Interview with Corinne Kiedrowski, 12/02/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Thomas Kuettner, Interviewer | uwocs_Corinne_Kiedrowski_12022016.m4a
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |

0:00

Thomas: Alright and we are recording. I am Thomas Kuettner and I am here interviewing Corinne Kiedrowski for my oral history project.

Thomas: How are you doing?

Corinne: I am good, thank you Thomas.

Thomas: This is December 2nd, and we are at Kuettner Financial on Main St. Alright, so to start off do you want to say where you are from?

Corinne: I am actually from a small town on the west side of Wisconsin called Ettric about 460 people we lived there since I was 5 years old when I was born we actually lived in a trailer park in a nearby town and then we moved to this place and then my mom, my dad, my younger brother and my younger sister.

Thomas: Where is that?

C: Where is Ettrick?

T: Yeah

C: The best way to say it is probably about 30-35 minute drive north of La Crosse

1:00

T: Oh, Ok sure

T: What kind of household did you grow up in?

C: Well we moved to Ettrick when I was 5 so that is what I will kind of focus on. My Mom and Dad both worked full time and then us three kids -- we had an elementary school in town but then when we all went to junior high our junior high was about 16 miles away so we had to take 3 busses to get there and then my high school was about 10 miles away so then when we went to high school we had to take 2 busses to get there. So, we lived in a very rural area there wasn't any bus service so if you missed the bus and your parents were at work and you missed school you were in a lot of trouble cause there was no way for you to get there. We always had dogs, sometimes we had a cat, we had a horse or two at any 2:00given time. I spent a lot of time in the woods we had about 3 acres of woods by our house our house was on a hill that overlooked the whole town. So, we were just really active kids, if we weren't in school or going to school or coming back from school which took most of the day, we were usually outside quite a bit with our friends.

T: That's fun.

C: It is. It is a good way -- I got very dirty. And that is why my mom says we never get sick is cause we never, being dirty and being exposed to all that stuff and not using all the anti-bacterial stuff and everything and so we were never afraid of getting dirty or use weird things as toys. My Dad as part of the Lion's club in town and they would have an auction and he went and bought a 3:00pair of downhill ski's one year and we don't have a boat and we didn't live near water so we used a rope from the tree and we would put the skis on our feet just kind of slide down the hill holding on to the rope with the skis on so we would just make do with what he brought home from the auctions.

T: That keeps it interesting.

C: Learn to be creative.

T: What did your parents do for a living?

C: My dad was the general manager of a plastics factory in Sparta which was about 45 minutes away, my mom was a nurse that worked in a small county hospital about a half an hour away at that time they both had similar types of jobs in the past so driving long distances to get places was no big deal to us just 4:00everyone had to commute there my mom often worked 3rd shift and my dad worked 1st shift so we were usually making our own breakfast and we would usually see them in the evenings

T: Did they both go to college?

C: My Dad did not -- I didn't find out until I was much older that he actually never even graduated from high school.

T: Really

C: I didn't know that until he told me, he was embarrassed by that. My mom did attend college to get her nursing degree I think back then it was a two or three-year degree but that was there educational background.

T: Ok nice

T: Why did you want to pursue a higher education after high school?

C: I did not want to spend my whole life in a small town where the 5:00opportunities were very very limited. I didn't mind working in the grocery store and being waitressing while I was in high school but I didn't want to spend the rest of my life doing that. And I really had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. What I thought I was interested in was politics. Until I took, there was a thing called project close-up when I was a senior we had raised some money and about 5 of us from my high school went to D.C. Where a whole bunch of high school students went to the pentagon and went to the Supreme Court, and all over the place and really found out how Washington works. And I decided after that, that I didn't want to be in politics anymore. I didn't like all of the having to do favors and you know it seems so gamey to me and not very authentic and I didn't feel like I'd be able, I wanted to have some impact on the world. And I didn't think that was going to be my path. So, I wasn't a wasted trip, it was 6:00very, very interesting

T: Yeah, that sounds like a cool opportunity

C: It was! It was totally awesome, it helped me understand what I didn't want to do and then help me at least figure that part out. Fascinating, but I was like no I don't want to do that.

T: Yeah, well figuring out what you don't want to do is half the battle sometimes

C: Exactly, you think it's going to be like this, but it turns out being like that. But I'm glad I knew that before I invested a ton of time and energy into this.

T: So you went to UWO obviously, why? Were you considering other options?

C: No, not really, well actually, I've been to Nevada, to Las Vegas, once or twice because I have family there so I thought it would be cool to go to school at UNLB but the out of state tuition was really super high. And my parents did 7:00pay for all of us to go to college, they did pay for our tuition. That was basically what my mom worked for was to have enough money to send us to college and to live the for the first two years in the dorms. So, I decided that I wanted to get out of that area, so I saw pictures of Oshkosh and thought it was really pretty and it was on the water and actually my best friend at the time at wanted to move further away, we had been best friends in high school for a couple of years and decided on UW Oshkosh. It wasn't too far away where we couldn't get home but it wasn't so close that out parents would expect us to be home every weekend. And so, we mutually decided to come here.

T: So, it was more based on distance rather than looking at certain programs 8:00that were available?

C: Nope, I had absolutely no idea but Oshkosh's programs were, I had no idea what I wanted to go to school for. Business didn't appeal to me because I'm not good with numbers. I kind of knew which areas I wasn't going to get into. I kind of thought it might be something in human services in some way, but I didn't know for sure. So, I kind of came to school with the attitude that this is where I'm going to figure it out.

T: I'm sorry, did you say you were the oldest?

C: yeah

T: Ok, you were, Ok. So, you went to UWO, do you remember moving in for the first time?

C: I do, I couldn't wait to get here. I couldn't wait to leave home. I found out later that my mom cried all the way back home. So, I was the first person to leave. I'm actually the first person on both sides of my family to go to a four-year college. So, that's really exciting. I have a pretty small family but 9:00yeah. I remember that I lived in Stuart Hall, and I remember my best friend at the time was also assigned there. We didn't have the same dorm room but we were fine with that, because part of the whole process was meeting new people and having new experiences and getting out of our comfort zones. But we were on the same floor in Stuart Hall along with your mom, and that how we met her in 1985.

T: Ok, so that's when you went?

C: Yup, I started in the fall of 1985, it was really exciting but also a bit scary but more exciting. And the fact that it was an all-girls dorm didn't bother me in the least. I found out later when I lived in a co-ed dorm that boys were just louder. SO yeah at that time it was an all-girls dorm, I'm not sure 10:00what it is now.

T: So, they did have co-ed dorms, like other dorms at the time?

C: yeah, I think was maybe two or three all girl dorms at the time.

T: Were you nervous moving in? Or were you just excited?

C: I think I was just excited, it helped that I had my best friend with me, having at least one person that I knew, who kind of knew where I came from and that kind of thing.

T: Do you remember your first day of classes?

C: I do not remember my first day, It's kind of whirlwind back then, because its college and you think it's going to be really really hard. And I think the first year I took the real general requirements, I like history, I liked English and I 11:00like literature and that kind of stuff. I took as many of those as I could. I was terrified of the general requirement of math, because I stink at it so bad. But I ended but taking, I don't want to say remedial math class, but it didn't count towards my credits, but it let me get back into the mind frame of doing math again. And they let us use cheat sheets through the whole thing, so I didn't really retain much. But when I had to take the college level algebra class I squeaked through with a C.

T: Yeah C's get degrees

C: So, I was fine with that. I remember the books being really expensive. I don't know how much they are now but back then you could easily spend over $200.

T: Yeah, I was looking through some of the old Advance Titans, the newspapers. 12:00Did you ever read any of those?

C: Oh yeah!

T: And a lot of the articles said tuition increase or book increase and stuff like that did you ever notice that if it increased or not?

C: Oh yeah it always increased and so a lot of people would want to buy the used books that were already highlighted and then they wouldn't have to do the work and find the information but I was always like how do how do I know the person had the textbook before me really knew what they were doing. So, I actually preferred the newer textbooks because then I had to read them. And do my own highlighting. So, it was kind of a school of two thoughts for people when it came to people buying the textbooks.

T: Did you go to class often?

C: I did go to class!

T: You did go to class! T

C: There was an honor on there was a Dean's list and I think I was on the honor 13:00roll the first year. The classes weren't as hard as I thought they were going to be, I didn't have to study super hard and I did go to most my classes. The first year I would've been afraid not.

T: Because you don't know what you're expecting

C: Exactly and you don't know what the expectations are, as far as if I miss a class how much am I actually going to miss. And with college you only have to go to this class two or three times a week and that's nothing compared to high school where you have to go all day long.

T: Yeah eight hours a day

C: And we were right on campus so we were only a block away from our classes. The best time was the library.

T: Why was that?

C: The best time. I've been to the library since I was in college to take some 14:00classes and things like that but the library on the second floor was the biggest social area on campus. You could eat you could have sodas we probably did more visiting, it was probably the loudest library ever. Because at that point in time if I went across the room I would be visiting the entire time. So, I didn't get much done but it was really great for my social life.

T: Second-floor that's weird because now it would be the first floor as you go up a just gets quieter and quieter so the fact that the second floor was where it was at is interesting.

C: Yeah it was popping.

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T: Do you remember any of your professors?

C: One of them I remember specifically she ended up being my advisor and I ended up majoring in her area, Susan Reed ended up being my advisor and I had a lot of her classes. David. Was it David White? Was also a criminal justice teacher.

T: Was that your major criminal justice?

C: Yeah, he always came into class three minutes late and he'd go to the front of the class and look at the clock and look at his watch and take it off and put it on the table and that's what I always remembered about him.

T: Did you did he ever say why?

C: No, you're always just wondering if he was going to show up. And it would always be just a couple of minutes but I think if it became 10 minutes or later you were allowed to leave class.

T: Yeah that's the rule now

C: Is it really?

16:00

T: Yeah I think it's like 15 if they don't show up you can book it.

C: I remember I took some urban studies, or maybe not urban studies it was like the study of cities or something. That was an interesting class, I can't remember the teacher but it talked about the infrastructures of cities and stuff like that, but a lot of the professors I had only had them for one class or general classes, like math, so most of the ones I remember were the ones in my major or my minor

T: What was your minor?

C: Sociology. I also took fairly heavy amount of psychology classes took one of those classes where everything you read and you're like "I do that", I thought I 17:00had like five different mental illness by the time I was done with the semester so it's totally true when you read about diagnoses like that. But yeah there's a few that stood out definitely.

T: How did you decide your major?

C: I think it was my freshman year, I'm not sure, but I decided to take an introduction to criminal justice class which I thought was interesting but Dr. Reid taught it and I thought it was really interesting and I thought, I didn't know what I wanted to do with it but I just thought criminal justice sounded really cool and so and honestly I didn't need a whole lot of math and science out of the general requirements and so that appealed to me so I decided that was 18:00my major after my first year.

T: When did you decide on your minor? Or did that just kind of come along with it?

C: It kind of came along with it, because some of these classes complemented my major so I thought as long as I'm taking them if could have a minor in sociology while taking those classes it doesn't require me to do a lot more work and they complement each other. And there's no math and science.

T: The main reason. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities on campus?

C: The first two years yeah. I was part of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority they were starting up this chapter. I think it was in the 60s or 70s where they wiped out 19:00all of the Greek organizations on campus and so they were building themselves back up again and at that time when I was a freshman it was for three fraternities and one sorority, and the little sisters of one of the fraternities had decided to start this chapter back up again, and I don't know how, but they started rebuilding this particular sorority and started recruiting and they talked to me and some of my friends. And we thought that sounds like fun. So, we took part in that and went through the building of the chapter and things like that and that kept me pretty busy, if I wasn't working or studying or hanging out with my friends in the dorm we were doing activities with the sorority that 20:00first year. I didn't work my first two years in college so I was able to get away with not doing that, but kept myself pretty busy otherwise.

T: What's a chapter? What does that mean?

C: Each sorority or fraternity there nationwide or national fraternity each group of the organizations is called a chapter, so Alpha Xi Delta is the national sorority but they have sponsored groups on each campuses and each one is considered a chapter. Did I say chapter or charter?

T: Chapter.

C: For some reason now it doesn't sound right but it's a chapter. So just like a 21:00book has various chapters their national sorority has various offshoots of it so were all part of the same organization but we all have our own little branches.

T: What were some of the things you did? Because you said you joined your first year first year?

C: Yeah, towards the end of the first year. It's been a really long time now but a lot of it was learning about the sorority. There's various different offices that people can hold in our particular chapter and it was a lot of, the women who had started this particular chapter and there were chapters all over the country, just the one here in Oshkosh had not been active or didn't exist so 22:00they were busy figuring out what they needed to do in order to start this up and it was a little pricey. Basically, it was in consult with the national chapter and they would bring people here. Figuring out what you had to have in place, you had to have a president, you have to have a vice president, a treasurer, and the principles that the sorority upholds and where expected to do charity work and be active on campus, we also associated with the other fraternities and the other sorority and we were part of the Greek Council and we always participated in things like homecoming, we'd have a homecoming float and all those activities, we'd always have our own team, all the sororities and fraternities have their own teams, the dorms had their own team, I think some other 23:00organizations, the winter carnival special dinners here, and we had meetings every Sunday night at the union it was basically trying to learn what was involved in setting all this up and yes we do have secret handshakes.

T: Do you still remember your handshake?

C: I do. I think I do a little bit there's something with the fingers that I don't remember but we were really tight group of people and one of the things that I liked about the sorority was that there was very different people involved in it. There were the really pretty girls that had their hair all done and then there was the tomboys and the the rest of us in between, there was a lot of Camaraderie and there wasn't really a whole lot of drama and I think we 24:00kind of considered our self the female version of a dude fraternity, you know we just wear what we wanted and we enjoyed each other's company and there was another sorority that started up after us and they always kind a look the same to me they always have the same hair and same make up and dress the same but ours was pretty eclectic which made for a lot of it was fun we are really good at things that other people weren't I just don't remember a whole lot of drama.

T: That's good. So were you in it for all your years?

C: I was, I was probably the most active during my freshman and sophomore and 25:00maybe junior years and then that point I was kind of focusing more on school and I just wanted to get done with school and I wasn't quite as involved and plus I wasn't living on campus anymore so it's harder to interact with people but otherwise I was pretty active one of the things I told people who would say like "oh you're a girl" and the talk about the bad press about the Greeks was the guys that were in the fraternities the three of them, the one especially they would tease us mercilessly but they would never allow anything bad to happen to us there was never even an inkling's of bad behavior that could be damaging or anything like that it really was a great community of people all the Greeks are 26:00pretty tight, the Sigma Pi's were kind of our brother fraternity and treated us like little sisters and they tied me up to a chair once on the sidewalk it lasted like 30 seconds, they wouldn't really leave me there all day.

T: Just out of nowhere they just grab you?

C: Yeah, I can't remember, I was probably talking back to them and I was never afraid you're never afraid or concerned that something was going happen to us that shouldn't and I didn't really realize how unique that really is compared to now and some of the stories that you hear now a days.

T: You were in a sorority, but were a lot of people in fraternities and 27:00sororities at that time?

C: Not really, all together there was six at the end, three fraternities and three sororities it is and I can't remember what the population UW Oshkosh was at the time, I mean it was several thousand,

T: I think right now it's like 13 Thousand to 15,000 that's what I want to say.

C: Part of the issue was because you're so organized and we are so tight that our relationships we were criticized because we kept winning everything, like we would win all the float stuff in the parades and broom hockey during winter 28:00carnival and we had the advantage where we wanted to be together because we wanted to be together where in the dorms were people who had only known each other for a short period of time.

T: And you don't really know everybody

C: I would say my sorority had about 30 people in it, that was the average, maybe 30-40

T: Is that at one time because people usually graduate and leave

C: yeah

T: So, how many new members did you usually get?

C: Well during rush week,

T: What's rush week?

C: Rush week is the time of year where we open up membership and so at any given time we probably had like 30, at any given time, but then rush week would take place in the spring or the winter, did you ever see Animal House?

29:00

T: No

C: It's not like, well it's like that for the guys but it's not like that for the girls, but rush week is for the Sororities. They would come in and meet with us and would decide which sorority they would want to rush or apply for and we would decide if we wanted them or not.

T: How did you decide?

C: Usually do stuff like interviews or like meetings and stuff like that and if their mother or grandmother was in it they were considered a legacy and then they were a shoe in and the rest we would choose because there's only so many 30:00slots available. And they would be pledges, which is like a sorority member in-training and we'd be like a mentor to one of them and they would go through different activities during the week. With the female sororities, it was pretty formal there was no Hazing going on, I can't comment on the guys. I knew at least for the guys the Sigma pi's the guys had to walk around with a cigar box and any active members that would see them on campus would have to show them the cigar box and see that all the items were in there that they were supposed in them, I'm sure there is some other stuff going on but it was a pretty formal process for sororities because we were relatively new so we couldn't be having 31:00craziness going on with it we weren't really interested in that.

T: And you still wanted people to join

C: yeah we wanted people to join, we want quality people to join and we are putting a lot of time and effort and energy into them and we want to make sure they were a good fit.

T: You mentioned before we were recording that you were a house mother was at the right term?

C: I am a founding mother of the Oshkosh chapter of Alpha Xi Delta, which basically means that because I was part of the group that created this particular chapter we were considered founding mothers for that chapter, when we were on the on the charter or chapter but our signatures are on the document 32:00here that created this particular branch at UW Oshkosh of the Alpha Xi Delta so we were known as founding mothers.

T: That makes sense. All right now on to the fun questions, so what did you do for fun when you weren't going to class?

C: Well I was under age. The drinking age is a 19 so I basically stayed home every weekend, Well, there was a house across the street called the "hall of just us" like the hall of justice but the "hall of just us" and back then we would go to house parties and pay like two bucks and they would have quarter barrels in a basement in the house that would look like it's about to fall down and it was very crowded and if the cops showed up we would have to hop out the 33:00windows. But the enforcement wasn't a very heavy back then because part of the problem was that the freshman class half of them were of age and half of them weren't and I grew up in this little tiny town where there really wasn't a nightlife and so when I was in high school and stuff I was on the pom-pom squad, forensics, ski club, and I worked and I went to school.

T: Wow

C: I didn't do all those calls at the same time

T: But still you were pretty involved in high school

C: And I had friends that I had hung out with but it was really hard to get anywhere if you didn't have a car especially in such a rural area, so I was excited to live in a city and on campus where everything was so close. There was a Rocky Rococo's where that one pizza place is on the corner,

34:00

T: Toppers?

C: Yes, where toppers is, that strip where Kelly's is in the mini mall in the coffee shop by Herbert's and Gerbert's and Molly's and where Jimmy John's and stuff is now, those were all bars, there weren't tons of them but they were bars and that was known as "the strip" the strip of Oshkosh and we hung out at Barney's which was one of old bars with a very sticky floor and back then if 35:00you said Barney's everyone knew where it was and you knew old-timers because you say Barney's and they said "yeah" and so we would dress all up and put our make-up on and hit the town and we didn't usually go much further than the strip because he didn't have a car, so everything had to be within walking distance for the most part. Yeah, so between the sorority stuff and hanging out with friends and we went to the bars but I was still on the honor roll you have to remember that but we would spend time in the dorms, in the day room because each dorm had a day room, a day room that's prison talk. I've been working in a prison for too long and we would just hang out in there quite a bit and there 36:00were a couple common areas where we were supposed to be studying but we're just chatting a lot

T: You attempted to, that's what matters

C: Yeah we were just very social going from one person's room to another

T: I know that there was homecoming and winter festival, were those really popular?

C: Yes, very

T: I'm guessing you attend those events?

C: Yes, we also had Greek weekend

T: What's that?

C: Just the Greeks, just the Greeks we had our own events including a belly flop contest at the pool and things like that but yeah we were very active in winter carnival and homecoming.

T: Do you remember any of any of the events?

C: I do remember broom hockey because I was not planning on doing that and I 37:00ended up being on our team and we had a blast and I remember ice sculptures contests, I don't think ours was really good though. I don't remember any of the other events off the top of my head, probably because I didn't like the cold so I didn't really want to go outside very much but the ice sculptures were a big thing, broom hockey there's probably some of the things inside, maybe a trivia contest that kind of thing.

T: But it was something you looked forward to?

C: Oh yeah it was a lot of fun

T: What about any of the sporting events did you attend of those like the football games?

C: A couple usually during homecoming, I do remember being body passed by a 38:00couple Sigma Pi's one year. Usually I didn't go unless it was homecoming

T: Would you say that usually other people went? Was it a popular thing? Or were you just in a sorority and you at other things to do? I'm just asking just to compare it to now.

C: Sports were a thing in college but I at least don't recall it was a part of the experience it wasn't here's school and oh my gosh here's the football team. It's not like we had to go out and support them.

T: I feel like that's how it is now, I couldn't tell you when we play, when we 39:00didn't, who won, who was on the team unless they said they were on the team, and so it sounds like it was pretty similar and you went for fun maybe if it wasn't too cold or something like that.

C: Right, but yeah our activities didn't revolve around it

T: So, once you got towards the end did you know what you wanted to do with your major

C: I thought I might be a probation parole agent, I didn't know enough yet about the system and how it worked yet. I think a couple semesters before I finished I had an internship at a kids home here in town, it wasn't for juvenile 40:00delinquents or anything but it was just a place for kids from 2 to 18 if they had to be taken out of the homes suddenly or runaways it was only supposed to be a 30 day stay but it usually ended up being longer sometimes they're waiting for foster care placement but from anytime there used to be like 8 kids from 2 to 18 and once I finished my internship there they hired me for part-time and then eventually full time. Part-time for third shift and the full-time during the day, second shift, and I was there from for about a year maybe after I graduated college and I enjoyed that a lot and then the county decided to shut it down, there wasn't a scandal or anything, we were making five bucks an hour and my 41:00boss asked if we could have sick days or vacation days and then the county said "forget it you're too expensive" and it was kind of cute because we had two or three teenagers at the time and an 8-year-old and they were very upset, they kind of took it personally that the county decided not to re-up the contract and so they wrote letters to the newspapers saying how much they liked it there that they would rather be there than a foster home. So, that was really cute, I felt bad for the kids and I feel like they didn't feel like they are very valuable so when that place shut down and I started looking, there was a correctional halfway house for men on probation parole hearing town within social services in the department of corrections and I started with them and I 42:00was there for about 6 1/2 years and so I liked working in the system and learned a lot of hard lessons and my expectations of other people and then decided if I was going to state work and be a state employee and get state pay when I started working in the halfway house I was making a 8 bucks an hour and when I started working for the state I was making $12/hr. and I felt like I was rich I moved into a two bedroom apartment and it wasn't bad. And so that's kind of how I just found jobs and found which part of the jobs I liked and which parts I didn't like and I just kept seeking out jobs that had more of the stuff I liked.

43:00

T: What were some of things you had to do as you moved up from job to job?

C: I was really lucky because since college I've had a job in my field and I've never really had to start over, but a lot of it was learning the system and applying that to the next job.

T: How so?

C: Things like politics did play a part in my job, but it kind of like what things to stress over what things not to stress over. When I was, younger and had a lot of energy I stressed over a lot of things that I don't now because I know it won't make a difference. One of the things my boss at the halfway house 44:00had told me was "The guys are where they are in terms of their life and their attitude and they're just not going to be…" I thought because they were in a halfway house and had treatment in it that that meant that they wanted help and so, I was so naïve I assumed that they wanted the kind of help that I thought they should have but sometimes they had other ideas about what kind of help exactly they wanted and usually it was the easiest and quickest kind the shortcuts. A lot of stressful days and so and a lot of people along the way that kind of said look at the more important thing, look at the big picture rather than what's going on right now, and so that's something that I have to remind 45:00myself sometimes daily. Also over the years and how we approach corrections has changed and just being flexible with that.

T: Just in case for people that don't know, what is a halfway house?

C: A halfway house generally is, the way we use it in the state, is for when an inmate is getting out of prison and needs a place to stay while they look for a job and get enough money to get an apartment they can live in a halfway house. So, that kind of halfway between prison and being on their own again they're usually on parole and have a parole agent and under watch of a staff 24/7 and 46:00there's various kinds of levels of it and sometimes it's with someone who's getting in a lot of trouble and the department of corrections not to send them to prison and it's their last chance and you get another chance but you're going to stay there and you need to stabilize so it's kind of a place to try to help support people while they get on their own feet

T: What was your role there? Were you talking with on getting to the right path, or guiding them as to how to get to the right path afterwards?

C: Yeah, in general yeah we did groups, we did OADA groups, behavior groups and help transport them to AA meetings and I often had to take them to Walmart and 47:00buy supplies for the place and just general supervision, we all had a case load, there was only 12 guys there at a time so I was responsible for doing a treatment plan with them and helping them get a job and finding an apartment and I'm just trying to figure out what each individual guy needs to move forward.

T: Did it usually end up working out well?

C: Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't. You can provide all opportunities for someone but if there still kind of if they haven't made that step to do things in a way that's going to keep them good with the community but they try to play 48:00both sides of the fence like I don't to be in trouble with the law but I don't want to have to do what everyone tells me to do yeah it's all kind of different levels.

T: So where are you now what's your position?

C: I am a social worker right now I work at the Wisconsin resource center which is the Department of health services but we have security from the department of corrections so it's kind of an unusual place. I've only been there for about a year and a half, prior to that for 18 years I was a social worker at the Oshkosh correctional institution on the highway so I did general social work case management release planning I worked with largely with the mentally ill population which was very interesting and I during that 18 years I worked with 49:00sex offenders and their treatment plans and that kept me pretty busy.

T: I feel like when you're talking about working with people that are mentally ill that that can be really hard and turn people away from that field of work?

C: I've known a lot of people and I have a lot of respect for them, that quickly learned it wasn't for them and they got out, and I really respected that rather than staying in there and staying in a job that you don't like and state jobs are not the gravy jobs that people think they are or used to be, they used to be better, but the benefits and the pay that kept people before aren't keeping them anymore, but yeah it's like any other job and you have to figure out if you're going to be a good fit or not and some people are and some people aren't it's 50:00the more difficult part of it is taking direction from people that haven't worked with inmates ever and they work in an office somewhere the ones who are creating the statutes and the laws in the policies and they've never set foot in a prison except for maybe a quick tour so they don't really understand the innards of it may take it a little bit too far and I have done it so I can handle it, I can handle the inmates attitudes it's usually not getting the support from the higher-ups that's the hard part. I've had some great 51:00supervisors, but I think the further away people get from the frontline the less they really understand the people who live it every day just like university system,

T: That's a good tie. So just because I'm interested maybe you can say maybe you can can't what is some of the interesting situations you've come across? I feel like you'd have a lot of stories.

C: Everyone says I should write a book because I work with the two populations of inmates that nobody wants to work with the sex offenders and the mentally ill guys and sometimes the mentally ill guys that are sex offenders and I enjoy 52:00working with the mentally ill population. Those guys who are truly mentally ill not the "fakey" ones who are trying to get the good drugs, which is kind of the push now, a lot of the inmates now will claim they have mental illness because they think it will get them better bed assignments, better institutions and get a hold of the good meds to get high, and so and I don't like working with those at all because they don't know how to do it right and it takes it takes a lot to fake being mentally ill and being supervised by staff 24 hours a day it's hard to keep that up and very few people can do it and so those who are truly schizophrenic, paranoid schizophrenia, delusional disorders, I have one guy, big Native American guy thought he was a space police man he came to talk to me in 53:00my office one day and how he needs me to call his captain who is out by Mars or something and to let his captain know he's done with his assignment down here. So I told him I would let my supervisor know that she can call his captain and so that's just to IM for me he also believe that he had been in an explosion that he had any protective covering over his skin and he's a diabetic and so and he would go to health services unit and they would need to drop blood he would tell them they couldn't because they can't get a needle in and I worked with him for a while now and I said well explain to me how this all went down, so you can get the needle in but you can get it out usually those guys are in my unit 54:00for a long time, for several years and the staff is pretty stable there so we can usually get them to do things that they wouldn't do for other staff because we have that report with them. I did have them apparently guy who is delusional and paranoid he had a shot of (heldall) which is a very powerful psychotic it's pretty effective has some serious side effects but we give him one shot a month instead of a pill once a day and three days before his next shot he was decompensating, stressed out, felt like his insides were melting and he would walk over to the segregation unit and say "lock me up" and so one time, and he was also a sex offender, and he did not want to do sex offender treatment and one day I gott up and I get a written request from him and it said "dear social 55:00worker I thought you were going to try and kill me but I got my shot and I'm better now let's talk about treatment" ok good and so that population the mentally ill guys want to be normal and I think it's kind of upsetting when normal inmates act mentally ill because I don't think that actually want to be mentally ill and so I find that population to be easy to work with for me so they really are looking for people to understand them and get them and hear them out.

T: So I'm guessing you're glad you went to UWO then?

C: Yeah

T: No regrets?

C: No regrets, I liked the campus and the classes were good

56:00

T: All right I think we're about done, do you have any final thoughts?

C: Actually no

T: Alright thank you for doing this interview with me

C: You're welcome

T: I appreciate it, thank you.

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