The Heat is On

Posted: August 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  We’re in the middle of a run of 90 plus degree days with high humidity.  It’s early August, so that’s no shock.  Last summer I never got outside while in the climate controlled confines of Waukesha County Jail (WCJ) and previous to that I had central air in my home.  I won’t take that for granted again!  Fortunately, I have shorts and this little fan is holding up so far.  Yesterday, one of the inmates who advised me to drop my appeal, collapsed in his cell.  He has Parkinson’s and apparently got real light headed.  Then today, an inmate on the other side of Oxbow collapsed while mopping the floor in the shower.  I didn’t get the details on what happened to him but it’s pretty apparent that it’s hot, it’s August, and its not just me that things so.  It could be worse.  The men and women in Afghanistan would love to have these conditions.

You know had I how I pointed out when other inmates screw up and and I wonder how they could be so stupid?  Well, the finger is pointed at yours truly today.  Inmates buy clothing off of catalogs and we buy tokens off of canteen to get them  washed.  We sign up the day previous, turn in the tokens, and turn the cloths in that day at 5:30 am in a box labeled with our name and cell number.  I had decided I had to find a way to stretch my cash since I’m going to be incarcerated longer than I thought and I didn’t want to run out of money.  So, I’ve restricted what I order off canteen.  Then the guy whose job it is to do laundry offered to do the laundry free this time if I’d give up a couple of meals.  Much to his surprise I think because I have a bit of a reputation as a square, I agreed.  My thought process was I’d only do this every couple of weeks, it was low risk and I’d save money.  So, at 5:30 am there I was, bringing out my laundry box and put it in the laundry room.  Then I sat in a chair where my view of the guys showering at that hour was blocked.  A guard took note when another inmate came by with clothes in his hands instead of a box.  He decided to audit the laundry room to see if the names on the boxes matched those on the list.  I heard my name mentioned and my heart sank.  The inmate I’d made the deal with called me over after the guard left.  He told me he’d told the guard he had forgot to add me to the list and that I needed to go talk to this guard.  I went to the bubble where 4 guards were assembled.  They looked up my record and saw it was clean and asked me if I knew better and how long I’d been at Oxbow.  One of these guards was really ripping on me.  I played dumb.  Then the inmate who does the laundry came up to us and repeated the story of how he had forgotten to put me on the list.  The group of guards started talking about giving us both tickets for theft.  This would be a major offense.  I’d lose my ERP at MSDF, and certainly go to the hole.  I turned to the laundry guy and said, “That’s alright dude, I’d just take it”.  I was about 5 seconds from completely falling on my sword.  But he told me to stop.  He told the guard we started doing this during my cancer treatments.  It was so unfair to play the cancer card but it worked.  The guard then said he’d be checking the laundry room in the future and we left.  I went to my cell, got the tokens, gave them to the guards and again went back to my cell.  I thought it was over but not so fast.  After count, my cell got inspected in a more thorough fashion than normal.  Then on the following shift I got the sergeant, who I normally have a good relationship with, came in and wanted my window open on this hot, humid day.  This had never happened before today.

I think the worst thing about this is the impressions I’ve left with everyone, guard and inmate alike.  Inmates reacted by approaching me to be involved in their own scams and I think the guards favorable impression of me was compromised.

Bottom line, this was a horrible choice on my part.  I was so lucky it didn’t explode in my face and lose my ERP assignment or go to the hole.   I can’t afford to keep making stupid choices.  I wonder why the longer I’m here the less disciplined I seem?  Shouldn’t that be going in reverse?  One thing I notice about those who break rules regularly is they lack hope in regards to their future.  That shouldn’t be the case with me but I’ll give it some thought.

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