Benjamin’s experience of being a black man in Milwaukee

My name is Benjamin. I am currently at MSDF. My release date is tomorrow 9/27/2017. I was charged with a felony possession of fire arm in march of 2016. I was never charged with any felony beforehand. I was given 2 yrs probation with 5 yrs stayed if I messed up on probation. I served 6 months condition time for this case.

Life was beginning to come back together

When I was released from HOC [house of corrections] for the 6 months condition time, life was beginning to come back together. I got my job back, my own place, more clothes a new pet kitten named (Winter) RIP and money saved up for a bigger place. Life was great. I never used drugs or drank. I always went to all of my appointments that my PO told me to go to and stayed at work.

Held on allegations

On June 20th I went to go see my PO. She told me she wanted to drop me for a UA [urine analysis]… So I’m clean, so I went with no worries. When I got there, to my PO office, I was put in hand cuffs and taken to MSDF. She told me I was being held on allegations. With no written statement from the witness. She asked me if I sold K-Z. I said yes but not during the time I was on probation. They gave me a 90 day sanction.

‘I lost everything…my cat died’

I lost everything. [My PO] even gave my property away containing my driver’s license and my social security card. She took my job away and said I could not reside in my own home so I lost my $, my cat died and I lost all the things I worked hard for.

‘I wanted to kill myself’

I don’t know what to do. At times I wanted to kill myself. This is not right. I hate Milwaukee. I hate being a black man in Milwaukee. But I will be strong and bounce back no matter what.

Chad: Grandma died while in prison

Hello, my name is Chad. I was incarcerated in the Wisconsin prison system for 10 years 2 and a half months. I was in 3 institutions besides the intake prison, Dodge. I spent 5 years in Stanley Correctional Institution in which I was a 4 and a half hour drive from my family. While there my son’s mother left me and my son, signing off her rights to our son. Then a few years later while still in Stanley, the institution has an OSHA problem with the stairs on the units. They have construction to offset the stairs, making every unit have 6, 3 man cells.

I was transferred to Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in 2010. They sent me there to do programs, and didn’t get me to the AODA program until I was within 2 years of my MR. Once I completed the program and had an early PRC I was within 4 months of my MR. I received minimum custody but didn’t go to a minimum camp to be able to work or save money for release. I was released from prison Sept. of 2014 with $1,000.00 in my release account. No help was offered to me from my PO for food stamps, jobs, insurance, or anything. My family was given the burden to support me, house me, and help me.

‘I wanted to feel, to grieve my Grandma passing’

While on supervision, I was working when I found a job. I did not commit any crimes. I was put in jail on PO holds for dirty UA’s and sent to an ATR at MSDF. While I was at MSDF I was put on a “list” to see phys services because I had told them that I was having side effects to the medication I was on. Then I was called to speak to my social worker one morning, and she received an email from my PO stating my Grandma was in hospice and didn’t have much time to live. My social worker also told me that I would not be able to see my Grandma while in the program. The medication that I was on numbed my feelings, and I wanted to know how I felt, and be able to grieve my Grandma passing, so I stopped taking my medication. On Sunday, 5 days after I stopped taking my medication, I started to have dizzy spells, but I could handle them. Then 2 days later on Tuesday I started to get really dizzy and I spoke to the CIO on the unit about it. Later that day I was removed from the program, on a no fault discharge.

Conditions: No family contact, clothing shortage, no sunshine

Also at MSDF I wasn’t able to contact any of my family over the phone, until the social worker let me call my mom and the chaplain let me call my dad. The temperature in the unit and cells were very warm, I couldn’t sleep under my blankets, or a sheet on those nights. Laundry was not good, we get 2 sets of clothes and can only exchange one set of underwear, socks, and t-shirts 2 times a week. We are not able to see any sunshine due to being locked inside a building all day.

The goal: To be with his family

Now I’ve been sent back to Fond du Lac county jail waiting to see my PO and to find out what I have to do now so I can go home to be with my family. There isn’t a phys person here in the county to evaluate me or to get me on the medication that I need to be on. So here I sit again in jail, without committing a crime and not knowing what is going to happen.

In memory: James E. Wilborn, 1953-2015

James E. Wilborn died in MSDF in 2015 due to heat exhaustion

Here’s his story, from the Table of the Saints

James E. Wilborn Was on the board of directors of the Table of the Saints, Milwaukee, and its Intercessor/Prayer Warrior. He was born in 1953 in Mississippi, grew up in Chicago, and came to Milwaukee at age 45 in ’93 as a member of a Christian ministry of bible disciples, Victory Outreach, a world-wide organization. But, he said, he was a member only intellectually, with his head, not his heart. Feeling unfulfilled by his work, he quit and wound up living in the streets for five years, succumbing to drug addiction. He was arrested and convicted for delivering illegal substances and ended up in prison from1995 to ’98. Once free, he fell into old habits, again a full-blown addict. Two years later, he committed a “strong-armed robbery” to feed his habit and received a six-year prison sentence, 2000 to 2008.

For two years after this release from prison, he managed to deny the temptation of drugs and alcohol. But this time, when he fell, he took himself to the alcohol and drug treatment program at the Network Recovery Rehabilitation Residence, where he remained for two years. Upon leaving in 2010, Wilborn moved to the Miracle House, and met William Harrell, who invited him to join the Table of the Saints. February 18, 2010, was the day that Wilborn says that he was saved from using drugs because that day, he received Christ back into his life, became a prayer minister and overcame his addiction to drugs. This time, however, his heart was involved, not just his head.

A change of mind and heart and understanding

James Wilborn said that he never expressed himself to God before joining the Table of the Saints. He said, “There has to be a willingness to change your mind and your heart and understanding to make it on the outside. The Lord changed my mind and heart and understanding. I was fortunate: instead of being sent back to jail, I was sent to Alternative to Revocation treatment, which I see as God’s doing. But I had to be broken before God could fill the void in my heart.

“When people say, what kind of God would let bad things happen, in some cases, they don’t realize that they have choices, or that free will is a gift from God.”

Escaping death three times

Wilborn said that at age 16, he was shot six times. The operation to save his life took 18 hours; the medical team didn’t think he would make it.

At 21, he needed a tonsillectomy. The surgeon cut an artery in his throat by mistake and the nurses ignored him when he said that he was having trouble breathing. Imagine struggling for air until a second shift nurse respected him and examined his throat: She discovered that he was choking on his own blood and rushed him back into surgery. The surgeon failed again, forcing James Wilborn into a third operation. This one repaired his artery, but the medical staff doubted that Wilborn would make it through the night.

The third time a medical staff believed that Wilborn would die before dawn was the time that he was 27 and began to have seizures. He was in prison at the time and was sent to a civilian hospital with a policeman stationed at his door. Tests showed that severe ulcers had perforated his intestines. Internal bleeding was cutting off oxygen in his brain, causing the seizures. In surgery, they patched him up and returned him to his room. Because the doctors doubted that Wilborn would be alive by morning, the police guard was dismissed.

Wilborn asked to see a minister. The minister told him that the Lord told him that Wilborn was not going to die. The minister “laid his hands on” Wilborn and prayed. James Wilborn greeted another dawn and found his brother by his side. They hadn’t seen each other in years after Wilborn’s brother joined the Navy. The Navy gave James’ brother a leave of absence and paid for his transportation to attend his brother’s deathbed. When Wilborn didn’t die, he was sent to an institutional hospital. This medical team repeated the same tests, but these result showed that Wilborn’s intestines had healed. He was sent to a maximum security prison to serve out the last four months of his sentence.

Upon his release, Wilborn returned to Milwaukee. Because he was tempted to use again and wind up in prison again, he checked himself into the Network Recovery Rehabilitation residence and got the help he needed. Meeting William Harrell and joining the Table of the Saints played a huge role in his triumph over addiction, because doing good to feel good works.

From the Table of the Saints

Roy: Let’s put an end to wrongful treatment in MSDF

I’m writing in regards to my experience that I have had at MSDF. I am 39 years of age and I have been doing time since I was 18 years of age. My first experience came in 98, where I didn’t get released until 2003. My second time was 2006 to 2007 (prison time, not MSDF). My first time in MSDF was 2008 to 2009, which I was locked up for 7 months. This cost me my job and time from my family. The worst thing about the situation was that I was never offered an ATR (alternative to revocation) or no type of drug program. My second time in MSDF I did 17 months where once again I lost a job and was never offered any treatment.

Now I have been locked up since 7-2-17. I got out of prison in 2010 and stayed out since 7-2-17. I was getting married 7-8-17 but that got put on hold because on 7-2-17 I was going out before I married but I got drunk and got in a car accident. Like I said in the beginning of the letter, I have been incarcerated since 7-2-17 and the law judge gave me 5 years prison stay for an OWI. I did not hurt anyone but I do believe my actions were wrong. I felt that I needed to be punished but 5 years was too much time. In the process I lost my job that I held down for 6 years. If I came home right now I could go back. I lost my house and my fiancé. I also lost my car. Right now I am in the process of appealing and I’m hoping something good happens out of this situation. Now I am writing, hoping that my input on my situation can help bring some justice to putting an end to wrongful treatment in MSDF.

Anthony: MSDF not fit for animals

To the unknowing public and the people who have the power to help.

My name is Anthony. I am a 34-year-old man currently residing in MSDF. Though I am one of the few fortunate people who has an ATR (alternative to revocation), the tremendous problem known as MSDF is very real. This is my story.

I was released from prison on May 18, 2014, after doing 5 out of a 9 1/2 year sentence. At the time of release I had been diagnosed with several mental illnesses, along with being a recovering addict. I was sent out to society with minimal resources, and even less money. I cannot say my P.O. didn’t offer assistance, because she has been of great help, but one person can only provide so much. Needless to say it wasn’t long before I was placed here at MSDF where the conditions are truly not fit for animals let alone humans.

At all times it is freezing. I believe it is kept so cold because there is mold in the foundation covered by paint. The food is also served cold. Two times out of the month we are confined to our cells for 24 hours for a so-called “training day,” which basically means we are forced to eat in a bathroom, not to mention when there are three people in a two-man cell, which I have endured often.

We are confined to our bunks because there is nowhere/room to walk. It is truly agonizing. Not to mention the classification process is a joke and if you are classified as “high risk” you are subject to different/worse treatment, like canteen restriction and dayroom time, which makes no sense because the majority of us are all here for rule violations.

To really grasp what is going on in this institution can only be fully understood by being confined here. If you’re reading this, I hope it’s not upon the blind and you’re willing to stand for the cause to truly help our people get justice. Thank you for your time.

Shawn: Use my story to help others

I am currently an inmate at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF). I am writing you just to inform you of the atrocities I have experienced in the past week.

For a little over a month now I have been prescribed five different psychotic medications. All of which I am currently taking: 1) venlafaxine, 2) Prazosin, 3) Trazodone, 4) Citalopram, 5) Clonidine. This is my first time on any medication.

On 10/17/17 at or about 7:30 p.m. I took 5 mgs of Prazosin, 150 mgs of Trazodone and 3 mgs of clonidine. All of these medications are prescribed by psychiatrist Dr. [] and dispensed here at MSDF.

On 10/17/17 at or about 9:15 p.m., when it was time for standing count, I felt light-headed and very dizzy. I tried to lean up against the wall behind me but passed out completely. Totally blacked out and barely conscious. 15-20 minutes later I came to while be administered to by one of the nurses. My blood pressure was 60 over something. I can’t recall what the bottom number was.

The nurse made the necessary calls to get me to the hospital. When I got down to intake to get chained up I was still very dizzy. Got chained up and told Cpt. [ ] that one of the cuffs was cutting my circulation off, showed him it was making/cutting marks into my wrist, and it hadn’t even been on a minute. He stated that was protocol. I asked could he just loosen it a little. He said no. I also had leg shackles on and a chain around my waist. I told him, I’m not asking to have the cuff removed, just loosened a little. Again he replied, no. So I told him that if as a condition to receive medical treatment was to be shackled like  slave, then I’ll just go back to my cell and lie down.

The first department and ambulance were standing there waiting. After a long pause, he said, I had two options: 1) Go to the hospital as is or go to temporary lock-up (TLU). I replied, whichever is going to get these cuffs off the quickest. I guess TLU was the quickest.

Upon arriving at TLU I was stripped naked and given some cloak like gown to hide my private parts. Then they handcuffed a leather dog leash to me and I was led barefooted across the cold dirty concrete floor to a cell. I asked for clothes, a mattress, and something to cover up with. I was told that those “privileges” were now to be decided, to given to me by the security director and nursing staff. I have never ever stated to harm myself or anyone else.

Throughout the night, I was led by this dog leash, barefooted across a dirty cold concrete floor to a nurse station. Once in the cell, I urinated a few times on myself just to keep warm. Sometime during the middle of the night I was given a mattress, blanket, a sheet, and clothing. But each time the nurse wanted to check my vitals, I was put on the leash.

On 10/18/17, I was seen by Dr. []. My blood pressure was still low and he ordered that I be sent to the hospital. A different crew cuffed me after a nurse told them to be so tight was not necessary. I should have been at the hospital the day before.

Capt [ ] took it upon himself to inflict “protocol” upon a mentally ill patient. This behavior of his is not protocol it is injustice! I wasn’t misbehaving, being inappropriate, nor disrespectful. I wasn’t even written a conduct report. Yet I was treated like a slave!

Am I next on the list to have the “privilege” to die at hotel MSDF? Where you walk standing up on 2 (feet) but are carried out by 6 (men)?

Use my story to shed light on the continuous mistreatment of individuals incarcerated here. Thank you!

Close the high-rise torture chamber

 

EXPO organizer Mark Rice speaks to Micah about the injustices of Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility
Mark Rice, Wisconsin EXPO organizer and #CLOSEmsdf Campaign leader organizer, speaks to hundreds of activists working to #fixwI at an Oct. 26 meeting of MICAH, a faith-based affiliate of Wisdom WI.

We must stop the silence and inaction about a little known human rights crisis that exists in downtown Milwaukee. Everyday people suffer inhumane and unjust treatment at the high-rise torture chamber that is the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF). The very existence of MSDF violates Milwaukeeans’ belief in humanity and fairness.

Problems facing people incarcerated at this facility include extreme heat, poor ventilation, no access to outdoor recreation or sunlight, being locked down over 20 hours a day, no in-person visits and other abuses. All of this is for people who have typically not even been charged with new crimes. These inhumane conditions and the neglect of staff members played a role in the deaths of several individuals at this institution.

The state of Wisconsin built MSDF in 2001 to house people who have allegedly violated rules of probation, parole and extended supervision. The state continues to use this facility to needlessly incarcerate thousands of people each year who have not been convicted of new crimes.

MSDF is beyond reform and must be shuttered in order to build the kind of strong neighborhoods that Milwaukee deserves. The more than $50 million that the state wastes on incarcerating people at this facility each year should be re-directed to ensure that more people have opportunities to be connected with community-based treatment programs that work, living-wage employment, stable housing and high-quality educational programs. A substantial body of research demonstrates that connecting people with these kinds of opportunities will reduce recidivism and make communities safer, stronger and healthier.

Seven states have addressed their justice system problems by enacting policies more than five years ago that enabled them to close prisons and greatly reduce both levels of re-incarceration for revocations and rates of violent crime. You can read about this in a Council of State Governments report entitled “Reducing Recidivism: States Deliver Results.”

I learned about the atrocities that frequently occur at MSDF when the Department of Corrections forced me to spend six months there in 2007 for allegedly violating a rule of supervision that did not involve a new crime. I saw the devastating impact this institution has on people who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues. While I was there, one man attempted to commit suicide, a few men severely mutilated themselves, and several other men had to be put under suicide watch.

The very notion of locking up people struggling with parole and mental health issues is at odds with common sense approaches to justice.

Governor Scott Walker has said, “Incarcerating people for relatively low offenses is not a significant issue in the state of Wisconsin.” Actually, it is a huge problem.

It is time for Walker to face the fact that crimeless revocation — the practice of re-incarcerating people on supervision for minor rule infractions — is more than significant. It is a failed policy, a waste of money and an embarrassment to Wisconsin.

Crimeless revocations exacerbate racial inequities in Milwaukee and the cruel and unusual conditions at MSDF violate basic human rights and defy our notions of freedom and justice. A Health Impact Assessment conducted by Human Impact Partners, EXPO and WISDOM found that although only 6 percent of people in Wisconsin identify as black, 40 percent of people sent to prison for crimeless revocations in the state identify as black.

Wisconsin’s current approach to dealing with people who have allegedly violated rules of supervision is not working. No one should be forced to stay in an inhumane environment. MSDF often has a devastating impact on the health of people who are already struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Research demonstrates that relying more on community-based alternatives to incarceration like the state’s TAD (Treatment Alternatives and Diversion) Program will reduce recidivism and build communities.

Red and blue states across the nation have enacted policies that enabled them to greatly reduce levels of incarceration for minor infractions and close prisons. These states have often reinvested resources saved into programs that help to build safer, stronger and healthier communities. Wisconsin cannot afford to wait any longer to enact similar policies. It is time for Walker and Wisconsin legislators to transform the state’s unreasonable revocation process, shut down MSDF and reinvest resources in the communities that have been the most disproportionately harmed by mass incarceration.

The silence and inaction of elected officials regarding Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility is not acceptable. We must hold those who continue to ignore this human rights crisis accountable.

Avery: This is my ordeal

First time in MSDF

My first traumatic experience dealing with MSDF [Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility] began in 2009: I was removed from the streets for failure to report and a retail theft case I had picked up. Because of those administrative violations, my P.O. asked for 18 mos. Revocation, and it was affirmed by an administrative law judge, and the circuit court Judge Konkol.

Losing my house and possessions

In the interim, I lost my residence and all my earthly possessions in that house. I had tried to fight the revocation because Probation/Parole was asking for so much time. At least 7 mos. passed during my revocation fight because my final revocation hearing was rescheduled at least two times. By then I was told I didn’t have enough time to go to Dodge, thus I was placed on the 9th floor of MSDF for the remainder of my time.

 16 months with no sunlight

I spent 16 months inside the MSDF building.

Released with no resources, no help

After my release from MSDF in 2010, I had no home, no money, and nothing but the clothes on my back. I had discharged so I had no P.O. to lean on for resources. I wandered the streets and slept where-ever I could — including outside at times — until in my frustration I started back into a life of crime again to put money in my pockets. I didn’t know about food banks and clothing banks because I wasn’t informed before my release from MSDF in 2010. I couldn’t see myself going on Job interviews with the shabby clothes I had on. Thus I went back into what I knew best. I must add that I wasn’t offered any ATR [alternative to revocation] treatment before I was revoked.

Present MSDF incarceration, Oct. 1, 2017

I have a scheduled Final Revocation Hearing on 10/12/17. Two previous Final Revocation Hearings (8-3-17 and 9-6-17) were cancelled, I was told by corrections Field Supervisor, because my state-hired public defender requested an adjournment. I knew nothing of these adjournment requests until I filed complaints.

The reason I filed complaints for a speedy revocation hearing, or for my immediate release, was because my Maximum Discharge date had elapsed on July 24, 2017!  I had been arrested on June 21st, 2017 for failure to report to an April 28, 2017 office visit, and a retail theft citation. (Not even Two Months!) Yet because of these two so-called violations my P.O. is asking for 6 mos 5 days revocation.

I had written a letter that was received by a Corrections Field Supervisor to remind her that my Maximum Discharge date of 7/24/17 had elapsed. She sent me a reply dated 9/28/17. These are her written words: “Mr. [ ], as you are in revocation status your time has stopped, which means your case status will not change until the attorney law judge makes his/her decision at the final revocation hearing. You will not be released pending the final revocation hearing, which is scheduled for 10/12/17 at 10:00 AM.”

To this date (10/1/17) I have been incarcerated over 3 mos. From my arrest on 6/21/17, even though I had been missing from my P.O. under 2 mos. And my discharge date has passed on July 24, 2017, and I’m still doing time.

I must add that I have never met my P.O. My case had been sent to the Port Washington office from the state office Building downtown. I had been told he would send me a letter to inform me of any office visits. I never received one in the mail. Or perhaps the letter had been sent elsewhere. Regardless, I didn’t change residence or phone number. He could have easily located me.

And my Retail Theft is a municipal citation, NOT a criminal charge. Yet my P.O.’s office is seeking revocation.

MSDF conditions: pungent, noxious, crowded

My time here has mostly been spent with three inmates in a cell the size of a small bathroom. We literally live in our toilet, with one of us sleeping near the floor right next to the toilet. We have NO walking space. During the warmest days, body odors and waste is extra pungent, yet we can’t seek relief because we are locked in. Sometimes noxious fumes plume from the rusted out vents in our cell, which we have no choice but to breathe in, if we want to live.

Sometimes tempers flare being in such close proximity to other men. Fights have started on the unit, mostly due to feeling like caged rats, and inmates have been hurt. I have had at least three cellmates with some type of mental illness. One of them was “a cutter.” He had scars on both his arms from previous slashings. One night he had a mental crisis and threatened to “spray the walls with blood.” He had a spork jabbed at the crook of his arm. I was locked in with him. I didn’t know if I’d be NEXT. And the corrections staff was reluctant to come get him. They tried to call his bluff.

I tried to use the proper chain of command with interview requests whenever I had problems with disturbed cellmates, or about other problems on the unit. But most went unanswered, or the issue was passed to another department that informed me there was nothing that could be done.

Concerns

I am on Maximum Security UNIT. My current convictions are retail theft and bail jumping. Both misdemeanors. Yet the unit manager sent me a letter saying my “Compass assessment gave me a high violent recidivism score.”  He claims this score gives me a high internal classification score. I guess being a sneak thief puts me in the same category as murderers, rapists and gangbangers.

My other issue is my left knee. I had surgery on it years ago. (Pins, reconstructive therapy, etc.) Lately it has been swollen and giving out on me. I have bouts of uncomfortable pain. The med Staff here asked me on a scale of 1 To 10, what was my pain level. I told them at least an 8. They have given me generic, weak pain remedies, and told me there was nothing more that they could do for me, that I would have to deal with my issue on the streets. I have been asking for weeks for a knee brace because my knee is giving out on me. To this date (10-1-17) I have been given nothing. Even though the med staff has recognized that my knee joint is possibly deteriorating.

This is my ordeal

My time here has been very traumatic. I don’t know when I’m going home. Even though my Maximum Discharge date has passed on 7/24/17. I don’t know how “Administrative law” can have governance over state statute so-called “Truth-N-Sentencing.” This is my ordeal.

 

Aquinas: Operates like a super Max

I am currently being held at MSDF [Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility], a facility that I have become familiar with over the years for petty rule violations of my extended suspension. In Feb. 2010 I was released from a minimum security prison in Milwaukee County, which is also the county I reside in. I was released with a good paying job, which I had the opportunity to gain while I was still incarcerated. I had been out of prison approximately two months, with a place of my own & still faithfully going to work every weekday & weekends (when needed).

How I ended up in MSDF

Then I was locked up for a dirty urine analysis and eventually ended up at MSDF and was served revocation papers immediately with no chance of being offered any type of alternative at all. Being naive and young I signed off for 14 months and 5 days. I was still in custody at MSDF when I was staffed to RCI and put on a waiting list to be transferred. I never made it to RCI because I was kept an inmate at MSDF and placed on a SO CALLED (state POS) until the duration of my stay.

 

Conditions are unjust and inhumane

In that 14 month span, my experience at the facility was unjust and inhumane. Instead of being a minimum/medium security facility, it is made as if it is a maximum/super maximum, and it is also operated as such. There are no windows, no outside recreation, absolutely no sunlight, and all air is recycled. I am naturally dark skinned, and by the time I was released, I was several shades lighter than my original skin was.

Filthy and crowded

Upon arrival to MSDF, there is no orientation unit, and no sort of rule books given to inmates. Which basically permits the staff to do whatever they want to. If you have scheduled dayroom time, you are not even allowed to use the library or law library until the last ten minutes of your dayroom, on a 50 man pod. Also they permit 3 men into 2 man cells, which makes living conditions inhumane, being that there’s a toilet and sink also in the room and the third man has to sleep on the floor. And the cells and the showers look like they haven’t been cleaned or sanitized in years. From the last time I entered this facility, and to this day, nothing has changed, but the faces of staff. In fact it has gotten worse.

Back to society, with no job, no housing

In 2011 I was released, even though I was revoked and just completed 14 months in MSDF, I was immediately placed on the bracelet. I had lost everything I had and had to move in with my mother. I found myself having a hard time adapting to certain things in my community and fell victim to self pity, which led me back to using marijuana and repeating a cycle.

Abraham: Living on a bracelet

Hello. My name is Abraham and I am 24 years old. Last August 2nd I got released from Department of Corrections after doing nearly 5 years for possession of a firearm by a felon (which I wasn’t), battery by prisoner (self-defense) and attempted armed robbery. I was released on bracelet because I was supposedly high risk. I was released to my mother’s house. I obtained employment giving out gov. phones and working with BNB moving and cleaning and misc. My PO told me I had to quit both jobs soon after she found out that I was getting paid cash.

Trying to see my son

I was on a 8 to 2 curfew. I have a 5 year old son so I asked my PO how was I to find my son and a job on a 8 am to 2 pm curfew. So she put me in a cognitive thinking program with no way of getting there.

After missing a group my PO steady pressed me harder. My mom kicked me out one night at 9 pm for not calling the police because I heard gunshots. So here I am homeless with a bracelet box with nowhere to go. My PO approves me to move in on a couch in a horrible neighborhood on the Southside.  I asked her for a TLP placement or halfway house. She told me I would have to be locked up and wait for that so I decided to stay on the outside so I could see my son.

My cousin left me at Wal-Mart one day and I missed my curfew cause I had to walk from South 27th St. Wal-Mart all the way to [ ]. Once I got there my cousin was passed out drunk and I was mad, demanding an explanation. He woke up and his girlfriend kicked me out with my bracelet box.

Sent back to MSDF for running

I slept at a friend’s that night, missed a call from my PO. Once I called her back she told me I was getting locked up. I never showed and went on the run. I got caught and I did a 90 day sanction and got released on bracelet.

No foodstamps

As soon as I got out I asked my PO for resources like a good will stipend because I had nothing and again I was sleeping on somebody’s couch on the bracelet. MY PO told me that they didn’t provide any resource services, no Goodwill stipends, nothing. I contacted ED from the Alma Center and we go to the free clothing places and they tell me they need some type of paper from my PO or ED. ED paid out of his pocket for clothes for me at Goodwill (of course after getting it okayed by his boss).

So I go and try to sign up for food stamps and my PO didn’t take me out of the system as absconding, so I wasn’t able to get food stamps. So now I’m not eating at where I live because they think I’m lying about not being able to get food stamps. I call my PO and tell her about the food stamp situation and she tells me I have to wait and that it’s a process.

Finding work, living on bracelet

So I get a job at Staffing Partners working for [ ] and I started working. I inform my PO of my hours, 1st shift. I got to be at Staffing Partners at 4 am they bring us to [] at 6 am and I get off at 2:30 pm. She told me okay. I work Friday, Sat., and I figure out that [] is under 35th street bridge and I lived on [ ], so on Sunday I go right to work. I left for work at 5:45, I got there, clock in and they tell us Staffing Partners have no work today so I go home and wait until 7 a.m. for my regular out time.

I always called and texted my PO every time I left the house whether it’s my regular out time or I’m working with the moving company or []. So she calls me for a urine test. I pass. So one day I got off of work for [] and I called her and asked if I can have a new schedule for bracelet due to my work hours and she tells me I have a warrant because of my work schedule. I tell her to call up there. She does and says that they said I don’t work there.

That is the truth in my words and that is my story.

Respectfully, Abraham