LIFE AT TERRELL
Imagine living 23 hours each day in a cell 6 feet
by 10 feet. Now imagine that the floor, walls, and
ceiling are all concrete with only one window which
is approximately 6 inches by 48 inches. Imagine
that your door is solid steel except for two small
openings 6 inches by 24 inches, and they are
covered by wire so that only the fingers can be
stuck through to the outside.
Imagine that there is no television and no air conditioning. You are cooled by a system called tempered air, which uses water to cool the air. If you do not have family or friends to support you with money you can't afford to purchase a fan or radio so you sit in the Texas heat and try to pass the hours reading, sleeping, or talking to your neighbor. Of course you can barely hear your neighbor because the noise echoes due to the design of the building and because you have to yell to be heard. When many others are trying to talk to their friends by yelling the noise is deafening. None of this is imagined, but reality. Life on death row at Terrell Unit in Livingston, Texas is one of almost complete isolation with only the guards, someone from the infirmary, or an occasional Chaplain to come by and break the boredom. Think about never feeling the touch of a caring human, never feeling the touch of a kind arm around your shoulder for encouragement. The only human contact is when a guard grabs your wrist to cuff you or uncuff you. Think about having to see your family and loved ones through a glass window and longing to hold your child or hug your wife. Your mind brings sweet thoughts of past moments of tenderness and then your mind jerks you down into a living hell knowing that you will never experience these things again. For those who have stood outside the cell doors in the heat with perspiration streaming down their face and back they know all to well the suffering of those who are locked away from society. For those who have listened to men who have given up hope and are thinking of dropping their appeals they know the depths of despair and depression.
Society may say that killing by lethal injection is
punishment, but society is WRONG. For most, dying
is an escape, a relief from the harsh life of day
to day survival. Of trying to encourage yourself
against overwhelming odds. Death is not feared by
most on death row because it is the door to a
better life. A life where they will be loved and in
the presence of God. For those who have not become
a Christian death holds no fear as they have
personally experienced it. If society truly wants
to exact punishment they would abolish the death
penalty tomorrow and sentence men to life in prison
without parole. No, society does not want justice
or punishment, they want revenge. And the more
cruel and inhumane the conditions, the better they
Those who judge harshly would do well to remember that they too will one day stand in judgment. Sin is sin and a murderer is no more guilty than a liar or cheat. Does not Scripture teach us that with whatever judgment we judge others, we ourselves will be judged.
I don't know about you but I prefer to show mercy and compassion so I can stand and ask for mercy and compassion on that day of judgment.