I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  On the last weekend prior to my transfer to Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) to being the Earned Release Program (ERP) I had a very pleasant surprise. I had not one, but three visitors.  I hadn’t had a visit since one of the sponsors had visited me at Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI).  But a friend, actually my ex-wife’s, ex-husband’s, ex-wife (yes, it’s that complicated) whose name is Lucy visited.  She endured almost as much as I as our families disintegrated before our eyes. (She was still married to my ex-wife’s, ex-husband then).  We got caught up on what each of us knew about these people from our past but still present in our hearts. It was bittersweet.  Knowing those you love have moved on without you is tough on anyone, inmate or free.  Lucy and I talked about the possibility of my staying with her for a short time after I get out.  It’s not the ideal situation but I’m grateful for an option.  She is certainly someone I trust.   In case your about to ask if it’s romantic, it is not.  We’re just 2 people who have the disaster of our families and marriages in common.  Then after Lucy left, my adoptive parents showed up.  It’s been over a year since I last saw them, never since I’ve been to prison.  It’s a dynamic I haven’t touched on in this blog, but its safe to say that they are good people who had no idea what they were getting into when they got me as a kid.   Perhaps I’ll get into that more later on.  But it was a good visit and it was good to see them.  They are indicating they want me to call once I get to MSDF so we’ll see how that goes.  Incarceration is hard on so many beyond the inmate and it can make those relationships awkward.  I am anxious to find out what acquaintances of the family know and what’s being said about me.  It’s the shame factor of course. 

This morning I woke up and looked at the menu and saw we were having backed chicken for supper (the best thing here) so I traded most of what little canteen I had left to Paul for a couple extra pieces. Things are getting bad on this unit so it’s good I’m moving on.  The immediate crisis is one inmate traded his TV to another inmate for $20 of canteen, and he used that to buy tobacco.  The problem is the selling inmate reneged and demanded the TV be returned or he’d report the purchasing inmate to the guards for having unauthorized property.  The purchasing inmate had no choice but to comply with the blackmail but vowed retribution.   Add to that the purchasing inmate is popular and is good at manipulating others and its a powder keg that’s going to explode.  Some plan on either cutting the power cord of the TV and/or the inmate.  I decided to go walk the track and enjoy the sky, wind and sun, one more time before I go to MSDF where there will be none of that.  I thought about what the purpose of all this was.  The way I see it the purpose at Dodge Correctional Institution (DCI) was to break me down, the purpose at JCI was to get me physically healthy, and and the purpose at FMCI was to get me mentally ready for ERP at MSDF, ready for people in close quarters and able to cope with a lack of personal space and my boundaries being violated.  It isn’t what the WPS planned but maybe that was God’s plan for me.  I came back inside to even more strife going on between inmates but feeling energized and confident for what will come tomorrow. 

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Comments
  1. Kelli says:

    You are totally right when you say its hard on everyone invilved. And again you are correct when you stated its the shame. My husband and I have been doing this for many years. He is coming home in August!!! But the places I work, my school, no one knows anything about where my husband is. I have been judged and treated harshly in the past because of it so now…. I dont make friends, I dotn really socialize outside of the things I have stated above. I hang out with my family and every weekend I get to spend time with my husband. I think you are amazing for sharing all of this with us. I know its not easy and I admire that a lot. Please Please continue with this!!!

    • lifewps says:

      This is Jake. Hearing from folks like you makes my day. Congrats on his impending arrival home! I’m happy for you both. Good luck on the challenges that lie ahead but he is so lucky to have you in his corner. Please let others know who you think might like this blog. God Bless!

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