What would it be like for you to oversee an execution?
It would be challenging on a number of levels. This is difficult to answer.
I’ve had a great teacher in Warden Cain. He is professional and
compassionate. I’d like think I’d be that way. Its a strange process and
event. Staff are pulled in so many directions and we have so many people to
consider and assist during this time. I’d talk a lot to those around me.
I’d make it as transparent as possible and I’d remain as calm and helpful
as I could be. I don’t think I’d approach them all the same – outside of
course the official, legal requirements.
Click here to read the Huffington Post blog from Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
Shaun Attwood, a former inmate in Arizona’s prison system, writes under the pen name Jon. Sharing stories of his friends on the inside, his own experiences on the outside and campaigning against Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Read all about Jon’s life and stories right here.
Here’s another interesting blog about an interesting inmate.
Prison Pete has been bounced around prisons all over the country. He currently resides in a New York Prison and has his trusty editor post his letters to the blog site. Although he doesn’t have internet, his editor is pretty up to date with the site. Pete also encourages people to write to him, pen pal style.
Here’s a sample:
Location, location, location. After spending almost three year of my incarceration moving around from one county jail to another, I spent over five years on top of a mountain in West Virginia at Club Fed. In the federal system the only thing you can have sent to you through the mail are books. That is it. Anything else you need or desire must be purchased through the commissary. And we are not talking about a wide selection of items, certainly no Wal-Mart or even a local bodega or 7-Eleven!
After completing my time at Club Fed, I was taken to spend another eleven to fifteen years in the glorious facilities of the New York State Department of Correctional Services.
One major difference between here and Club Fed is that you are allowed to receive packages. Now you might ask what this package thing means. Slide down into a comfortable chair and I will explain.”
Click to read on…
When my father was granted parole….. Hallelujah!!!!! was all I could say. It was like the road that never was supposed to end, but finally there was an end and a new beginning for us all. With a green light that said just go. The best feeling ever!
Our relationship has grown stronger. We have really gotten a chance to get to know each other as who we are completely. Everyday is still a growing moment.
I am very proud of my father for the work that he does in the community. He changes peoples lives and inspires them.
Doing the motivational speeches with my father were very uplifting. I would love to see the effect that it had on the people we were speaking to. The questions that were asked. I enjoyed the fact of how we would change at least one person’s thought process.
I mostly tell others to stay focused on their goals.Do their best and be the best at all times. Never be a follower, always a leader. There will always be others to follow you even when you do not want them to. Whether it is a family member, friend, or just someone that is impressed by your style of being who you are. Show people what you are made of, not where you came from.
What are the next steps you see for corrections in America?
How to stop the growing numbers of those incarcerated without the chance of release. We have almost 3 million in prisons and jails and we live in “the land of the free?” We cannot afford to keep this up. We need to repair communities – especially health care and education opportunities and build less jails and prisons. I propose that prison officials work with communities and victims to assist in re-entry efforts. I’m proud of the efforts being made by my superiors in Louisiana on re-entry. We are heading in the right direction! Of course we should know this business as we lock up more people per capita than any other state!!
There are so many people walking around that are living behind their own private bars – bars no one else can see but them. Pain, fear, humiliation, anger, and shame, these are the bars a victim looks through every day. It is so easy to feel sorry for the people behind bars because you can see their physical bars, but no one sees the emotional ones that a victim faces every morning. You get up, comb your hair, brush your teeth, put on a smile, and the whole time you’re dying inside. For years that was my life. Sometimes I wondered why I existed, but somewhere deep inside me I knew God had a plan for me. It may be something as simple as me telling someone they can be free one bar at a time, then so be it! I’ll help you help me and together we can pull down the bars of pain, fear, anger, shame and finally be free.
After leaving prison I didn’t have any problems socializing, because I am a people person. I don’t meet strangers and can function well in most given situations involving people. I had a solid team of eight to ten people who had agreed to be my transition team and help me during my adjustment. All of them had agreed to be a “phone call away,” and promised to help me with any challenges I that i was facing.
I immediately became involved in the activities and events that were close to my heart. I hosted a radio talk show, was a co-host for a tv talk show, assisted in developing town hall and community meetings, worked with organizations that were focused on helping people who had been incarcerated for long periods of time. I became involved in ministries and men’s groups (all of which helped me to develop a personal foundation in society), and a public speaking organization like Toastmasters International. As a motivational speaker I travelled the country, but i also became a board member of organizations like the Innocence Project of New Orleans, La. Coalition for Reform, the Freedom Project, the Teen Summit, the Prison Foundation, am a Senior Justice Fellow with the Soros Foundation, etc., etc. All of these things helped me in my transition. I lived an active life as a leader in prison and I knew that is what I needed to do in society.
There was, however, something that was a challenge for me. I noticed, when I was first released from prison, that I began to have feelings of apprehension when the sun would begin to set. There was a part of me that really didn’t want to be out after dark because I didn’t want to be anywhere where someone might falsely accuse me of anything. Those feelings remained with me for several months, but when I began to travel they begin to diminish.
In the midst of all of my activities stood my transition team of men and women who vowed to help me during my transition. They were true to their word, and were always merely a “phone call away.”
Speaking at Vincent’s parole hearing was a very emotional time for me. I had never been to a parole hearing before. I had no idea what to expect or what would be expected of me. We pulled in to Angola, this massive and very intimidating prison only to learn that a film crew would be filming the parole hearing for a documentary. The only thing that could be worse at this point would be Vincent getting paroled. When it was time for the hearing they brought us into a small room, four men sat behind a long table in front of me, and the film crew to my left. I fought for my composer, my legs shaking, fighting back the tears I made my why to the chair and sat in front of the board members. I finally found the courage to speak. It was very intimidating having a film crew you didn’t expect, and four men who would decide you fate. To say the least we left there physically and emotionally drained.
My last day in prison was filled with mixed feelings. There was a part of me that was excited, happy and looked forward to the adventure of being free. There was another part of me that felt like I was leaving many parts of my heart behind. I was leaving men who had become family. We had grown up together and survived many challenges over the years. We were survivors who had conquered our little world and become leaders within our society. We had built a lot of life enriching programs and ministries that helped the institution over the years and i was leaving those friends behind.
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