I was 22 years old when I originally received my sentence. Since then I have been removed three separate times and incarcerated here at MSDF more times than I can keep count. Even though I have been battling my disease of addiction, I have not earned or caught a new case since my original charge. As a matter of fact every time I went to prison I always get staffed as community custody. But that doesn’t seem to matter. The only thing that seems to matter here in Milwaukee or at MSDF is keeping all and or any past convicted felons incarcerated regardless of their situation.
My minor offences have resulted in my being locked in a 6 x 12 cell for 20 hours of the day. Sometimes, or actually every time I come here for minor offences, three people to a cell.
As I write, I’m laying on the floor just inches from the toilet all three of us are supposed to use. Not only are we locked away for 20 hours of the day but we are not allowed any recreational activities. Not allowed outside or to feel any fresh air.
Deprived of any rights
Right now it is December and our cell is around 40 degrees. And the last time I even was able to see the sun was the day I was brought into the facility. We are deprived of any rights when we come here. It was only a few weeks ago I had a seizure in my cell, lost movement and feeling in the left side of my body and all the health staff did was pick me up, place me in my bed and told me to drink water. Since I received no medical help, I ended up having another seizure two days later. This time I was unable to walk afterward. Fortunately this time they called the paramedics to take me to the hospital, where I resided for the next four days. The last encounter I had with the medical staff was unpleasant as well. I was having chest pains and again numbness in my arm and it took medical 30 minutes to come up to see me. And when they finally came up the nurse would refuse to come to my cell to assess me. Instead she told me to walk out to her after I told her it was hard for me to walk. She continued to talk down to me, telling me I was faking it and that I was fine. But clearly I was afraid to push my medical button in my cell because I knew that I would not get the treatment I needed. I was scared. So my celly pushed the button for me.
Sink broken, told to drink from toilet
Another time at my stay here my sink was not working in my cell so I had no water to drink for a week. And when I told them about it, they told me that there was water to drink from the cell, out of the toilet. I thought he was joking. But he was serious as a heart attack.
I know I struggle with escaping by using drugs, and I’ve been doing my hardest to change my life around. But I don’t understand the reasoning for incarcerating someone in this environment with no treatment and no family support and in solitary confinement or by locking them in a cell for 20 hours of the day, especially when I was in the community in a program working through my recovery. I’m not perfect. I get that. But at the same time, what are they really trying to accomplish here?