Posts Tagged ‘Brodie’


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  After I left you last time, we were assembled in the dayroom and the whole place suddenly erupted in catcalls, hooting and hollering.  The reason became evident pretty quick. It seems Kim Murphy from Fox6 News in Milwaukee was on the screen and she had chosen to wear a bright yellow sweater that emphasized…. well let’s just say nobody was looking at her face.  I suspect there has never before or will be again a more informed inmate population that FMCI on current events though I must admit I doubt we remember a thing that she said.  But it’s situations like this that unify men, whether black or white, Christian or Muslim, Republican or Democrat, incarcerated or free.  If we only could bottle what boobs do to us, there would never be another war!  Maybe it was something in the air as a result of all this, I’m not sure.  But the guy I told you about yesterday reported he got called into Ms. Greer’s office where Lt. Brodie met with him.  He said Brodie apologized for blowing up at him and didn’t want to see him file a complaint.  What!?  Brodie apologized to an inmate?  Pigs are flying, hell has frozen over and the Pope became Protestant.  I suppose it’s possible it’s true.  People, including Brodie, are complex.  It’s not like TV, where characters are easily pigeon holed into a specific type and that’s all they are.  It can get frustrating when people color outside the lines we’ve drawn for them especially when they use colors we weren’t expecting.  But based on what we know of him I just don’t believe it yet.  I will be open to the possibility Brodie is still capable of treating inmates as human beings as I’ll bet he did once prior to the burnout that can afflict those dealing with people like us inmates over many years.  After supper, I made my way back to my bunk and turned on the radio while I watched the news with closed captioning on.  For the record, I usually watch Milwaukee based WTMJ out of habit and because Brian Gotter is the funniest meteorologist I’ve ever known.  Coincidentally, Kim Murphy used to work there!  But as I rotated radio stations, I found on that, in mid-November, that had apparently picked this week to begin playing an all Christmas Music format.  Back when I was in the real world, I would’ve railed against this horrible exploitation of us consumers, and there would have been some truth in what I was saying.  But I’m thankful for it here.  It reminds me of the kids, of a less dreary place and making plans that I know would make others happy.  But holiday music isn’t the preferred choice around here and I’d get a lot of strange looks not to mention assumptions made of what a fruitcake I must be.  So as something played from the Mariah Carey Christmas CD (Yes, I admit to liking it.  You know you do too!) I reached down to the headphone jack and made sure the plug-in for my headphones was firmly connected and no one was staring in my direction.


I’m at the Fox Lake Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS). The day got off to my typically abnormal start. At 1:30 am I got up after more sever than normal nightmares. In the real world, in this situation, I’d have gotten out of my bed, gone to the basement, and found my stash of booze, usually Jack Daniels, and drink in the dark until I calmed down.  Then I returned to bed no one the wiser.  The problem with that is you can’t do that during the day, at least not for any length of time without people being suspicious.  So I covered with lies explaining my absences and tried to avoid situations where lots of people would be around and I couldn’t get away or where situations that would cause a lot of anxiety, such as those at the end with my family.  There’s no Jack Daniels at FMCI so I got up this morning, being careful to shuffle my feet, and did my laundry.  It turns out laundry can be quite therapeutic.  If I’m blessed with another wife someday, I imagine shell like that stress reduction technique!  I finally finished at around 3:30 am.  I didn’t interrupt anything this time thank God, at least that I noticed.  Unfortunately I didn’t get back to sleep as my bunkmate (cellie) has the flu and can’t stop coughing.  I’m not sure if I would have gone back to sleep.  I wish there was an easy fix.  At 4:50 am I got up for breakfast then returned to my bunk, finally going to sleep.  Once again, the morning routine was disrupted with an emergency count after the regular count was done.  Later they chose today to either inspect or perform maintenance on the smoke detectors.  Every once in awhile a high pitched sound representing the fire alarm was heard echoing through the building.  A tall, skinny maintenance guy kept fiddling with the fuse boxes.  I observed Lt. Brodie and a guy who lives a couple bunks down from me.  At the first shakedown, he had had a mug full of apple juice taken and was accused of trying to make hooch. They gave him multiple breathalyzer tests but it always came back to zero so they let him go.  Brodie challenged him that it wasn’t hooch and he argued with him.  As we’ve seen before, Brodie doesn’t like it when inmates argue with him.  He told him to go to his bunk.  I caught up with him at lunch and he shared the complications.  He’s convinced Brodie has it in for him and had managed to sabotage his recent parole hearing.  His situation is further complicated by the additional minor ticket he got during the shakedown for having pornographic images of his girl up on his bunk wall that somehow got through the mail censors.  Inmates often share such images with each other, as kind of a bragging contest.  He kind of acted like its something we all do.  I wanted to say, no, I don’t get any of those pictures, but if I did, no one else would be looking at my lady!  Of course, the judge for his hearing on that ticket is Lt. Brodie, and he was concerned Brodie wouldn’t be fair.  He wanted to talk to someone right away about this.  I told him to calm down. You’ve got to keep your eye on the main goal which is to get out.  If you continue on your present course, your going to harm your chances.  There is no immediate way for you to fix this with Brodie, so you’ve got to sit down and be quiet.  Not what he wanted to hear!  He told me he’s not going to kiss anyone’s butt.  I get where he’s at.  You feel you’re in the right and want someone to listen.  But it doesn’t matter here if you are right.  Will it be any satisfaction that you are right when you are in the hole?  I’ve learned not to challenge Brodie.  You will lose.  It’s just the way it is.  It’s how the system is set up.


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). The following day after the institution wide shakedown I got to the showers right after count cleared around 7:50 am.  It was good that I did because shortly thereafter all the hot water was turned off on the unit with some saying the hot water heater had failed. This certainly didn’t help the mood on our unit which was already sour due to yesterday’s events.  Then to top it of, we ran out of liquid soap though later in the day we got a new supply.  The repercussions of the shakedown continued. An unconfirmed number of 9 people were sent to the hole with more expected the following day.  In addition new regulations were put in place regarding kitchen food.  Seconds were banned.  Only one piece of fruit allowed in your bunk (not including canteen).  A note was posted on the whiteboard saying if you had any property confiscated you were going to get a ticket for unauthorized transfer of property or similar offense and that the days to come Lt. Brodie and Capt. Bramer would hold hearings on the tickets. This is going to be literally dozens of tickets. Some inmates began making noises that it was an illegal shakedown because according to the rules an inmate must be present when their area was tossed even during an emergency and they were going to fill out complaints about this.  They will lose.  You can’t fight city hall you know?  But all of these new restrictions on food and such came about because so many had abused the situation.  This had been a long time coming.  People working in the kitchen were okay with it though as there was more food for them.  But truthfully these were the kind of rules we had at Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), a medium security institution.  One upside – perhaps they won’t have so many flies during the summer.  I won’t be here to see that though.  Tomorrow I get off bunk restriction.  We are having a stretch of 60 degree November days so I’ll hit the track hard.  We finished off the night with canteen distribution a day late due to yesterday’s fun.  Another inmate made “cake” with some of his canteen and gave me some.  It simply was some of the finest food I’ve had in the last 18 months.  Oh and a side note.  Percy actually spoke to me like a human being with no sarcasm and a genuine smile.  Will wonders never cease?  I settled in for the night comfortable in my Tuesday night routine on my top bunk.  I watched TV shoes NCIS and Parenthood while eating a microwave bag of plain popcorn.  I then flossed and brushed.  Then I laid down and did the same thing I do every night.  I fantasize of life in the real world, of a family of my own, interacting with friends, playing in a Christian band and having my happy ending to all this.  That fantasy can become reality but we’ve got a lot more work to do to get there.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  As I’d noted earlier, I’m in the middle of a 5 day bunk confinement.  In preparation, another inmate needed laundry soap so I gave him what I had left in exchange for doing my laundry since I couldn’t get off my bunk to monitor it.  Bunk confinement stinks but its not that bad.  It’s harder on my bunkmate(Cellie) than me as he is used to me being gone at least some of the time.  It was Monday and I woke up about 5 am.  I gave my laundry bag to this inmate, then ate breakfast and returned to my bunk.  A couple of hours later Lt. Brodie announced we must all remain on our bunks until further notice as we were having an “area shakedown”.  If we wanted to use the restroom we would need to be strip searched.  Meanwhile, people started pulling out food from the cafeteria they’d stored and started moving it down and what they couldn’t finish they handed out to others and what they couldn’t get rid of there they tossed in the little waste basket by their bunks.  Unauthorized property wasn’t as simple of a problem.  I had two problems here.  Another inmate has both my state clothing and the clothing I bought from the catalogs to do the laundry and because we can’t leave our bunks I can’t get it back.  That means that clothing could get tossed in the shakedown as it won’t be on his property list.  Also, as you might recall, I had a lamp on my bunk I didn’t buy.  I watched others trying to get rid of property.  Some threw it on bunks of guys who were at work, others tossed items in the aisle hoping the guards wouldn’t see it.  Of course, being the anxiety junkie I am, was all freaked about the lamp for awhile.  But the guys most worried were those in possession of alcohol and/or tobacco, one of which was Charlie.  He kept going up and down the aisle trying to find a way to unload it.  Guards came by twice over the next 4 hours to let us use the restroom and get water.  Each time they took us two at a time into the shower area doing the whole strip search procedure they’ve done since Day One.  It seems while we were waiting another unit was having their turn at getting shook down.  Lunch time came and they gave us paper plates with hamburgers and returned us to our bunks.  Finally a little after noon we were told to line up for the bathroom but this time we were each sent to an individual stall.  But not a normal strip search by a blue shirt this time.  They wore red shirts.  They were guard trainees that had been bussed in just for this occasion.  Once we’d been searched and gotten dressed, we walked up to the Multi-purpose Building, the same place as Chapel and orientation.  All the way there, there were at least 20 guards lined up along the road, half on each side, there to verify we didn’t drop or pass anything.  Out in the yard were guards with metal detectors, presumably looking for weapons.  There were guards checking the roof looking for discarded contraband.  This kind of a shakedown happens once a year I’m told.  I sat in that building till about 4 pm.  No books, no electronics and hundreds of people from which there was no where I could go to get away making ear splitting levels of noise.  Just the very definition of hell itself for the anxiety junkie, at least this one.  Finally, Captain Kramer called for 3 inmates to come to the office – Charlie was one of them.  We then were all sent back.  It looked like a hurricane had hit our unit.  Mattresses were everywhere, papers, documents, and photographs on the floor.  We spent hours that night straightening up.  Somehow my clothes and lamp weren’t taken.  There were inmates with items that had been broken or shouldn’t have been taken.  They were told to fill out complaints.  Guess how that will turn out?  But Charlie never returned.  Percy packed his stuff in boxes.  I had watched him go in the office.  I think he knew what was coming.  I felt bad for him on a certain level.  But tonight, I felt a collective sigh of relief from the whole unit, myself included.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  I woke up expecting Lt. Brodie to call me at any point to hear the ticket that Percy gave me.  The day started off with Ms. Greer reporting the follow up she did with Waukesha County on them trying to charge me for medical treatment provided while I was in their custody.  It seems it is their “policy” not to pay for medical treatment while in custody.  Of course, if they had told me that at the time, I would’ve refused any treatment until I got to prison.  I know I would have.  I know me.  Why they told me they’d pay for it when they really wouldn’t is a mystery to me.  But Ms. Greer suggested I get a lawyer and returned to me all documentation I had provided to her.  It was her way of ending any involvement on this.  She also knows I have no way of getting a lawyer and fighting this while I’m here.  Still, Ms. Greer made a phone call on my behalf.  It’s not much but it’s more than I’d seen anyone do on my behalf while in the WPS.  So I’ll giver her props for that.  Still, it isn’t good news.  I have no idea what to do on this now.  I think I have little I can do while I’m here.  A little later, I finally received a coat. It’s ironic because I’m probably going to be put on bunk restriction and not able to walk the track anyway.  What’s more is I don’t really feel like it anyway.  Adding that to the lack of sleep and the skipping of meals I’ve been doing and I’m pretty sure I’m in a bad place.  Funny thing is if I hadn’t been writing I wouldn’t have connected the pieces.  I just don’t know what to do about it.  If I say anything, if they put me on meds, or they say I’m not suitable, I’ll lose my ERP program start date (Dec 13th).  Anyway, Brodie didn’t show up all day.  They were to hand out canteen in the evening.  I didn’t think anything of it.  But shortly after canteen got handed out, my cellie told me it was coming around.  I asked what he meant.  He then explained Charlie was surrounded by several guys at his bunk and they were all yelling and getting at him in a real aggressive manner.  Listening in, it seems Charlie had borrowed so much canteen from so many people to pay for his cigarette habit that he couldn’t possibly pay everyone back.  His size couldn’t save him and he couldn’t hide.  His victims pursued him into the dayroom, getting in his face and he kept alternating between threatening and pleading with his accusers.  As a rule, I have a good heart and don’t want to see anyone hurt.  I don’t want to see Charlie hurt.  But it was justice inmate style for once I was ok with it.  I wonder if his behavior will change. 


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  It should have been a good day.  The Green Bay Packers beat the New York Jets and it’s always a good day regardless when the Minnesota Vikings lose of course.  I however was going on little sleep after the previous evening and wasn’t in a great place in my head as it was.  The day started with conversations with a couple members of the now defunct praise choir questioning the motives and talent of the guy left to sing.  Hey, the guy could have been the best praise leader on earth and it wouldn’t have mattered to me.  All it did was remind me I didn’t know the music, the chords, had never played with the guitar player and this feud between all of them still grated on me.  Oh, and the service was only hours away.  At count time after lunch, I’m in the aisle expressing my frustrations to a chapel service when Percy came up and asked me where my bunk was.  I showed him to my right grabbing the bar.  He had this look on his face that said smug satisfaction.  Those around me thought he might give me a warning for not being by my bunk since I’d never gotten a ticket or warning for anything since my arrival  in WPS.  A warning would tarnish my record but not permanently.  The fact it came from Percy annoyed me but what are you going to do?  Around 4 I went for practice and setup for chapel.  Of course, the leader wants to have special sound settings for each song and brings out another keyboard than the one I’d used on Friday.  I am having to do everything I can to keep from walking out at this point.  The actual practice showed, well, we need more practice, myself included, but all of us together especially.  We didn’t know how to start or end the songs and the guitar and I weren’t playing together.  So chapel, music wise, was a disaster.  The head volunteer suggested we play hymns, if that gives you an idea.  The message was about Daniel 9:20-27, and how the preacher felt the end of the world would occur.  I enjoyed studying such things years ago but that knowledge was only useful then to win a Bible Trivia game.  The stakes are much higher now. 

Afterwards, the politics began all over again with lots of opinions.  I was just glad to get out of there.  I escaped to my bunk.  I put the closed captioning on the football game, put my headphones in the radio while listening to eighties music, trying to keep my mind occupied by these distractions from my current world.  About 2 hours later I was paged to go to the guard desk.  There was Percy, paper in hand.  He informed me I was being written up and was going to get 3 days bunk confinement for not being by my bunk at count. I replied that he had to be kidding, no warning or anything?  He replied sarcastically, that oh sure he was.  His demeanor indicated he was really enjoying this.  Then he told me my bunk restriction would begin immediately unless I appealed to Lt. Brodie.  Great, I thought.  Hardly someone in my corner.  I wasn’t as composed as I had been with Brodie as I said I would appeal.  I returned to my bunk.  Guys around me let me know I’d also lose my electronics, which had been keeping me sane and since I appealed, my punishment would probably double.  I tried to sleep again but gave up at 1 am and got up and did laundry.  It just feels like I’ve been on a bit of a losing streak lately, like everything I touch is turning to stone.  I tried to talk myself down, that at least for now I haven’t lost my ERP program at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) yet.  I’m not in the hole, and I shouldn’t be surprised, its Percy we’re talking about.  He acted as expected.  I should have been more careful.  I wish I could tell you I was good after that but that would be a lie.  But let’s see what happens.  Maybe Brodie will surprise me.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  While laying on my bunk, a guard accompanied by Lt. Brodie woke me up. I’m sure they figure me for a freak for the startled reaction.  You know better.  They were conducting an inspection and told me that I wasn’t allowed to have my box on my bed and that it had to be broken down.  I of course complied.  Every facility has a handbook describing rules and regulations that govern it and I went to consult it to see if this was in fact a rule violation.  Section 11.2 covered what you could have on your bunk and a box wasn’t forbidden.  But even though the 303 code prohibits arbitrary rule creation by guards or white shirts (supervisors) in practice it happens all the time.  If the inmate refuses to cooperate, the guard or white shirt will discipline them for failure to follow an order, thus the inmate has no immediate vehicle with which to address their grievance or perceived injustice.  The inmates’ only recourse is to comply and then to fill out an inmate complaint form and in several weeks some bureaucrat from the Department of Corrections (DOC) in Madison, who doesn’t have the benefit of context and whose supposed impartiality isn’t fooling anyone, makes a ruling.  The effect of a relationship where one side has all the power is to embitter the other party and this is no different.  Inmates can easily get in deep trouble over what started out as a minor problem because they perceive disrespect from the officer involved.   In my case, I began the first step of the complaint process which was to send an information request to Lt. Brodie to allow him an opportunity to address my grievance without the complaint process.  He has never answered my information requests in the past or from others I’ve talked to.  He was still there so I handed it to him personally and after reviewing it he replied that I’d better comply (getting rid of the box) and if I don’t like it, to fill out an inmate complaint form.  His attitude towards me was how one might react to a tiny dog, powerless as the animal is as he nips at your heels while being ridiculed, ignored and who only inspires annoyance.  I told him I planned on doing so but I needed a written response to my information request to demonstrate I’d completed the first step.  He replied he had just responded.  I emphasized the word “written”.  Brodie waved me off.  I don’t think I’ll ever get a written response.  The thing is, if Brodie demonstrates basic people handling skills, this problem would most likely go away.  But as I’ve noted previously, he doesn’t see us as human.  In all honesty, I’ve probably got a month to go here before going to ERP, have got the choir, conflict going on involving Brodie and I am the type to avoid problems unless absolutely necessary.  The last thing I want is to get in a tussle over a minor issue.  But I’m sure Lt. Brodie counts on this, that inmates won’t follow through. I haven’t decided what to do.  I am happy though with how I conducted myself in this, doing what I’m suppose to do and dealing with Brodie in a manner that is adult, even if he didn’t return the courtesy.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS). I was asked on Sunday to play keyboard for the choir for the Protestant church service.  After the incident with Charlie, I was glad to turn my attention elsewhere.  I had heard previously there had been quite a bit of drama associated with this particular group but I figured really, how bad could it be?  The guy leaving the group had only been in charge a week and told me to meet the other singers by the basketball court for practice.  Service was 3 hours away but no one knew the song arrangements.  Most of the time was spent on a litany of complaints and backstabbing those not there.  Many made a point of telling me their issues, perhaps because I was new and they wanted me to sway to their way of thinking.  The refrain was basically that we were under attack from the enemy (Satan), thus the problems we were having.  I was told because of guard complaints about the noise, they had taken away the drums and electric guitars.  They claimed the institution didn’t allow sufficient practice time.  Finally as further evidence of the “enemy’s” infiltration, solos had been stepped on and choir members were angered.  I just rolled my eyes.  My focus was solely to get the music down so I didn’t embarrass myself.  The leader tried to get these complicated arrangements put in place with the other vocals.  There just isn’t time.  Finally, we practiced for a half hour at the multi-purpose building and then did the service.  Simply put, it was awful.  Most of the time when you stink as a band in a church environment, people tell you it was good anyway.  Not this time.  Many in attendance let me know how awful it sounded.  My attitude was basically I get to play in a church band again so I want to take advantage.   The following day I was told by the leader that Captain Kramer and Lt. Brodie wanted to see the choir.  Kramer, an attractive middle-aged woman, is Brodie’s boss.  I know if she was there, this wasn’t good.  After we all got there, Kramer got right to the point.  Apparently, inmates in the choir from Unit 10 had been in Unit 9 areas to practice vocals which is a major offense.  Then she told us that due to this and the repeated problems incurred with this choir, that have caused her and Brodie to have to spend time on these issues every week, the choir was to be disbanded.  The only exceptions were the leader, guitar and keyboard player, being sure to point out to the leader that the chaplain had specifically asked for him.  In some ways, if intentional, it was a clever move on their part.  Appeal to the leader’s ego, cause division within the group and confuse who they should be mad at.  The problem with this is in this environment by Kramer singling out who was wanted, those people will feel pressure to not cooperate or be viewed as friendly to staff which you really don’t want here.  So now the band leader was talking like none of use would stay, that they wouldn’t tell us how to run the choir.  While he was off talking to each now former choir member, others started filling me in.  While it was true they weren’t given adequate practice time (a half hour isn’t adequate to get all this ready), the guitar players and drummers had been repeatedly about the volume level and volunteers and staff complained.  Choir members themselves had been going to the chaplain and Brodie complaining about each other.  At the end of the day, it was just easier to shut it all down.  It wasn’t Satan that was responsible for the group’s demise, it was largely the choir’s own fault.  What’s going to happen now I don’t know.  But sometimes I rather like being the quiet one!