The Death Penalty in America

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State of Texas Death Chamber

UPDATE: Some new information on prisoners and incarceration is coming in that may reveal an alternative route to the current criminal justice system.  Developments posted as developments occur.  Few months I hope.

I will not defend nor will I condemn the Death Penalty.  I've never lost someone close to me to a violent death at the hands of a murderer. I cannot therefore know how I would feel in the event of losing someone in this manner.   At the next level the method by which that individual was murdered would seem to come into play.   I would think that if my friend or loved one died a horrible, painful death, that I would want the other person to suffer the same or worse.   The reason I am placing this on my website is because I just saw the movie called "The Life of David Gale." It is my hope that many people will see this movie, which was very well done and is very thought provoking.   It was filmed at the Texas Department of Corrections and the story is based on a Texas Death Row Inmate.  It actually didn't get the best reviews but is a very thought provoking film I enjoyed a great deal.  I like Kevin Spacey's work.    Although fictional, it captures the intensity of the situation.   

"Life in a Dungeon is not a life." SS

Close Cell Number 27 by activating (>) the control switch below (with or without music playing):

The other reason is because I am from Texas, which I am pretty sure is currently the execution capital of the World and may have been since the return of the death penalty.  I believe the death penalties purpose is to deter people from committing horrible acts, and somewhat for retribution.  I do wonder just exactly how many killings have not occurred because the person thought about it and said "I won't do it - death penalty!"    Do people that do these unspeakable acts think about the consequences.   I don't know and every case varies.  I wish I knew, because I don't feel as good about being from Texas if we are indeed wrong for taking these peoples lives.  That is why the Governor of Illinois amazed me so much, by clearing the entire death row in his state.  Someday I want to film boot hill with Peter Gabriel's Red Rain, maybe with a red filter interlaced.  For those that don't know, Boot Hill is the prison graveyard in Texas where all prisoners who either die or are executed and don't have any one to claim them are buried.  Just a prison number adorns the simple white cross.  Also, the movie The Shawshank Redemption is a great movie.  While possibly not for younger audiences (pre-teen) it is a great movie.

NOTE:  Also, beginning Sunday January 1st, 2006, In Justice premieres on ABC Television which details cases of people unjustly imprisoned, 9 p.m. Central Time.  It will then be on Thursdays thereafter I believe. 

SHOW DESCRIPTION: A team from the National Justice Project, led by an ethically shaky but tremendously talented lawyer and his chief investigator, an ex-cop, works to exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners. The group also looks to find the people really responsible for the crimes for which their clients are serving time.

BRIEF HISTORY: Robert King and Michelle King and Stu Bloomberg are the executive producers.

Additionally, I also consider the death penalty from the standpoint of being in that position myself. The two ultimate judgments in the United States are Life without Parole or Death. In Texas the only inmates never allowed to view a television are those on death row. (Those that are in lockdown are supposed to be able to either recreate or watch TV one hour per day.) So if my choice were Life without Parole or Death, I would choose death, as I see it right now. Actually being in that position might provide a different perspective and thus a different decision, however as I see it now I would definitely choose death.

I don't think it appropriate to consider the financial aspects of this situation. Life is sacred. However, for the record, to house a maximum security inmate costs the State of Texas around 40,000 per year roughly. If that person is housed for 30 years, it comes to 1.2 million dollars. I believe currently there are over 400 inmates on Death Row in the State of Texas.

Some of you may or not be aware, but the Governor of Illinois actually commuted the death penalty of every prisoner on Death Row in Illinois due to serious questions being raised regarding the interrogation techniques of the Chicago and other Illinois Law Enforcement Organizations Police Department.  They were not freed, but their sentence to death was converted to a sentence of Life in Prison.  There were other issues besides this, but the Governor stated that enough improprieties were found with the cases thoroughly investigated to commute the sentence of virtually every inmate on death row in Illinois. I have extreme respect for this Governor.  For those that would condemn the Governor for taking this action, I believe you should condemn those whose methods violated the principles set forth in the U.S. Constitution which subsequently led to this mass exodus from the Illinois State Death Row, and the fellow officials that looked the other way while this was occurring.  If investigations had not revealed serious problems such as these in a few of the cases, then the majority of those whose sentences were commuted would still be on death row and not serving life now instead.   Is it better to free 100 guilty men from the penalty of death and give them LIFE in prison instead, than to accidentally kill one innocent person?   I personally believe so.  The thought that we might accidentally execute a person that was innocent is inconceivable.  

Note: For the family and friends of those who died at the hands of murderers in Illinois whose sentences were reduced from the Death Penalty to Life, I sympathize with those of you who were hurt by this decision.  It would take something horrible beyond my personal comprehension to leave me with the desire for someone's life to taken from them.   Although you see a lot of horror stories on TV, I don't believe a person can fathom the pain a person would experience with the loss of a loved one, especially a family member, and especially a child.  Pray for healing.

If all of the politicians in America were this gutsy, our country would be even better than it is.  While I believe that America is the greatest country in the World, there is always room for improvement.  I do believe the Canadians are doing a lot of things right also, and have tremendous respect for them.

Use my Info Requests form to register your thoughts, suggestions or criticisms regarding this information about death row. And if you ever have a chance to see the movie The Life of David Gale, with Kate Winslet and Kevin Spacey, do so.

Learn more about this movie by clicking: Movie Info

"Do not repay evil with evil, for evil will repay itself - vengeance is mine saith the Lord."

Other Links on this site related to the Death Penalty:

The following 3 pages about the Death Penalty cover Texas Department of Corrections officials thoughts and explanations of the death process in Texas, taking you through each and every step the prisoner makes up to the injections of the poisons, and in total they have viewed nearly over 500 executions collectively.  The Bible link addresses the words contained in the Bible about crime and punishment, and finally the Amnesty International page provides information and links to this fantastic organization. 

Witness The Bible Amnesty Intl

Sarah McLachlan - In the Arms of an Angel