Posts Tagged ‘black’


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  I have a lot to cover and not a lot of time to do it.  The rec room issues continued as my ERP group member Russ Johnson didn’t make a lot of friends here when he told those wanting him to share the exercise bike that he couldn’t help it that he had a million dollars and they didn’t.  Some wanted to pound him but what saved him and many others in these situations is everyone is so close to getting out now nobody wants to risk an altercation and get thrown out.  Many such as Johnson knows this to be the case so they are taking their verbal shots and act tough thinking their won’t be consequences.  Sometimes I think people just shouldn’t play with fire because one of these times a stray, irrational spark might burn them.  On Tuesday our ERP group leader Ms. Grey appeared shortly after 9:30 am.  Today was devoted to the study of heroin.  The first videos shown were Heroin, What Am I Going To Do?  A Hazelden production and Heroin and other Opiates again featuring Dr. David Ohlms.  At the end we had time for discussion and ERP group member Augie Prescott inquired about his Interstate Compact to allow him to return to Alabama to allow him to do his extended supervision (ES)/parole there.  An Interstate Compact is an agreement on a process between different states that allows parolees to move across state lines and reside there.  Unfortunately in Prescott’s case, his paperwork remains out of order.  His presentence investigation and criminal complaint is missing.  Without these items, the compact won’t happen at this stage, it’s really too late.  He’s upset because Ms. Grey and his parole officer (PO) here have known about this since he got here and nothings been done.  I don’t blame him for being upset.  I asked again if she had called Sal’s House, the halfway house in Waukesha I’m considering and she said she still hadn’t done so.  She said an agency called the TOP program was coming in to give Waukesha County people a presentation related to a program called Wiser Choice in Milwaukee County.  We just are getting the impression she doesn’t want to do a heck of a lot.  In the afternoon we saw an extremely compelling video entitled Black Tar Heroin The Dark End of the Street that followed the lives of several heroin addicts in the late nineties.  It was brutal in its honesty in describing the horror of heroin addiction.  I’d highly recommend for anyone just getting into trouble with it.  In the middle of the video ERP group member and cellie Larry Sands got called out of the room.  After a brief discussion (heroin wasn’t a big issue in this OWI ERP group) we got out and got our mail from guard Ruth Barthowski who is kind enough to hand it out right away.  I got word from my sponsors that my biological father’s family had emailed again.  We’ve been writing back and forth since they found me but we’ve always danced around any issues up to this point.  Not this time.  They indicated they wanted to know.  I told them most of what I’ve told you.  It seems none of them knew what had gone on as my biological father wasn’t in touch with them at that time.  I feel…. okay with it.  I mean if I can tell it here I can do this.  I am nervous on their reaction.  I won’t lie.  When I saw Sands he told me what was going on.  He had gone to see the psychiatrist here and told them how Ms. Grey had pushed him on his grief issues (when he read his auto) and such.  They weren’t at all happy and told him that was improper.  They’d be talking to the unit manager and that he shouldn’t fear retaliation from Ms. Grey for talking about this.  You’ve got to give Sanders a lot of credit for speaking up, for saying what many have wondered about.  I have no idea on how this will turn out.  She doesn’t like it if you disagree with her much less something challenging her methods. 

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I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP). The number one rule in a prison environment is you don’t snitch on another inmate.  You are suppose to handle whatever the issue is between yourself and the other inmate.  But I feel like cellie Andre Charles has put me in a position of where I feel I don’t have a choice but to ask to be moved.  If this thing explodes all the work and waiting (almost a year) I’ve done to get to ERP goes down the drain.  I feel I’ve given him chance after chance while putting up with his conduct since my arrival at MSDF.  I decided the next time I got a threatening word or an attempt to intimidate me or anyone else in this cell I was going to go to the blue shirts. (guards).  But then cellie Malik Pearl confided he was going to go to the  guards and ask to be moved.  He’s in fear this whole thing will cost him his place in the ERP program too, as well as the chance to get out early.  Sensing an opportunity, I asked him to let me know when he’d done this and then I’d follow and do the same.  I thought we should do it together but I didn’t ask.  Malik, being a black man, cooperating with a white guy against another black man, in this environment it just isn’t normally done.  But later on Malik came to me and told me we should do this together, and in so doing, they’ll probably move Andre.  I asked him about the problems he might face with his guys and he said he didn’t care.  This tells me two things.  One, we both consider this to be a serious enough threat to do something this drastic.  Two, though Malik has been a violent drug dealer in the past he has a strength of character I admire.  We both agreed we should wait until Saturday, which is New Year’s Day, to talk to the regular first shift guard, Roscoe Peters.  The next day was Friday, New Year’s Eve which was treated as a weekend day.  A lot of the inmates spent the day in the dayroom playing cards and chess.  As usual I hung by myself.  That night the FOX television network showed “Rocky Balboa”, the final video of my favorite movie series.  Malik and my other cellie Brian Whalen, traded memories of great champions when boxing was a great sport.  But Andre hates it when the conversation includes Malik but hates it even more when I’m involved in the conversation.  Whalen won’t get involved but I see him not caring if Andre sees him talking to us.  So that’s good.  But I’m focusing on Rocky’s words. “I see you blaming everyone around you and making excuses for why your not doing good.  That’s how a coward acts and that’s not what you are”.  It’s not verbatim but the general drift.  Whatever happens in 2011, my success or failure, rests on me.  No excuses.  No apologies and no quitting.  Happy New Year Everybody!


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP). This morning we were locked down for unknown reasons at the time.  There is a lot of confusion over the disruption of routine any time it occurs.  Should we go back to sleep?  Watch TV?  What’s going on?  I’ve been around long enough to not even let it bother me one way or another, as have my cellies.  But it came out later.  Apparently,  they were doing some kind of weapons training on the 1st floor so they wanted to keep us locked down.  We finally got out after 1pm.  I and my group resumed work at the tables in the dayroom on the work Ms. Grey had given us.  At my table has been Scott Bunker, John Lloyd, and a guy from Alabama named Augie Prescott.  Prescott is deep south and is not shy with his view on minorities, so Bunker and he became friendly.  I’m quiet and Lloyd usually just sits back and agrees with anything he says.  Prescott has taken to calling black people share of ignorance as well picking on white people’s dress, manners and speaking.  MSDF has the most out in the open racially prejudice I’ve seen in the institutions.  It doesn’t help I’m sure that they divide the ERP groups, one drug offenders, the other OWI offenders.   The OWI group has 1 black man, named Larry Sands, the rest are all white.  But at our table, Bunker and Prescott go back and forth with their comments and jokes.  I threw myself into the assignments.  One was to write in detail about my OWI Offenses.  Another about what I’m hoping the ERP program will do for me.  It is difficult to write this one and Ms. Grey wants 2 pages.  We also had to conduct an interview of another group member, which I did.  I was interviewed by Dean Stark who is a nice enough guy but kind of gives me the creeps.  I had to interview Tom Dietz and he impressed me.  He’s a business owner and very good with people.  We never did see Ms. Grey today.  I’m not sure why.  She has been conducting what is suppose to be in depth interviews of each person.  I’m being told she knows nothing about us beforehand.  I’m real tempted to not be honest about my background because I don’t want other inmates to know any of it.  I’ve decided to be brutally honest about my background.  I just don’t think I have any reason to be ashamed of it and if I truly don’t care what they think I need to just do it.  In fact, in many ways, I could be proud of what I’ve overcome and accomplished – except for not doing what I needed to do to stay healthy.  But they’re handing out canteen, so I better go and listen for my name.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  I got up at 4am after a night filled with a series of odd dreams but the theme seemed to be the fear that even if I do everything I can to get my life back things out of my control will stop me.  I remember feeling desperation as I confronted each problem and had no power.  Breakfast was 2 hard boiled eggs and cocoa puffs.  I went back to bed.  I always sleep better the second time around.  I awoke this time to Lt. Brodie yelling at us yelling at us to remain in our bunks as we had in the shakedown the previous week.  He also told us it was a training exercise, but it wouldn’t take nearly as long as it did last week.  Everyone got up and started to repeat the routine from the previous week of throwing out food and other contraband in the little wastebasket at their bunk area, all the while bitterly complaining about how quickly this next shakedown occurred.  This time, however, our unit was first, and our aisle was first to be strip searched.  This time there were no red shirt trainees and the guards were clearly as annoyed as we were.  The walk to the multipurpose building (MPB) was much colder this time.  Another difference became evident pretty quick.  Both unit 9 and 10 were in the MPB at the same time which made it quite noisy and crowded.  We watched through windows and the nature of this search became evident.  At least 2 German Shepherds and Black Labs were on the grounds provided by whom I believe to be the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department.  They are the first domestic animals I’ve seen in over 18 months.  I do miss my pets.  It was also pretty clear this search was going faster than last time.  I was as content as I could be.  I managed to get a computer to access the law library provided in the MPB so I researched various topics with no real purpose in mind.  About an hour and a half after the search began, 4 names were called out to come to the front.  They immediately assumed the position, got patted down and were handcuffed.  The assumption was illegal drugs were found by the dogs.  I don’t know that for a fact but its very possible.  Shortly thereafter we were told we could go back to our units.  Lt. Brodie was in front of Unit 9 telling us we had to stay in the building.  It seems the dogs weren’t done inspecting the grounds yet.  Unlike our last shakedown, very little had been disturbed in our bunk areas.  If last time was a hurricane, this time was just a shower.  Lt. Brodie came in our aisle, I swear he smiled at me and thanked us for our time and apologized for the inconvenience.  Let me say that again.  He thanked us for our time and apologized for the inconvenience!  The apocalypse is near I swear!  Unlike last time, normal operations resumed quite quickly.  Canteen won’t even be delayed.  But as 4pm arrived, a massive number of tickets were handed down for the shakedown from last week.  And just like that, there was something new to think about.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  At about 7:10 am, I got paged to come to Ms. Greer’s office.  Ms. Greer is the social worker on our unit and it appeared we had had a disconnect on the issue with Waukesha County.  Turns out she had let me know she simply didn’t remember what it was we had been discussing.  She took the copies of the bills my Power of Attorney had sent, made a copy of my criminal case record that proved I was in custody at the time and told me she would look into this.  I was floored again.  Calling me in prior to office hours and agreeing to help?  I don’t think she got the memo that DOC staff aren’t supposed to care.  Of course I’m kidding.  But it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.  I was glad I followed through.  At about 10 that morning, I was taken for a previously scheduled session with the psychiatrist I liked.  It was pretty informative.  I felt comfortable enough to tell him about this bog and how much work I’ve been able to do through it.  He seemed quite interested.  I asked him how he was able to avert his eyes to the feet that most don’t get the treatment they need while in prison.  His answer was telling.  He said he does the best he could with what he’s given and he would be doing a bigger disservice to inmates by not being the best advocate he could be.  Really, you’ve got to love the honesty and dedication.  He shared he’s gotten burned before but it can’t keep you from following through with what is best for the inmate patient.  Just outstanding.  After I got back, it’s getting pretty evident nerves are getting a little frayed around here.  A lot of us don’t have coats yet and its gotten cold out.  They were suppose to have gotten out the middle of October but it didn’t happen for some reason.  What’s worse is they’ve come out a few coats at a time, allowing the inmate in control of the laundry who hands them out to play favorites which angers many.  What this all means is we aren’t getting outside.  Losing my time on the track has been hard on me.  Thank God I have my electronics.  But the focus for others is playing cards, dominoes and chess.  They’ll tie a blanket around the metal table we eat at and play their games.  No, I don’t join in.  But a group of black inmates were playing dominoes at meal time but didn’t wrap up when meal time started.  We all have places and groups we sit by in the dayroom.  A group of white inmates who usually sit at the table, just stood there with their trays not saying a word.  They refused to move.  A couple of the inmates from each side ended up going nose to nose talking crap to each other.  The guards didn’t notice.  But finally the white inmates sat, elsewhere, grumbling all the way and the black inmates laughing at them in a disrespectful tone.  I’m glad I wasn’t involved. But truthfully I’d never be married to an inanimate object (thank you Rebecca Kleefisch!) or think I have to sit with the same group.  I know I need to socialize more.  Afterwards I went to the multi-purpose building to practice on the keyboard for Sunday.  The singer had lyrics to gospel music I’d never heard but not chords or notes.  We struggled for an hour, all the while I regretted ever getting involved in this.  Afterwards, I decided to use the law library computer to see if it would address what Waukesha County was trying to do. Sure enough in Wisconsin statute 302.38, it appears the County is responsible for medical costs if I’m in custody for a crime and can’t pay which was the case and it seems to be confirmed by the court case Meriter hospital vs. Dane County.  They would have to release me to not be responsible.  When I got back I advised my POA on the phone and wrote on information request to Ms Greer letting her know these specifics in case it might help. Despite the tension in my unit I felt good.  I’d accomplished something for a change, I actually had done well, and that’s not a feeling I’m too familiar with much anymore.  Add that to positive contacts with staff for a change and it really was a good day.