The below is OCEAN Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 7, Article 1 (Dec. 23, 2019) published by Russell J. Hatton & Daniel A. Wilson from the gulag in Moose Lake Minnesota.
On December 11, 2019 the Executive Director of MSOP came to talk about Provisional Discharge (PD).
Obviously, there will be many restrictions for those released on PD. For those that don’t know, PD is basically parole. Currently 23 out of 731 detainees are on PD. This is an improvement because in the first 20 years of MSOP’s existence , there were none. Things are slowly changing, but work still needs to be done. Oh, in case you’re wondering, none of those offenders on PD have reoffended.
I [DW] think it was a positive Meeting. First of all we learned that Ms. Johnston is trying to get funding from the Minnesota legislature for 50 beds in St. Peter. She has tried this for the past 4 years. However, this year DHS has a new commissioner and more importantly, our new governor has expressed support for detainee reintegration. If we do get the 50 beds, this will help detainees move forward. There is currently a bottle neck effect where the Moose Lake cite has many CPS approved guys waiting to be moved to St. Peter where they can begin working though the last stages of treatment and into society. This will lighten the pressure at the front of the line, allowing other detainees room to also move forward-or at least this is my theory.
The point is this: OCEAN has taken every opportunity to champion for this cause. We are part of this solution.
I say this brazenly to convince others to join the fight. But the fight is not against MSOP, or the government, or your clinician. It is against your fears, “what’s the use, they are going to do what they want?” is the common response. But this is a lie rooted in fear. For those in OCEAN, this is absolutely intolerable. Anyone with that mindset is not only wrong, they are a part of the problem. However, for those willing to be bold and courageous, we welcome you.
Having sad that, we all have fears. I do too. But courage is not lack of fear, it is action despite of it. I was just telling Russ how afraid I am to speak in public, but I do it every chance I get because I know my voice is my most valuable tool for change. I hate doing it, but as a DROP in this OCEAN, I have a duty to stand for what I believe and speak up when given the opportunity.
When I got up in the community meeting last week to tell my peers to attend the meeting with Nancy Johnston, I tried to be positive, while telling the truth: not easy. I later spoke to a clinician about what I said and she told me to try to be more “positive.” Anyone who has been in treatment very long will hear this word thrown around a lot. I told her that I don’t really consider whether I am being “positive” or “negative” but rather whether I am being “true” or “false.” This is how I chose my battles. If I can preserve another’s emotions, while staying real to my truth, that is the greatest victory I can have today. However honesty is sovereign over positivity.
I hope OCEAN encourages you to fight with us. But remember, if you want to get onto the battle field fighting against oppression, you will need to first get into the battle field of your heart and mind, or you’ll never win the war. [DW]