I’m trying not to get worked up about it now because there is a chance it won’t happen.  Still, I realize life will change drastically from what I have known if I have to move in with someone.  I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for this possibility.

We had some excitement on the unit.  One guy, named Larry Lacewell, is a murderer who is 10 months from release after twenty some years of incarceration.  I always found him to be a helpful guy when I needed it.  However; he often confided to me that his patience for the “bull –it” from other inmates was running thin.  Other inmates commented he seemed to be going off on others quite often.  The amateur psychologist in me thought perhaps it was the fear of his impending release to a non-structured world that was causing him to act like this.  Lacewell didn’t agree.  Then it turned out, it was discovered his thyroid was not working properly.  He was convinced this was the cause he was acting out.  I hoped so.  Every once in awhile I’m next to a person who my sixth sense just tells me to be careful and that the person is dangerous.  I got that vibe from him.  Ironically, I also consider him to be a person who could be a good friend.  I know it seems contradictory.  But don’t worry, I don’t seek to make friends here when I’m out that’s it.  These folks are not part of my plans for the future.  Anyway, it happened that his cellmate was found to be passing property to another inmate and got 15 days confinement to their cell.  His cellmate reported Lacewell threatened him with a shank (an improvised device that acts like a knife) and refused repeated orders by guards to return to his cell.  Of course, the reason became apparent to the guards, who then searched the cell and found the shank.  Lacewell was taken to the hole.  He was calm, and reacted like the veteran convict that he is.   His cellmate was written up for disobeying an order.  He ended up going to the hole too.  Kind of an odd situation huh?

I suppose I might have been right, Lacewell might fear for his release.  But the start reality is that after twenty some years in prison, he still is willing to create a shank and threaten someone. The other part of that reality is he is about to be released into the community, where many people won’t respect his boundaries and the way he lives his life and will say so.  The Code of Conduct that exists among inmates won’t exist in the outside world.  How will he react?  is he equipped to deal to handle life on the outside?  I’ll never get to see how it will turn out for him and the community. 

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