Posts Tagged ‘control’


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  We are only one day away from the graduation of our ERP group.  Our ERP social worker Ms. Grey called us into the rec room that doubles as our group room and asks us if we have any last minute concerns or questions.  She did confirm that records would be sending our paperwork to our judges, who will modify our sentences to allow immediate release since we have completed the ERP program.  She dropped off a sample program for our graduation project.  It really was pretty awful.  But what are you going to do?  Then the title letters for the project that ERP group member Russ Johnson did on the computer weren’t a dark enough yellow that could be read on the black background.  So ERP group member John Lloyd was left to trace letters by hand.  He wasn’t happy.  To be honest, the whole thing looks pretty awful.  But it is what it is and it really doesn’t matter.  Of a more immediate concern was the relationship between cellies Malcolm Johnson and Larry Sands.  Malcolm’s immediate concern was how Sands would use his feet to change the channel (he is on the top bunk, Malcolm is on the bottom) and how if Sands would leave his hands a certain way it would interfere with his TV reception.  Sands interpreted it as Malcolm trying to control him.  Malcolm made the mistake of trashing him to other inmates who were friendly to Sands.  One called Sands over and asked him about what Malcolm said and of course Sands got on his case again.  It just makes the cell tension filled.  But I’m rolling my eyes.  My thoughts are on the world outside of here, of what I need to do and the missing pieces of that puzzle.  I’m excited yet unsure.  At mail call I got another mailing from the court regarding my daughter, Lexi.  She is officially being charged with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct.  It was pretty clear her mother, Barb is up to her old tricks.  Just as she did with me many years ago, she pushes and pushes until the other person breaks.  Then she calls the police.  I’ve got to get myself squared away so I can at least be a place she can go to blow off steam.  I can keep the cycle we have seen happening with my families from happening again.  I’ve got to at least try.  We had our community meeting at 3 as we usually do.  Nothing really went on there either. But I’m ready to graduate.  Let’s do this.  

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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).  It’s February 1st and we’re suppose to begin the worst snow storm in a decade this afternoon.  As noted when I first got here, we can’t see or hear what’s going on outside.  I have mixed emotions about that.  In years past, I’d have been stocking up on comfort foods like pizza and chips and prepared to enjoy a lot of coffee while having fun with the kids.  There would be lots of shoveling too but even that was ok as you knew hot coffee and blankets awaited you when finished.  I’d have reruns of “House” and “Law and Order: SVU” taped which the wife and I would watch.  There’s no wife or kids, certainly no driveways or sidewalks to shovel and little chance of getting real cold in the climate controlled recycled air of MSDF.  But there’s little sense in thinking like this.  There’s another kind of storm brewing, one which could potentially change the WPS landscape.  A graduate of ERP named Emmit Bankhead robbed several banks in succession and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn again called for an end to the “early release program”. As I’ve told you all before, people often make this mistake when referring to this program.  But Flynn made the assertion that “we all know it doesn’t work” and called for people to serve their full sentences.  This combined with Gov. Scott Walker’s choice to head the Department of Corrections (DOC), former Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin, who is on record for opposing programs such as ERP, and you have to wonder if we’re seeing the beginning of the end for ERP.  Please don’t think me selfish for being very happy I’m enrolled now.  Most inmates in my group when discussing it feel it won’t be here next year.  I’ve even heard some staff wonder the same thing.  You’ve got to feel for some of the folks as their jobs might be threatened under Gov. Walker.  He’s definitely on a mission you got to give him that.  Well, today we had strict guards on 3rd and 1st shift.  The third shift guards turned off the water on the sinks which inmates ran to drown out the sounds of the well, bathroom use and then turned off the power twice at around 5 am so everyone’s clock reset to flashing twelve’s.  Of course everyone had to guess if they could come to the dayroom.  The official reason was a generator test but the way the guards carried themselves told the story that they were mean spirited people.  The guard on first shift again not a regular, was strictly enforcing the dress code, specifically our white t-shirts had to be tucked in and that we always had to ask to use the bathroom.  Several got warnings put on their card.  Our ERP group got started with Scott Dietz turn to read his autobiography.  He’s a businessman, a guy who starts or improves existing companies.  When he got bored, he got drunk.  His story of a debilitating accident didn’t pass the smell test. He got an OWI reduced to reckless driving but claims no alcohol was involved and that he had fallen asleep.  No one challenged him on it.  I’m still trying to figure out when its acceptable to do that or if I should at all.  But that’s todays report.  I hope you get shoveled out ok if you live in the area.


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 this past Friday, it was a State of Wisconsin employee furlough day so there were no ERP groups for anyone but we were required to work on something program related, whether it be in our cells or out in the dayroom.  Somebody has to work these shifts guard wise and the guard we got was a strict by the book type attractive female but trust me after the comments she made at count nobody was concerned with her looks.  Cellie Brian Whalen left the cell after count was cleared on the guards radios (yes we can here it) but before she announced it, so she gave him a warning on his card.  Putting a warning on an inmates card is a measure short of giving an inmate a conduct report that an inmate can’t dispute but allows the guard to communicate to others you did something without the paperwork and a hearing.  Whalen says it was his first one and was a little worried.  It was pretty clear some inmates weren’t taking her seriously.  One got an actual conduct report after she caught him sleeping in his cell for the third time.  You can’t really blame her for that one.  As far as I’m concerned, when in my cell I like to alternate between sitting with my back against the wall on my top bunk right by my locker where I have to move my paper and books organized on top of the locker for easy access and I can see out the cell window and see who’s coming up the steps.  The way I sit on my bunk became cellie Andre Charles latest issue.  He complained that he didn’t like that I could see him when I looked up from what I was doing.  Of course, this means he was watching me in order to notice this.  I guess it’s a grown up, unbalanced version of the game “Stop Watching Me” children play. I assured him and over again that no matter what he thought watching him was the last thing I felt like doing.  But my assurance wasn’t enough.  He wanted me to sit with my back against the locker and not look to my left where I would see him on the bottom bunk across from me.  He did something similar with former cellie Malik Pearl when he complained about Malik not using the chair to get off the top bunk above him and how it would wake him.  Andre was trying to control me of course, or rather his latest attempt.  Usually I’d throw on my headphones and just tune him out but since this was program time I didn’t have that option.  So he went on and on about how I should do this for him.  I kept saying no.  We’re in close quarters.  I see him watching me but I don’t say anything.  Its part of the price you pay for being in prison.  Finally I offer when he lays down I’ll go to the other end of the bunk.  He has towels hanging from the now empty top bunk to prevent others from seeing him but he arranges the towels so he can see through the cracks if people were watching him.  He accepted that but that still wasn’t enough for him.  I had to sit the way he wanted.  My levels of frustration and anger are visibly growing in an exponential fashion.  He kept riding me on this despite my  insistence that the conversation was over and I would not give in anymore.  Finally I exploded.  “Fine, you f….g spoiled brat, you can have your f…..g way.  Now shut your f…..g mouth”.  I was shaking as I said it.  Of course he wouldn’t let it go now.  Why was I so upset he asked?  Clearly, he was enjoying how worked up he got me.  He threatened to go tell the guard he was afraid of me “because I was shaking”.  Finally it came to an end.  The next day, Saturday, the game continued.  I sat on the other side of the bunk.  He pulled his towels back though so he could see me.  As I figured I would, I tired of playing this game and returned to the way I normally do things.  Andre said something but this time my headphones and TV drowned him out.  But really, I failed in this test.  I allowed him to control me.  I should have just ignored him and not caved in at all.  There is no compromise with him , its his way or no way.  I’ll do better in the future.  Sorry if I disappointed any of you out there.  Just know I disappointed myself even more.  I’m better than this.