In a Minute, It All Changed

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  Long time readers of this blog might be wondering how in the world I happened to land here.  To be truthful, I really don’t know.  The changes aren’t finished either.  Let me try to get you caught up.  The previous week at Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI) had been the hottest all summer.  I finally had gotten in with my new Band and it was going well.  But on Sunday, August 15th, I got notice that I should pack anything not state owned.  I wondered if I was being sent to the hole or what was going on.  The guard told me I was leaving.  I was shocked.  I had just been told by Ms. Valera at PRC I was stuck at JCI until at least November due to bed space at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF).   My mind began to race.  What the heck is going on?  Freddy works in inmate reception said he saw my name on the list to go to MSDF.  Another guy told me the ERP group,  the one I need to complete to be released was starting in September.  My thought process of course just is going crazy.  If all of this is true, I could be out by Christmas!  What happened to Valera’s hold?  Did my bed date at MSDF really get moved up?  I went to my cell, and basically nervously fidgeted with things until I got a hold of myself.  I got everything into 3 boxes.  Many guys on the unit immediately came to my cell wanting me to pass my pillow, mattress and every other darn thing you could think of.  Of course, they forget I actually have to use these things until I leave!  That night, it reminded me a lot of the time I began at JCI.  No TV, radio or books and everybody and everything different.  Obviously, my routine was disrupted and uncertainty over the future make it difficult for me to cope.  But I was optimistic.  There was a goal – ERP at MSDF and I’m in remission.  These were significant positive differences.  Guys who had been down this road told me I’d go to Dodge Correctional Institution (DCI) for a day or two then be off to the ‘”hellhole” as they called it at MSDF.  I prayed all of this would really go as they said.  The next day went through the ritual of exchanging contact information with other inmates, knowing full well the vast majority I’ll never hear from again.  Why do it?  I don’t know.  The same thing happened at summer camp as a kid I guess.  I think it’s just that people want to be remembered.

Anyway, the unit manager, if you can really call him that, he spoke to me for the third time since my arrival in March.  He asked if I was the inmate leaving and told me the inmate who would get my cell.  Then he wished me well.  I returned the cliché.  I watched the new owner move into my cell and just sat.  Finally about lunch time I got paged and reported to Intake.  I got a bag lunch and was strip searched.  More changes this time.  They used soft restraints on my wrists due to discoloration and bruising as a result from chemo and thanks to my status as a minimum security inmate, no feet shackles were used.  Then we were told where we were going.  I was told I was going to Fox Lake Correctional Institution, not DCI or MSDF as I’d thought.  Well, it wasn’t so long ago I was whining about being stuck at JCI until November.  Obviously, the Lord and DOC have another plan and what choice do I have but to trust in God as I don’t have any control here.  That might be the point anyway.  They led me and one other inmate to a bus and we got underway.  And that was good bye to Jackson Correctional Institution. 

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