Ebony and Ivory

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  It’s 10 pm, probably the best time of day, at least the most relaxing.  It’s considered “quiet time”.  What this means is that in the dayroom, only 1 inmate can be at a table at a time.  One TV is watched and there’s not supposed to be any talking.  The lights are dimmed.  I know, I know… it sounds like the perfect time for a romantic moment and I swear that’s not the intent!  The idea behind it I think is to get everyone to wind down prior to bed.  If you have a TV in your room like I do now, they make you go to your room, which is fine with me.  Usually people are quiet and it is actually peaceful, even with the TV in the dayroom blaring.  Sometimes the guards don’t enforce the no talking rule and it isn’t so quiet.  I usually turn on the radio and listen to the Wisconsin Public Radio and their broadcast of the BBC at 11, which I leave on all night while I sleep.  I try to stay connected to normalcy somehow, and the sound helps my nightmares.  When I wake up, its a sound I know should always be there.

I wanted to clarify something from the last entry, “The Instigator”.  It’s not like there hasn’t been racial tension here prior to that.  We don’t stand hand in hand in the courtyard singing “Ebony and Ivory”.  (There’s a funny mental picture!).  Generally speaking, it isn’t overt displays of racist attitudes or speech.  One of the most common places it becomes evident is when meals are served and those inmates serving food “take care of their own”. Everyone sees it and usually just accept it.  Other times its in group conversations.  Generally whites hang with whites, blacks hang with blacks, but they do mix on occasion.  The point is, it’s a delicate balance here, which is why what occurred here in the entry “The Instigator” could easily cause the simmering tension to come to a boil.  I’m sure the staff here knows that too.  Either way, I’m keeping my head down and my eyes open as always.  To quote Myagi from Karate Kid “I no get involved!”  I think people that didn’t know I wasn’t with the “Brotherhood” clique are getting the idea now as people aren’t so hostile.

In other news, inmate Peterson got transferred to another prison.  Though being a sociopath, he entertained with his wild stories, quirky comments to me and the person a lot of guys would argue over, thereby keeping it interesting at times.  At last check, he is still trying to pursue his dream of a surgery for a gender change.  Peterson asked for my contact information prior to his departure.  I wished him luck, but had to decline,  he said he understood.

Another inmate, Steve Pressey, he too has a tendency to tell outlandish lies.  So outlandish they make you laugh.  But on this night, it was no laughing matter.  He told the chaplain his brother had been killed in the war, who was very sympathetic and told the guards.  Unfortunately, when they went to verify the story there wasn’t a grain of truth in it. He got a major ticket and could well end up in the hole.  I have a whole host of thoughts on this guy but maybe I’ll save that for another time.  The poor guy needed his attention fix but it backfired. 

One last thing for this host of hodge podge of a blog entry.  Most of the rules here are common sense.  Others are, well, weird.  But it really isn’t worth it to break them.  A rules says you can’t have someone else’s legal paperwork in your cell.  So if you’re going to have their paperwork, don’t leave it in your cell!  Another rules says not to alter your electronic devices.  So don’t!  You know your cell is going to be inspected and its going to be found, and you’ll get a ticket!  You may have guessed it another inmate got nabbed on those things, and will probably get put in restriction.  What’s worse is all these kinds of things are held against you at things like your Program Review Committee (PRC) hearing.  Myself, I’m very focused on getting out of here.  I’m just not willing to expose myself.  My worst offense is to cover my window to keep heat out.  Usually they ignore it, like they do with others.  The real point is don’t be stupid and keep in mind your goals.

So people come, people go.  What they do, what they say, whatever their game is, I’m not going to let it affect me or influence my actions.  It’s a goal, I’m not always successful.  It’s important I keep my wits about me while I’m waiting for this hearing

  1. Jill says:

    Did you finally get released?

  2. Jake says:

    Jill, thank you for your response. No, no release yet.

  3. Jill says:

    Are you able to access regular email? I\’d like to keep in touch. I\’ve been following your blogs. Keep your head up (or down as the case may be). Jill

  4. Jill says:

    Are you able to access regular email? I\’d like to keep in touch. I\’ve been following your blogs. Keep your head up (or down as the case may be). Jill

  5. Jake says:

    Jill, thank you for your response. As noted, comments are forwarded to Jake and correspondence can be kept via e-mail, just be prepared for a delay due to snail mail. Your comments and support of the blog are appreciated.

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