A Different Kind of Stress

Posted: September 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  There’s a lot of angst around here these days.  It’s a different kind of stress in a minimum security environment.  Here its about trying to get on a work crew, getting community custody so you can get work release or trying to get early release, whether under parole or Act 28.  Recently, the warden at FMCI put new rules in place that basically left the decision as to who gets to work or not essentially at the discretion of the warden.  It had been based on a waiting list.  But now, this warden has determined lifers and those having been kicked out of a program can’t work outside of the gate despite never having had a problem.  As far as “early release”, it seems the new tactic employed by the Department of Corrections (DOC) is to give early release to those say a week from their release date.  They are suppose to release up to 1000 inmates under this law, the savings already having been figured into the State of Wisconsin budget.  At last count they were at about 210.  So they are coming up with creative ways to inflate that number quickly.  In addition, Tiny is regretting ever coming here.  At Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OCI) he had a job and was doing well.  Here he sits for at least 2 months waiting to get a job.  In short, he’s bored.  His release date is December too so by the time he gets a job, it’s be time to go home.  Paul can’t get them to give him a job despite being here months.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m on a temp hold, so I’m not even considered.  I understand that.  But I’ve now been here over 30 days and still don’t have my property.  I just really want my electronics.  I’m with Tiny on this one.  It gets real boring.  It’s probably been good for me in the sense it has forced me to socialize and walk more.  But I’m ready to be able to watch something and be able to actually hear it over the crowd noise.  Yeah, I’ll take some cheese with my whine! 

Anyway, I got notified late at night I would be leaving the facility and not to eat after midnight.  This happens usually when I go to Madison for tests to make sure my cancer is in remission.  The guards were suppose to wake me at 5 am but they never came.  I woke up on my own, shaved my head and showered.  At 6 am, I was told it was cancelled so I got in line to eat.  Thankfully they checked again and it hadn’t been cancelled before I ate anything.  I was told to be at the gate at 7 am.  I was actually allowed to walk outside the gate with nothing on my wrists or feet to get into a waiting van!  I wasn’t even strip searched.  Being a minimum security inmate has its perks I guess.  The guard driving me was pleasant enough.  We talked Packers and politics.  He indicated state workers really fear Scott Walker being elected governor in Wisconsin because of his track record in the Milwaukee County for eliminating government jobs.  It’s going to be a bloodbath (figuratively speaking) if he’s elected I think.  Walker didn’t work and play with others in Milwaukee County either.  Then the guard cranked the country music real loud.  I’m not a big fan, but I was fine with it.  Once there I sat in a waiting room with a TV instead of that dungeon with the same old videos.  I got to walk through the hospital instead of having to be in a wheelchair.  After the PET scan, I tried to get one of those cheeseburgers for lunch, but no dice.  I got the same bag lunch as before.  After I got back, I learned my cellmate’s parole hearing had been cancelled.  He had gotten all cleaned up, ironed his clothes and had talked of nothing else for the last few days.  He said it didn’t matter.  I could tell he was devastated though.  I’m sure those on the board don’t know and probably don’t care.

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