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 Friday I woke up, really just like any other day.  I had to read my autobiography to my ERP group today and though I wasn’t happy about doing so I had resigned myself to having to do it.  But it wasn’t my turn until that afternoon.  First, it was ERP group member Mark Hogan’s turn to read his story in the morning.  We anticipated a lot of humor in his story in keeping with his class clown personality but though there was some there wasn’t as much as we thought there would be.  He brought visual aids along, showing the general store his father had established in the early part of the twentieth century.  Early in life his father and him argued and he fired and disinherited him.  They’d never reconcile.  He would talk about the beatings his father had given him under question in front of the group by ERP group coordinator, Ms. Grey, but didn’t detail in his reading.  It focused on the hard drinking and bad choices this man of almost 70 years of age had made and how he had helped himself overcome Vietnam with yoga and drugs.  Afterwards the news came that Gov. Walker had announced that Unions for State employees could only negotiate on salary issues, not on such things as health or pension benefits which guards over the next 2 days would be heard talking with each other about how much extra it was going to cost them for such things.  The conversations I heard were obviously of the angry type.  That afternoon intern, Nikita joined us.  Ms. Grey started by having us all change seats which kind of annoyed us.  Then it was my turn.  I read it exactly as written.  I could tell by the reactions of those in the room it was as hard for them to hear as it was for me to read.  Of course there was a lot more in there than you have read in this blog, but you can ask if you want.  I ended it about all the writing I had done since going to prison (not of course that it has been in this blog) and how it’s helped me along the way.  Afterwards there was questions from the group.  They clearly look at me differently now, that’s for sure.  Ms. Grey didn’t have that many questions.  And then it was over.  Pretty painless, huh?  Well I can talk smart now that it’s done, can’t I? Smile  Afterwards, group member Scott Dietz invited me to his family’s events if I wanted.  Others came up and expressed to me similar stories they hadn’t included in their autobiographies and asked me what I thought of one thing or another.  Just very different.  I’m not sure what to think or if I like this or not.  Time will tell.  The next day, Saturday, we got locked in while 2 guys in a different ERP program who were 5 days from graduation were taken to the hole for fighting.  That’s got to be the worst nightmare come true for those guys.  Week 10 is complete and there’s 16 weeks to go.  I’m praying that I don’t end up with a similar fate. 

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