I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  What an intense 24 hours it has been since my last entry!  Shortly after the Green Bay Packers lost to the Detroit Lions, my cellie (cellmate), Andre Charles was going on and on about how great it was the Packers lost.  I asked the question with a smile if he was the kind of person that would go on and on just to annoy others.  He responded by asking if I was “getting all up in my chest” which means to get upset.  It came across to me by virtue of his body language and tone that he was challenging me.  I replied that if I was “getting up in my chest” he would know it.  We both got pretty hot.  I told him to leave me alone and went to the bathroom to shave my head as is my custom on Sundays.  He, of course, followed where the argument continued.  Andre told me he’s going to leave me alone.  I said that was fine and as I walked away he said he’d “punch me in the mouth”. Twice more, once that night and again the next morning he threatened me.  I stood toe to toe with him being careful not to threaten but not back down.  Charles historically has a violent temper with charges in the past reflecting that so this wasn’t an idle threat.  But finally he walked away and returned an hour later, saying he didn’t want to live like this.  My other two cellies, Malik Pearl and Brian Whalen, had watched this whole thing and wouldn’t say anything to offend Andre.  So they were happy I’m sure this was getting patched just in time.  We both apologized and I was off to being ERP.  Truth is I was incredibly stupid to say anything at all.  Ms. Grey, our ERP coordinator, had us assemble in the weight room which wasn’t real well lit.  She hadn’t thought ahead on that.  She handed out folders.  It was just your usual consent forms, agreements, and Intake information.  But one of my worst fears was realized.  We have to do an autobiography and timeline and read it to the group.  There’s a lot of things you know and other things you don’t that I feel like in the hands of other inmates regardless of how many confidentiality agreements they sign.  But here is the thing.  The stakes are so high for me right now.  If I should fail ERP, my mandatory release date is January 1, 2013.  That’s over 2 years from now, 8 months if I complete “ERP”.  I’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes to pass.  And who knows, maybe it’ll be useful and my fear might be baseless.

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