Posts Tagged ‘Live’


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  Our ERP social worker Ms. Grey started off the day finishing up the workbook The Price of Freedom is Living Free. Relapse, Recidivism, and Recovery by Jack. D. Cooper and the video that goes along with it.  She pointed out the entry on the last page (52) entitled “The Beginning” really sums up the choices before us, to live free or to live in bondage.  I wish I had the space to share it but I sent my copy to the blog sponsors and they can link or post it per their choice. Here is the excerpt:

“The Beginning – Those of use who have made the choice to live free understand that the choices we make will always have a price tag.  We just need to be clear on what price we are going to pay:  the price for freedom or the price for bondage.  Both choices in living are available to us.  The pay-off for our old values in living are consistent and predictable…standing for count, random strip searches, the constant roar of inmates, correction officers, concrete and steel or waiting for that letter that won’t come.  What price are you going to pay?  In making your decision, you might ask yourself, “Am I prepared to spend another month, decade or lifetime locked up for a few hours of excitement here on the street?”  If your answer is yes, the system will gladly refund your misery. The choice rests with you.

Whether we are locked up or on the streets, we can choose to live free.  As “values” in living are rational, sound and sensible.  We recognize that we possess the ability to feel, appreciate and understand, as we learn to change the internal and external condition of our lives.  We can take care of ourselves while simply caring for others.  We can start living our own lives usefully, respecting other people’s rights to live as they choose.  We will understand that getting is not always better than giving, and that chasing objects and holding attitudes that set us apart from other people are not as important as seeking values that will bring us together.  Finally, we will see that we’ve been brought back into being…living with value and living free.”

For lunch we were having chicken salad, one of the better meals here.  For me as a swamper, what it meant is we would go through more bread than normal.  We’re usually provided 3 loafs of bread for the meal but inmates are accustomed to asking for and getting more than the 2 pieces allotted by the menu, which is okay, considering they cheat us on the quantity on most other things such as potatoes!  But toady I wasn’t going to be able to give more than 2 slices.  Inmates weren’t happy when I wouldn’t give more than 2 slices, but oh well. I treated them all the same, my cellies, guys at my table, everyone.  I told those who gave me a hard time they could come back for anything left over.  As I finished serving I heard a remark made by ERP group member Mark Hogan that since I’d become a swamper I was acting like a cop.  He was talking to someone else but clearly intended for me to hear it.  Like an idiot, I stopped at his table and asked him if he had something on his mind.  Fortunately he said no.  What would I have done if he hadn’t????  Of course, I didn’t let it go at that.  After the meal while I was cleaning up, I went to his cell and asked him what the problem was.  Hogan apologized and I reluctantly tapped his knuckles.  I don’t believe his apology but I’m betting he was smarter than me today knowing nothing good would come from this.  At our afternoon ERP session, Ms. Grey showed a movie I think we’ve seen before called Smoke Signals, a movie showing two Native Americans who attempt to overcome their own issues from their past each for their own perspective.It was obviously effective on some level for Augie Prescott as he was moved to tears.  I thought it was a good movie.  But I decided during the movie that this swamper experiment is going to have to end.  The reasons I took the job weren’t nearly as important to me as graduating.  ERP in 28 days on June 10th.  It had given me the material for my Phase 3 Goals and Objectives on improving socialization and patience so it wasn’t a total bust.  Only thing the guard who’d have to approve the change, Roscoe Peters, wasn’t working so I told the sergeant on duty I wasn’t feeling well.  I got the guy who had the job before me and who still wanted it to take over for me until Peters got back.  Many, including former cellie Malik Pearl who had tried to scheme him out of the job, weren’t happy he was coming back but I just don’t care.  I felt like a huge load was off my shoulders.  I got more good news.  In the mail, blog sponsors let me know my biological relatives had checked in and they were safe.  Also, cellie Brian Whalen who is being released Monday, that though he wishes to to maintain contact with the former swamper who wants to rob him, he is no longer willing to engage Whalen in any kind of business dealing since Whalen has a bit of a tendency to talk too much.  You think????  But Whalen doesn’t have any idea of the kind of bullet he has dodged.  Next week is the third PO call and our presentation of Phase 3 Goals and Objectives, while working on our legacy project.  Let’s keep it simple from here on out.

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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).  This past weekend noteworthy events surrounded soon to depart cellie Andre Charles.  Late Friday guard Ruth Bartowski, besides finding out she has been a captain and probation officer in the past, confided to our table Andre had come after her with several ICI (Inmate Complaints that go to Madison) forms alleging racism.  They didn’t take but it explains the bitterness between them.  That weekend we experienced why they don’t want us to heat water for coffee or refried beans off of canteen, which is the favorite food of Corey Ball, using water, paper clips, and a power cord.  Someone pulled the cord of out of the water without unplugging it making the breaker go out on our side.  We sat without power on our side for about 2 hours until Saturday Night Live started.  But of course cellie Andre Charles is on edge about leaving and guard Rosco Peters threw him a tidbit of information on when, when he yelled playfully at him during count as is their custom, that he had 2 days left to follow the rules.  On Monday I got up as normal, ate breakfast about 6:30 am and returned to my cell.  Peters called me down about 8 am and let me know I was leaving for my PET scan like last time to make sure the cancer hadn’t returned.  I reminded him I’d eaten (you’re supposed to go without food for 8 hours prior).  No one had told him he said.  When the guards came to get me I told him I’d eaten and asked if we should call to make sure it would be ok.  He wanted to go to Madison and if they said no so be it.  It became clear why as he was the driver and didn’t want to lose the overtime shift.  The ride there was uneventful but it was SO good to see the outside world!  Once there I got to the waiting room.  It was packed and noisy so much so that you couldn’t hear the movie on the wall.  The guys dominating the conversation were mostly lifers, trading war stories and discussing who their “bitches” are present and past.  Of course, I’m the only one in yellow in the sea of green uniforms so people stared.  Most didn’t know I was at MSDF but some did.  I got called to go for the scan at 11:30 am.  I didn’t have a coat to cover me on the wheelchair so the combination of cuffs, chains, and yellow uniform attracted lots of looks.  I can’t wait to come back to the University Hospital in civilian clothes some day.  Of course, never coming here again is an attractive alternative!  The man doing the scan commented that I should leave the cuffs on my feet joking I might try to escape.  I got back to the holding room, eating one of the infamous bag lunches.  We returned to MSDF, getting strip searched once at the hospital then once at MSDF.  I waited at least an hour in a holding cell.  The staff at intake on 2nd shift is just rude and unprofessional unlike their 1st shift counterparts.  I heard them mocking other inmates and were just rude in their tone to me.  I got back to my unit where Andre greeted me with the news he was getting released tomorrow.  I’m sure my test results will come back well and with this news I’m as happy as I can get here.   


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  Last evening started off with on of my cellmates, Brian Whalen and I in a disagreement.  Whalen has an issue with boundaries, both establishing them and violating those of others.  Andre Charles, another cellmate constantly plays with him, one moment huddling up to him acting like his friend, then the next using those words to ridicule and criticize him. Andre is always going into his locker to get things like the AIM Dental Floss picks they sell here (which by the way are useless.  Old fashioned dental floss is much more effective and easier to use).  He has weight issues, so Andre tells him what’s good to eat and motivates him to work out, both of which he usually gives good advice for but adds to the impression of a small dog desperately seeking his master’s approval.  While Andre picks on him I often tell them both they’re like husband and wife in the way they argue.  Both Malik Pearl and I just laugh when they get into it because often it is funny.  Andre tries this with me but I upset him as I won’t play.  I told him he’s a teenager (he’s actually 37) looking for attention when he farts (which is a lot), or starts yelling or acting out.  He didn’t like that at all.  Plus it annoys him I care nothing about his opinion.  On the plus side he’d make a heck of a salesman.  But Whalen has the habit being on the lower bunk and I on the upper of grabbing the edges of my bunk while I’m laying on it.  Sounds like nothing but when someone’s knuckles bump your butt you notice.  So I asked him to stop and when he didn’t I started hitting his knuckles when they appeared.  He replied that he didn’t think it was a big deal.  But the nice thing about men as opposed to women who disagree is we usually get over it quickly.  That night, guard Ruth Bartkowski was on duty again.  As I walked pas the desk, I heard her talking with an inmate about his heroin addiction.  The inmate was explaining how tough it was to get out from under and Ruth was engaging him, giving him advice, affirmation and encouragement.  I have not met a finer person I think in the prison system.  She doesn’t have to do what she’s doing.  The demons of cynicism and burnout haven’t gotten her yet unlike so many who work in these institutions.  I hope I get the courage to get to know this blue shirt.  The next morning was not my finest hour at all.  I get up about 5am and went for breakfast.  I found out later that extra cereal containers and raisin boxes are left on the serving table and inmates will grab them.  A guard named Sgt. Tackleberry loudly yelled at an old inmate who took a box of raisins and he returned them.  A while later, John Lloyd who came into MSDF with me and also starts ERP on Monday and sits to my left at mealtime got up and grabbed a plastic cereal container and returned to the table.  I asked if anyone cared if he did that and Lloyd said no.  So despite hearing the warning from earlier I got up and did the same. Tackleberry immediately pounced on me.  I returned it.  It was SO stupid on my part.  I’m pretty sure he wrote my name down and wrote a warning on my card.  It wasn’t fatal this time but I’ve GOT to be smarter, more focused and stop thinking about food.  ER starts for me in two days and I can’t afford to keep screwing up like this.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  Did you know Jake Martin (my pen name) has a Facebook page?  Feel free to send a friend request and post your thoughts or stories.  I’d love to hear from you.  I haven’t mentioned it before despite it having been out there for some time.  My bad.  It’s the same as always, if you post something directed to me or the blog sponsors, you’ll get an answer.  My real identity also has a Facebook and Windows Live presence.  I had a successful .NET Framework and Information Technology blog on Windows Live.  As a result, I developed a rather large network of IT Professionals.  After I’d been arrested, it appeared I had just suddenly vanished and some of those contacts began making inquiries into what had happened to me.  Some of these folks are now “sponsors” of this blog.  One serves as my power of attorney (POA) and several update this blog with what I write, handle the increasing amount of correspondence and try to keep me grounded which can be a trying task.  Isn’t it ironic that those that knew me from the virtual world proved to be there for me much more than anyone from the physical world?  Friends from my church, Christian band, the Fortune 500 company I worked for as a software developer, or other associates, most I never heard from even after it became common knowledge where I was, courtesy of my now ex-wife.  It was human nature to want to befriend a guy on his way up in his profession, making great money, who started a talented Christian rock band and seemed to always have an answer for the problem confided.  But it was also human nature that when the ship of my life was taking on water and sinking to try and get as far away, as fast as possible, lest the suction of the disaster somehow affect them.  So though I got angry, I eventually came to see their reaction as natural, almost intuitive, to the events that had taken place.  I was asked if I forgive them for not standing by me.  I now answer there was nothing to forgive.  They didn’t then or now owe me a thing.  The problem here was my expectations of my relationships with people.  I wanted 100% loyalty not because I loved them, but because that little boy in me was tired of being hurt and abandoned.  I would extend my loyalty, but here’ the thing.  They never asked for that.  The sad fact is I can’t hold those close to me hostage to my issues and call that a relationship.  Perhaps I am the one that should seek forgiveness from them.  I, under my real name, still occasionally have updates posted to Facebook.  My blog still collects 300 hits a day, despite not having been updated in 17 months, mostly .NET and IT guys looking for a particular solution.  Still, I haven’t come up with a way to handle the classmate that pops up on Facebook and such.  I don’t want to tell people I’m in prison.  I’m ashamed.  I don’t have an answer so I’ve been ignoring those friend requests and comments that come in.  I am sure there is a way I’m suppose to handle it.  As always, if I keep an open mind, the answer will come.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  The laundry procedure is quite different here than it was at Dodge Correctional Institution (DCI) or at Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI). Here we accumulate clothes and wash it with the clothes we buy from the catalogs, as well as the sheets we put on top of the foam padding we lay on.  You can also choose to turn it all in except what you personally buy and pick up clean stuff after count around 6 pm.  The only problem with that is its a crapshoot what you’ll get.  You can tell them what sizes you need but much like DCI or JCI, it may or may not resemble that, or it’s really stretched out.  Here you learn to hang onto good laundry and bigger sheets and wash it yourself with laundry soap you can buy off canteen.  With only 2 old washers and dryers, inmates try to keep them running all the time.  If you aren’t there when the washer or dryer completes, other inmates yell real loud, “Washer!” or “Dryer!” with a voice that indicates annoyance.  If you still don’t get your laundry, it gets piled by the guard station which I’m sure annoys them.  I’m not willing to let my laundry out of my sight so that hasn’t been a problem for me.  I don’t have a trust issue here.  I trust people here to repeat previous patterns of behavior and that for many, includes theft.  Once done, I brought my laundry back to my bunk.  Since I’m on top bunk, my cellie leaves while i make it up.  Speaking of my cellie, his parole hearing was rescheduled and he actually got the Act 28 early release which was surprising especially since he got kicked out of his ERP program at Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OCI).  Now he has to go through the approval process.  He has handled me being around more ok. At least I think so.  Neither of us are the type to talk a lot so its hard to tell.

Well, I’ll close with some updates.  I told you previously I had lost a lot of weight during chemotherapy and I was trying to gain the weight back. Mission accomplished and then some!  All of a sudden, it just appeared.  I’m not 6’1”  and 195 pounds.  I’m heavier now than I’ve ever been.  It feels good but now I wonder if I’m going to get fat.  Of course, when I go to Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) for my ERP program, I’m told the portion sizes for meals are smaller and there’s little canteen to get.  So, I’ll be dieting one way or another.  Next, I’m told my sponsors are now mirroring this blog on WordPress. They have more tools they can use like statistics, then Windows Live I’m told.  So feel free to check it out and tell them or me what you think.  Finally, I was told on the last scan, they found an abscessed tooth.  I’m not sure what that is but the doc asked them to take care of it.  It explains the pain a bit.   They asked why I didn’t say something.  I guess its because, as usual, I’m the last one to admit I have a problem.  One of these days, I’m going to learn that lesson, and in the process, spare myself and others the unnecessary pain that only gets worse with the lack of honesty.