I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  Thursday it was Russ Johnson’s turn to read his autobiography.  His story was consistent with the background we learned before.  He came from a successful family and had been handed his career opportunities through family connections.  Financially he has no worries when he gets out.  He did lose a marriage and that clearly impacted him.  It was interesting to note that though he does have a lot of money, alcoholism had rendered him just like me in that we both are in prison. In the afternoon, we watched a series of videos on communication skills and how to handle confrontations.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the video title or who it was by.  But there were three skills.  Giving it, taking it and working it out.  Giving it steps are to ask the person if you can talk to them, say something positive if you can, tell the person what’s on your mind, ask if they understand and thank them for listening.  The taking it skill steps are to stay calm and listen, ask the person to explain, ask what they want you to do and tell them you understand.  The working out skill steps are to tell the other person what you want, listen to the response, ask if the person has another way and offer a compromise.  All very useful information.  We had the community meeting next where ERP group member John Lloyd gave as the current event article the Green Bay Packers victory in the Super Bowl.  It got all the Packer haters going.  Some also thought it wasn’t an appropriate article.  But I got up and said that if the Packers could win the Super Bowl through all the adversity they had we most certainly get back out there in life and do what we need to do.  Sounds pretty weak, huh?  But at the time it sounded good! The quote for the week was “When you plot revenge start by digging two graves”.  The word of the week was recidivate. Basically its return to a certain pattern of conduct.  The implication is pretty obvious.  Tomorrow I get to read my autobiography.  I still don’t want to but since I have to I’ve made myself pretty calm.  It’s going to have to be ok.

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