Posts Tagged ‘privacy’


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 I completed the assignments given to me this past week.  They were the self-evaluation, the review of the movie Gracie’s Choice, and addressing the envelope for the letter going to my former wife to be sent by our ERP group leader, Ms. Grey.  I’d had the actual letter written some time ago.  Many in the group are struggling with this or have devised plans to control the response Ms. Grey gets.  I did not do so, not because I’m some sort of moral giant but I’m not willing to risk anything at this juncture.  It just isn’t worth it with 97 days to go until graduation.  Anyway, I’ve mentioned to you before our bathroom setup, how the toilets are open air and only a piece of cloth covers the entrance.  Often the men will run water to prevent the noise of doing their business from echoing in this cavernous environment and it’s a courtesy appreciated by those in the dayroom.  Also, at night those on lower bunks will often put towels up using the bunk above them to hold them in to block light but mostly for some privacy.  Normally the guards say nothing about such things but last night wasn’t normal.  The refried beans from cellie Andre Charles graduation party were/are still killing me.  The guard on duty made me get up though I wasn’t done and shut the water off.  I finished and went back to my cell.  Shortly after he was there barking at my cellies to take the towels off their bunks in drill sergeant type of fashion.  The next morning at 5 am, it was my shower and laundry day (with 3 changes of clothes I shower every other day doing laundry every other shower day) and I wondered if he’d give me any grief about anything.  Once laundry started, this guard complained about how other guards don’t enforce the rules so it makes his job harder and it confuses us.  I was surprised he knocked other guards to me but I just told him since I’d been in prison I’d learned it is really up to the guard on duty and we as inmates learn how the rules will be enforced.  He replied that was exactly the problem and he’ll throw guys in program real quick if they give him an attitude as they’re supposed to be on a higher level.  I told him he wouldn’t likely see an attitude from anyone here.    Soon he got distracted and my laundry was dry but I thought to myself this guy was wound so tight he might snap.  I returned to my cell to make sure that person wouldn’t be me!  But I think while he has a point that its good for us to have uniformity in expectations I also think its good for us to deal with differing expectations or interpretations as we get ready to be released as that is a much more realistic view of the world than the sometimes orderly  world of MSDF. 


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  Anytime I’m in a new environment it’s a hard time for me and this is no exception.  But I am trying.  I’m back in a place again where we have to stand for count which means we fall out about 6:30 am and stand in front of our door.  I got yelled at for not having my arms laying at my side instead of folded against my chest.  We have to be silent and be wearing the yellow smock.  I was told the days of hot breakfasts were over and they were right.  It was a plastic container of cocoa puffs, a carton each of grape juice and milk.  I returned to my cell.  All I really wanted to do was sleep.  Another thin I’m going to have to get used to is you can’t get caffeinated coffee off canteen anymore.  It’s just as well, there’s no microwave to warm up water.  On the upside because my ERP program doesn’t start until December 13th, I get to spend some actual time alone as the other 3 had to go to their classes.  I haven’t done that since leaving Jackson Correctional Institution (FMCI).  A couple hours later a lady came by to do the mental health evaluation that they apparently do for each inmate.  I was mostly honest, once I made sure my answers wouldn’t get me kicked out of ERP.  She offered to look for information for free and low cost mental health assistance in Brown County for when I get out, as she only knew anything about what Milwaukee County offered as the vast majority of inmates here are from there.  I went to the bathroom afterwards and saw this wasn’t fun either.  They have 2 toilets on my tier, both with no privacy.  Not to my liking at all.  At this point, I’m praying for a quick end to the next 6 months.  My cellies came back from program a bit later.  The one on bottom bunk by me is a large guy named Brian Whalen, who today is upset with his lawyer for keeping his entire fee and he felt he hadn’t earned it.  I can relate.  He provides a lot of comic relief to the other guys.  My cellie on the top bunk on the other side is Malik Pearl, a young guy who feeds off my other cellie Andre Charles.  They both seem like pretty good guys.  They are in the middle of their programs and often come back talking up a storm about it.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about them as time goes on.  In all honesty, I’m not doing so good but I’m glad I have you all as an outlet to help organize my thoughts.  Truth is everywhere.  I’ve gone in prison, its been out of my comfort zone and i adjusted and found ways to cope and I’m sure this will be no different.  Pretty sure anyway.