Posts Tagged ‘Legislature’


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 been an interesting last couple of days. It’s February 17th and there are thousands of people in Madison protesting the state worker unions losing the ability to negotiate on behalf of their works on most issues.  Why am I mentioning that here?  Obviously, the people that work here are concerned as it directly impacts them.  Rumors are getting fed around here by conversations overheard, that in the event of this law passes there will be a strike called by their union and that Gov. Walker has lined up the National Guard to come in and replace them.  Of course, then the question follows, what becomes of us in the ERP programs at various stages of completion if that should occur?  Opinions vary from accelerated graduations (unlikely in my opinion), that the time would still count, the graduation date won’t change, or that despite our contracts, we signed when we got ERP from PRC we’d have to start the program over again and be stuck here until it does.  Let’s face it, nobody knows and it isn’t logical to get worked up about such things we can’t control but of course, that doesn’t stop it from happening.  The guys slated to graduate the first week of March (including Andre Charles) are really on edge, but you can’t blame them for that.  Now the Democrats in the Legislature have fled the state, its left the whole thing in limbo with no end in sight.  That’s the worst kind of limbo don’t you think?  But life goes on in spite of the uncertainty for us just as it would for you.  Today’s group focused on Victim impact of crimes.  Ms. Grey, our ERP Coordinator, admitted the presentation was more suited for property or violent crimes than an OWI offender group but still I’d argue the basic concept is the same. My alcoholism has had significant impact on these to write a letter to someone who has been impacted by our drinking asking them to write a letter detailing how we have hurt them by our use of alcohol.  My letter will be going to my ex-wife JoAnn. After it’s written, it gets sent back to Ms. Grey where I’ll have to read it in front of the group.  She’ll be brutal and probably will be unfair at certain points but that’s ok.  Some group members were unhappy and were scheming how to get around doing this.  I don’t know why.  It’s not like we’ll be hanging out together when we get out.  I guess I can be smug.  I laid everything out there with my autobiography.  But it’s the end of Week 11 of ERP with 15 to go. 


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  Yesterday morning started off with our ERP group leader, Ms. Grey, handing out the schedule for week 10 which included a note today there would be no program work because of the state worker protests in Madison that employees in Milwaukee will be bussed to.  As you might recall, I wrote that having Gov. Walker a GOP Legislature was going to spell trouble for state workers.  As I noted on the last entry, employees at MSDF are unhappy too.  For Ms. Grey, she seemed to relish the idea of the sixties style protests taking place.  There’s not a lot of sympathy for the guards or other workers here as many perceive them to be paid a lot for very little.  One thing I’d tell you though, is in environments like this it has a special kind of stress for its workers.  Where there’s very little to separate the productive from the non-productive, a brutal type of politics is practiced by one against another, especially by those who week to get noticed or get ahead.  Such a place causes more stress and anxiety than one with objective performance measurements.  Ms. Grey opened the ERP session with the breathing and song we do everyday and then handed out copied worksheets from the Beyond Anger series copyrighted to Earnie Larsen.  The video was ok but the workbook was outstanding especially for me.  It covers the six faces of anger, the cost of repressed and misdirected anger, understanding anger, patterns of behavior, basic rights, learning behaviors, resisting change, healing repressed anger, six step process of healing, intercepting your anger pattern, intercept tools, ongoing health, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, confronting regrets, principles of reconciliation and realistic expectations.  If you’d like details, feel free to email my sponsors and it’ll get to me.  I was very happy I’d already done my autobiography because now that the ERP group knew everything I was able to openly discuss and answer the questions in a brutally honest fashion.  In our first day we got up through “Resisting Change”. We’re going through it fast and I feel like we could benefit by spending more time on this but keep in mind not everybody has my issues though.  I wish I could summarize it all for you here but it just wouldn’t do it justice.  If you have any kind of anger issue you should get this.  As part of the autobiography I’ve been assigned 2 assignments from the MSDF library, which sad to say, is pretty lacking.  The first was a 5 page essay based on chapter 5, 7, 13-14 of Houses of Healing by Robin Casarjian which I’d already read and as I’ve noted before is a great book.  My second 5 page essay is on Anger is a Choice by Tim Lattaye and Bob Phillips.  I’m familiar with Lattay from his Left Behind book series but this is quit different.  I’m shocked they gave out something so Christian oriented but I’m fine with that as I am Christian.  So I’ve got some work to do, things that will actually benefit me and that makes me happy. 


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  It was another tough night but the good news is I got up at 5 am, ate breakfast (I haven’t been eating much), and then went back to sleep.  It was the best sleep I’d had in some time.  After I got up, word had apparently gotten around that Percy had written me up.  Many were there to point out to me how foolish I was not to have accepted the summary punishment Percy had proposed (3 days bunk confinement), others who bunk in the area urged me to fight it as they saw I was next to my bunk when Percy saw me.  I’m not accustomed to all the attention from these folks so it was a little unnerving but I was ok.  I think for many it was weird to see me in any kind of trouble as I have a reputation here as a bit of a straight arrow.  Later on that morning, I was called to the guard desk and I was given the paperwork that Percy had prepared for the ticket.  It was for “being in an Unassigned Area” (303.511) and “Violation of Institution Policies” (303.63).  It was categorized as a “Minor offense” (303.75).  I’m guessing that means it won’t affect my ERP program start date at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF).  The paperwork included a description of the offense and that a hearing was needed.  When I walked away from the desk, I thanked the guard that gave me the paperwork.  That was a mistake as far as the other inmates who had been watching were concerned.  One asked me why I would thank the guard for giving me a ticket.  Yes, this didn’t help my “cred” as an inmate.  But it wasn’t the guards fault and part of my personality is I try to be polite.  I explained the first part to the inmates who were watching.  They laughed and mocked a little.  It was meant in fun but even if it hadn’t, the vast majority of who I’ve been locked up with, I could really care less what their opinion is of me.  As the day progressed, seeing as it was election day I anticipated attention would focus on the news.  Nobody really was interested however, which kind of surprised me.  In fact, people were annoyed that the election results were running along the bottom of the screen and coverage preempted some of their programming.  My favorite program “Parenthood” got bounced, but it goes with the territory.  Perhaps you were annoyed too.  After Scott Walker was projected as a winner, some guards and inmates made noise about how dire the situation will be for state employees and inmates.  I, however, was more concerned with the Assembly and Senate elections.  They both went Republican which means whatever bills Walker or the Legislature want they’ll get.  There will be no check on extremism, which should scare everyone.  It’s going to get interesting if nothing else and I’ll bet by the time 2012 gets here, everyone will be paying attention.