img_0736-1.jpgMy son spent three weeks at MSDF when he was 17, some of it in solitary confinement.  He lost a little bit of his soul. He came out angry.

The building looks okay on the outside. It’s real big, like a high rise. But when you get inside the people aren’t nice.  When you’re visiting, you shouldn’t be treated like you did something criminal too. We went to visit our son on a Sunday. Once we went through the check-in process, the metal detector and the elevator, we only had 10 minutes left for a visit. I knew the visit wouldn’t be in person. I thought we’d sit facing him with a Plexiglas window between us and talk through a phone. But it was just a raggedy old beat up monitor. There was so much snow, I could only hear him.

He said, “It’s f-cked-up here.” He used a lot of profanity, which he normally didn’t. The more he cursed, the more I knew something wasn’t right. But he told me not to worry, he can handle himself. He was in one room with three people.  Tensions flared. There was a huge fight and he ended up in solitary confinement.

I don’t know how I could not be involved in the campaign to close MSDF. My experience with that place tells me it should be closed. We need to expose the quiet kept secrets…no more secrets.

It’s deeper than MSDF though. It’s about Wisconsin and its penal system and its form of justice. We should be believing in a world of forgiveness and second chances. Certain people don’t get a second chance and that’s not right.  I know it’s a huge pull. It’s going to take time. We need to start now. My grandchildren and their children may still be working on this. I think if we’re going to have a prison system, it should be a humane prison system.

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