Kids, corrections, money and care

February 12th, 2017

This week’s ARTICLE from the Beloit News focuses on the status of our State Juvenile Prison. WI Governor Scott Walker’s budget came out last week and includes the budget for Lincoln Hills Juvenile School (I’ve been there, it’s a juvenile prison). Anyway, it seems that the budget proposal for Lincoln Hills is a 1.7 million short of the WI Department of Corrections request. Hmm, interesting…yes, I said 1.7 million dollars short of the requested amount.

This is not the first time (or probably the last) Lincoln Hills has been in the news. You may recall in 2015 that the WI Department of Justice was called in to investigate serious inmate (kids) abuses at Lincoln Hills. The investigation was ultimately turned over to the FBI and is still pending. That said the WI Corrections Secretary Ed Wall resigned as a result of the investigation and was ultimately fired from the DOC (see story HERE).

So no matter your political orientation, a couple of things seem true. First, Lincoln Hills School is a mess. This is WI’s only state prison (I know it’s called a school) for juveniles and the State needs to get things fixed (one might ask what I mean by “fixed”). Second, it is sad that our government seems to be playing politics with the budget for kids who are locked up in a juvenile prison.


Deadly days in Delaware

February 5th, 2017

So this story has got to be a nightmare for the State of Delaware for numerous reasons. First, it’s sad anytime an officer loses his/her life in the line of duty. Second one can only imagine how horrible life is for inmates in the Delaware prison system this week, especially for the overwhelming majority of inmates who had nothing to do with the uprising (i.e., inmates at other Delaware prison locations). Last, how about all those recruits going through job training or college graduates contemplating a career with the Delaware Department of Prisons? Yes, a nightmare on all accounts.

That said, hopefully the whole situation (once the story emerges) will serve as teachable moment for all those involved, including the local community, state and nation.


Tune in next week…

January 23rd, 2017

My first blog for spring 2017 will be posted this coming Sunday evening.

“Where the rubber meets the road.”

December 4th, 2016

This will be my last post for the semester. Hope you’ve enjoyed the short stories over the past couple of months.

This week we will focus much of our attention on that point where inmates re-enter society after serving their prison sentences. Known as “re-enty,” this is a vital point in the process for men and women who often have spent considerable amounts of time incarcerated. The following VIDEO offers just a glimpse of some of the challenges people face once they walk out of prison.


TED @ Ironwood State Prison

November 27th, 2016

Let me make it clear: this is not a post for Ford Motor Company. Yeah, they make nice cars. I put 236,000 miles on my 2000 Mercury Mountaineer and had no complaints with it. But this post is about education for incarcerated inmates.

Click HERE to watch a TED Talk that took place at the Ironwood State Penitentiary in Blythe, CA. It holds education as one of its primary goals and works with a local college to meet it. Check out the Huffington Post ARTICLE that discusses CA’s biggest educational program in its state.

But more generally, to me it just makes sense that society would work harder at educating its inmates. After all, we have earlier learned that these individuals (93-98% will be released from prison) do get released from prison. So the question then becomes: “What has society produced during this time?” Have we worked toward making each inmate better or worse? If better, than how have we done this?


A Reality Show about Sensory Deprivation

November 20th, 2016

This coming week we’ll be talking about the effects of sensory deprivation. I was taken aback when I discovered that Fox has a reality SHOW where contestants compete to see who can last the longest in isolation. The winner takes home $50,000.00 (I wonder if 50k will cover one’s medical bills that will result from post-show therapy sessions?).

Sit and ponder this for a moment: a reality show that exposes volunteers to sensory deprivation….


Emotional Cyber Overload

November 13th, 2016

I’ve tried hard to stay off social media since this past Tuesday. It’s pretty tough. It’s almost as if my fingers automatically type in “” or “” when I get in front of a computer.

Pretty sad:(

There’s a great deal of hurt, fear and anger in this country since Tuesday. AND THIS POST ISN’T AN ATTEMPT TO CONTINUE ANY OF IT. So this post isn’t a political one so don’t respond with one or I will delete it.

I just need a break from all of it. And maybe you do as well. Please don’t mistaken this break to mean I don’t think these emotions aren’t genuine or important. I just need a break.


Tell me something positive that’s happened for you this year (“The person I voted for POTUS won.” is NOT an option) or tell me something you’re thankful for. I’ll start it off:

Last month I got to visit La Crosse, WI for a long weekend. We traveled there for my wife to do her first 5k trail run. We spent the weekend at some nice coffee shops, restaurants and bars. The foliage was so beautiful on the bluffs surrounding the area.


We also visited a the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe just outside La Crosse. It sits on a picturesque hill overlooking some gorgeous foliage. It was just beautiful.


The weekend was especially nice, as I got to spend quality time with two of my favs: Alexandrea and Sutton. We ended up driving home on State Highway 35, which runs next to the Mississippi River and it was magnificent as well.




Get Hard

November 6th, 2016

This week we’ll be talking about prison life. In other words, we’ll be learning about others’ experiences of being incarcerated. Which brings up an interesting question: How does one prepare for a long prison/jail sentence?

Well, you might/might not be surprised to learn that there is a wealth of information on the WWW about preparing for prison. WIKIHOW (click HERE) has one. The US Bureau of Prisons has published an entire booklet on the topic (click HERE to check it out). and the website has also posted 8 Tips for Easier Prison Stay (click HERE). These were just a few hits from a simple google search.

And of course there are movies (Get Hard, Orange is the New Black, etc.) that address the issue of preparing oneself for prison (not sure I’d use these to prepare for my prison stay, however.)

QUESTION: What 3 things would you do to prepare for prison and why. Let’s assume you’re gonna be transferred to a medium security prison similar to RCI.

Sharanda Jones

October 30th, 2016

This week we will talk about female prison inmates. Mostly we will watch a documentary on a group of maximum security female inmates in NY State. However, this week’s blog post focuses on a woman who had her life sentence commuted by President Obama. Far from a violent offender, Sharanda Jones was convicted of felony drug charges and sentenced to life in prison. Watch this VIDEO that tells the story of the clemency.

Then watch the VIDEO that tells the story of her family that she left behind when she was incarcerated.

There are a lot of things we could talk about in this story. One thing that always interests me is to think of what it might be like to be locked up for 17 years. Check out this SITE that gives the reader a good sense of what was happening the year (1999) Jones was incarcerated. I think it gives one a good sense of how the world changes and moves on and in many cases leaves the incarcerated behind. I can only imagine how hard it will be for Jones to “catch up” to all the changes from 1999-present.


WI inmate dies from dehydration

October 23rd, 2016

This week’s post focuses on an recent and close-to-home ARTICLE/VIDEO focusing a man who died while incarcerated in the Milwaukee County Jail. There’s ALOT to unpack here.

The man was arrested for firing a weapon into a public crowd, which resulted in one person being hit by a stray bullet. So, let’s not forget that the allegations were pretty serious.

Still, no one died due to his behavior…except him. The man was found dead in his solitary confinement cell and the September 2016 coroner’s report indicates the cause of death as “homicide.” The report stipulates that the man died from severe dehydration. So whatever one feels about the allegations that landed him in jail, the punishment (ultimately his own death) isn’t proportional to the crime committed.

Interestingly,  it seems that this man apparently had past mental health issues, which makes one wonder why he wasn’t placed into a medical facility (not jail).

Of course all of this will come out sooner or later. Thoughts?