I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP). On this past Friday, it was a State of Wisconsin employee furlough day so there were no ERP groups for anyone but we were required to work on something program related, whether it be in our cells or out in the dayroom.  Somebody has to work these shifts guard wise and the guard we got was a strict by the book type attractive female but trust me after the comments she made at count nobody was concerned with her looks.  Cellie Brian Whalen left the cell after count was cleared on the guards radios (yes we can here it) but before she announced it, so she gave him a warning on his card.  Putting a warning on an inmates card is a measure short of giving an inmate a conduct report that an inmate can’t dispute but allows the guard to communicate to others you did something without the paperwork and a hearing.  Whalen says it was his first one and was a little worried.  It was pretty clear some inmates weren’t taking her seriously.  One got an actual conduct report after she caught him sleeping in his cell for the third time.  You can’t really blame her for that one.  As far as I’m concerned, when in my cell I like to alternate between sitting with my back against the wall on my top bunk right by my locker where I have to move my paper and books organized on top of the locker for easy access and I can see out the cell window and see who’s coming up the steps.  The way I sit on my bunk became cellie Andre Charles latest issue.  He complained that he didn’t like that I could see him when I looked up from what I was doing.  Of course, this means he was watching me in order to notice this.  I guess it’s a grown up, unbalanced version of the game “Stop Watching Me” children play. I assured him and over again that no matter what he thought watching him was the last thing I felt like doing.  But my assurance wasn’t enough.  He wanted me to sit with my back against the locker and not look to my left where I would see him on the bottom bunk across from me.  He did something similar with former cellie Malik Pearl when he complained about Malik not using the chair to get off the top bunk above him and how it would wake him.  Andre was trying to control me of course, or rather his latest attempt.  Usually I’d throw on my headphones and just tune him out but since this was program time I didn’t have that option.  So he went on and on about how I should do this for him.  I kept saying no.  We’re in close quarters.  I see him watching me but I don’t say anything.  Its part of the price you pay for being in prison.  Finally I offer when he lays down I’ll go to the other end of the bunk.  He has towels hanging from the now empty top bunk to prevent others from seeing him but he arranges the towels so he can see through the cracks if people were watching him.  He accepted that but that still wasn’t enough for him.  I had to sit the way he wanted.  My levels of frustration and anger are visibly growing in an exponential fashion.  He kept riding me on this despite my  insistence that the conversation was over and I would not give in anymore.  Finally I exploded.  “Fine, you f….g spoiled brat, you can have your f…..g way.  Now shut your f…..g mouth”.  I was shaking as I said it.  Of course he wouldn’t let it go now.  Why was I so upset he asked?  Clearly, he was enjoying how worked up he got me.  He threatened to go tell the guard he was afraid of me “because I was shaking”.  Finally it came to an end.  The next day, Saturday, the game continued.  I sat on the other side of the bunk.  He pulled his towels back though so he could see me.  As I figured I would, I tired of playing this game and returned to the way I normally do things.  Andre said something but this time my headphones and TV drowned him out.  But really, I failed in this test.  I allowed him to control me.  I should have just ignored him and not caved in at all.  There is no compromise with him , its his way or no way.  I’ll do better in the future.  Sorry if I disappointed any of you out there.  Just know I disappointed myself even more.  I’m better than this.

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