Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Horrors of the Texas Death Penalty System

This is a disturbing graph. Texas has more executions than Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida and Missouri combined. Texas is set to execute its 500th inmate. The details of the murder committed by Kimberly McCarthy are gruesome. I am not arguing that she is a saint. However, the reinstatement of the death penalty was suppose to lower the murder rate. There is no evidence that the death penalty prevents murder. There is also the question of how many innocent men are women have been executed. Anthony Graves is the perfect example. Grave was wrongly sentenced to death by the state of Texas. His charges were dismissed in 2010.

Graves wrote this op-ed. Graves details the brutal conditions in the Texas prison system.
The jury had already convicted me of murdering six people and burning their house down to cover up the crime. I was completely innocent: they had the wrong guy. I was scared of dying for a crime I did not commit, but I knew I was innocent and hoped someone, somewhere would make it right.

What I didn't know then was that this wrongful death sentence was only part of the torture I would experience for the next 18 1/2 years. I didn't know that I would be forced to live in an 8-foot, by 12-foot cage. I didn't know I would have to use a steel toilet, connected to my steel sink, in plain view of the male and female corrections officers who would walk the runs in front of my cell. I didn't know that for years on end I would have no physical contact with a single human being.

I didn't know that guards would feed me like a dog, through a slot in my door. Instead of providing basic nutrients, the food sometimes contained rat feces, broken glass or the sweat of the inmate who cooked it. This diet caused me health problems that continue today.

The prison gave me no phone to call my loved ones, no television to keep up with the world and local events, and no real medical care. I lived behind a steel door, with filthy mesh-covered windows looking out to the run.

Ask yourself if wrongly imprisoning Graves and sentencing him to die prevented one murder.

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