Posts Tagged ‘class clown’


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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I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP). In the course of doing laundry and trying to get a break from cellie Andre Charles, I spent some time in the dayroom talking to a few guys on my unit.  First, I got to talk to a guy who is in a similar position to me in that he doesn’t have anywhere to go when he gets out after being paroled to Waukesha County.  He’s written to everyone you can think of inquiring about his situation, neatly organizing the info in a picture album you can order off canteen.  But he’s reached the same impasse as I have.  There appears to be nowhere to go except the shelter in Waukesha, WI, the Salvation Army.  His stepfather won’t allow him at their home.  But he’s come up with another plan.  He’ll get a cheap car and sleep in that since the weather will be warm when he’s released in May.  I argued it isn’t safe and the parole officer (PO) likely wouldn’t approve such a thing.  His argument back was that the PO could provide different accommodations if they didn’t like it.  I suspect the PO won’t take to such tactics.  But the desperation we both feel is pretty evident.  I even found myself thinking about this possibly that really isn’t.  Later I caught up with a guy from my ERP group, Mark Hogan.  He’s really become the class clown of our group, coming up with things to say that are really off the wall.  But he sat down with me at the table.  He’s almost 70, but is as strong as an ox, out lifting  many in the exercise room.  He has a gray Rollie Fingers type moustache and likes his gin.  He claimed to have done 4 years for his 5th offense DUI which is quite harsh so I’m a little doubtful.  Perhaps I telegraph that I’m receptive to such things, but he opened about his own experience with Post Traumatic Delayed Stress Disorder, and his time in Vietnam.  I shared part of my biological father’s experience in return.  I’m’ due to read my autobiography to the ERP group on February 11th (over 2 weeks away) so they all will know this stuff soon.  I’m a little nervous as many indicate they were very general with some indicating they flat out lied.  I’m just really nervous some will use it against me in some fashion outside the ERP group.  It’s not suppose to happen but the reality is it probably will.  Today was the first day our ERP group began reading it’s autobiographies.  But first a newcomer joined our group, an attractive Asian American woman named Nikita Cho who was a student interning under Ms. Grey, our ERP Coordinator.  After the breathing exercises and the introductions we had the first autobiography read, Larry Sands.  Sands had made it clear he wasn’t going to write a lot or be specific back in the beginning and it was pretty obvious.  So much so Ms. Grey made him sit down and write it over and called on the next guy, John Lloyd.   Lloyd had done a good job having lived a pretty normal life.  Grief over his father’s death led Ms. Grey to assign him the book Life is Goodbye Life is Hello by Alla Bozarth.  John and I sit across from each other at mealtime and during program time and we get along well.  In the afternoon session, we went over the stages of change – 1. pre-awareness, 2. Contemplation, 3. Preparation, 4. Taking Action, 5. Avoiding relapse and maintenance.  It was probably Ms. Grey’s best day that I’ve seen so far.  I’m happy to say I’ve been in 3, 4 and 5 since last January.