Now that I've been blogging and commenting on the Dallas Morning News' Death Penalty Blog, I have been doing a lot of research on the internet and in person to see how people formulate their opinions on this issue. And this is a pretty big issue, but I don't think your average everyday citizen has given it much thought. It's kind of like you wouldn't think about the safety of child car seats if you didn't have a child. Most people confront this issue when it becomes personal. For me, it was meeting Khristian Oliver and you can read all about my experience with him when my essay Surrender appears in Ten Spurs out of UNT this summer. Or you can read older posts on this here blog.
Anyway, let's move on.
Instead of a sentence of death, I'm all for Life Without Parole as the option for the most heinous crimes. From what I learned at the Alternative Spring Break, the death penalty is three times more expensive than lifetime incarceration in a maximum security prison. So, what's the problem then? Why do certain people still want to kill people who have killed people to deter people from killing more people? Do people really think that life in prison is some sort of spa? I saw a laughably bad interview on Fox News from a lawyer who got a tour of death row and he saw an inmate "sleeping like a baby" with a Hershey's bar on his desk. The man couldn't believe that this person had access to chocolate. It was his belief that we are supposed to be PUNISHING these people, so why are they allowed to sleep and eat candy bars? Well, I don't know about you, but spending 23 hours a day in a tiny cell doesn't sound all that fun. In fact, it might induce depression which could lead to sleep, but that's just the human in me saying that.
So, if you are interested in seeing the living conditions of a Texas death row inmate, here's a great blog written by none other than a death row inmate named Thomas Whitaker. And no, he doesn't have a camera and internet access. He does it all through letters written the old fashioned way and the photos were provided via the Freedom of Information Act.
And just so you know, they don't hand out sleep number mattresses, down pillows or candy bars to the inmates. They are allowed to purchase items from the commissary. That is if they have money placed on their books by a friend or a family member. Many don't. I know, I know. It serves them right.
Anyway, I just thought I'd give you a little behind the scenes look at Texas' death row.