Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Power of a hug

 December 8th, 2009

Good day to all.  I want to share a little something with you.   This year is coming to an end, and after all, I would have to say that this year has been a hard one.   Isolation can effect us in so many ways, and on so many levels, and sometimes we don't even realize how much until something happens that reminds us of who we are.

When I was out there in the free world, I thought I had a pretty good life.  I had pretty good friends, a good job, and like most of us, I took a lot of it for granted.  Especially the closeness of someone I really cared about, and how we hugged each other whenever wee would meet up.  How we expressed how much we cared.  That part of my life is almost non-existent now, (or it feels that way in isolation).  So I rarely ever get to hug or touch another human being anymore, unless someone comes to visit me.  In here you just don't do that.  The more emotion you display, the weaker you are portrayed  as a man.  As silly as that sounds, it is the reality we live in here.

I had a lovely visit a couple of days ago from a really good friend and her 4 year old son.  I was feeling really bad, and quite alone before their visit.  It's difficult to put into words my state of mind at the time, but two people I had known for many years passed away from cancer (a week prior to this visit).  That they both died of cancer is disturbing enough, (Cancer is the #1 cause of death on the row), but it was more they way everyone seemed to just take it all in stride, like, "Oh well", that really got my attention.  There was no moment of silence, no wake, no memorial service, no gathering of friends and family to send them off in some kind of dignified manner.  One day they were here, occupying a cell, and the next they were just gone.  And the runners (The clean up crew) were in there cells picking through their personal belongings... taking what they wanted of value, and tossing the rest into garbage bags.  No emotions.  No respect for whose property it was.  It was just garbage to them.  Then they prepare the cell for the next occupant.

These men who lived and died in these cells, I don't know how they ended up here.  I only know that they were human beings with families, wives, children, brothers, sisters, and they died... alone, without so much as a hug or a goodbye.  To most people in here it was so routine,  It made me realize that we're all just waiting for the same fate.  How many of us sit here 10, 20, 30 years and never get a visit from anyone?  No human contact at all. 
No hugs
No holding someones hand
No meaningful conversations
No sitting together and eating junk food with someone
No laughing

The simple human gestures most of us take for granted everyday, just do not happen here.  It didn't really dawn on me until I was sitting there next to my friend, watching her incredibly happy son playing games, just how lucky I am to have someone in my life, who cares that much about me... That would go to such lengths to visit me and hug me and let me know I am loved.

I really needed that reminder that week.  I needed that human contact.  I was feeling really bad about the pressure of this environment and how vulnerable we really are in here.  I know in my heart that if something happened to me in here, that I would be missed a great deal.  But, sometimes I think about some of the men around me, who get no visits (and some, no mail either), or any human contact at all, and I wonder, "who if anyone will miss them"?  The truth is that people who used to care about them, love them, miss them, forgot about them long ago.   Most of the time, when someone back here passes away, I'm as much a part of the "it's routine" mentality as the next guy...  on the outside anyway.

I guess that most men back here would confess that it's much easier not to allow yourself to feel anything for anyone.  But we're not really built like that are we?  Because no matter how much we try to man up and hide our feelings from one another, when someone around us dies, all alone like that, it does effect us.  It effects each and every one of us, because we all know that next time, it could easily be any one of us... and that we are not as invincible as we act on the outside.  Even those of us who are really good at acting the part.  Normally, I'm as good as the next guy, but this past weekend, when I was playing word games and hide and seek and looking out the window with my friend and her son, I was reminded of just how much of a human being still exists inside me.  And how much I need and crave that human contact.  All it took was a simple hug from a child to remind me that I haven't lost sight of myself like so many men around me have.  

Most people in society would look at us and see cold uncaring remorseless individuals, but what they don't see, is that under the surface of each one, is a scared and helpless person who doesn't know any other way to be in this environment except to shut everyone and everything down inside and just survive.  I know how easy it is to go to that place.... but for the wonderful friends I have in my life who never allow me to forget how much I'm loved, that I matter, I could easily see myself there... walking around like a zombie.  I have been there.

I'm reminded with each letter and each visit how fortunate I am to get a hug or just hold someone's hand and hear those words, "I love you".  These simple gestures are what make us all human, in here and out there.  Like water, we also need physical contact, even if it's just a hug to remind us that we matter.  I'm so very grateful that I haven't lost sight of that part of me... and I haven't become the monster the system has portrayed me to be.

Much peace and love, and a happy holiday wish.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here I am.

Good day to all,

I would like to first thank everyone for their patience. I do understand that this is an especially unique way of communicating, and sometimes (because of my own situation) I'm not able to respond or post when I would like to. I would also like to point out that this way of communicating, (on such a mass level) is very new to me. When I was an outsider, (out there), they had not yet invented the Internet. (Or so Al Gore claims). No Internet, no laptops, i-pods or cell phones. So the only way I ever learned to communicate was either via phone or face to face. I rarely ever wrote a letter when I was out there. In fact, I don't ever recall writing one. So, as you can imagine, this new age of communication is at the very least like a brand new shiny toy on Christmas morning! Or in adult terms, a God Send, to me.

I really appreciate each and everyone of the responses i get each time. And these last one's are no less fantastic than the first ones. Here goes.

LAURA-- Thank you for your concern about my health situation. I wish I could tell you it has improved. I've seen a doctor twice, but as yet have not been physically examined. Each time I'm told that x-rays are scheduled, and I'll be seen soon....and the waiting list is looooong, etc.. Hopefully I will see someone and get some answers real soon. When this happens (good or bad) you will know by my own post. As far as what I like to draw, all kinds of things really. My favorites I guess are both nature scenes and certain animals. If it is possible, I'll post some of my art soon. Thank you for asking. I hope you are well Laura. Much peace, BDW

ZENGOOF-- You are correct in your comments about how the row is not where one generally expects "the truth" to come from. But i think that is pretty much the truth for any level of incarceration and especially solitary confinement. Anytime you toss a bunch of souls into a pen (from all walks of life) it is like placing them all in an arena at the same time. The strong are going to prevail, and the weak will fade away into the shadows. I guess what i mean to say here without taking up too much space is that it's really easy to walk into this place and pretend to be someone you are not. If you throw 9 blue chips on the table and one white chip, then the white one will stand out the most. So goes the same for personalities in here. It's real easy to act the part of a bad ass, because everyone expects you to, or you become a target. But it's really hard to walk in these doors as you are and retain that genuine personality and survive. But in my mind, a real survivor is a man who stands fast no matter what life throws at him. Someone who is unwilling to compromise his core beliefs and go with the flow. Then he will survive no matter what. my definition of survival may be different from yours. I feel like in many ways, I've already survived the brunt of the storm. It's so easy to put on an act when you walk into this arena. It's much harder to walk around in your own skin. But if life has taught me anything, of value, it's that you can swim in a pond full of sharks, but you don't have to be one to survive. you only need to remind yourself (constantly) that the sharks are trying to survive the only way they know how as well. As for the truth.... you really have to reach far beyond this place not only to find it, but to "be" it. The only way I know that to be even a possibility is to have people in your life that believe in you. You won't find that in here, unless you seek it within. In here, the more colorful you are, the better your chances of fitting in.

Strength and determination are not qualities you can fabricate or buy off the canteen. You either have them, or you don't. These qualities are developed and refined through the most difficult periods of our lives, through our mentors, and the people we choose as friends. I'm not any more unique than the next person. I just refuse to be another statistic when i have a choice. Much peace to you Zengoof, BDW

MAY--Thank you very much for your comments about my last post., its sad to say, but the article you mentioned (you read in AZ) is very common in prisons. Not only across America, but on a global level. i remember when I first came here. it was around this time of year, and the prison I was in had basically no windows, no heat, no AC. It was infested with rats and cockroaches, ants and the building itself was well over 100 years old. Then i eventually moved to a new facility designed for death row under the assumption that our living conditions would be better. They were not. There was still no heat in the winter and no A/C in the summer. And like many other places across the country, we battled the inhumane conditions out in the federal court system, "and lost. the only compromise was an 8" fan in the summer which merely circulates the 100 degree temps.

I do agree with you that our judicial system is not meant to encourage rehabilitation. it's designed to punish and keep on punishing. Under the Clinton admin, a bill was passed called the Death Penalty Reform Act. In that bill many of the rehab programs that were in place (Not just D. Row, but population too) were eliminated. We used to be able to finish school, go to Junior College, learn a trade, get counseling, and at least have the opportunity to prepare yourself to re enter society. Most of these opportunities are a thing of the past now. The only education there is now is how to be a better criminal. The system is not meant to rehabilitate, but to encourage recidivism. Prison is an industry as much as an institution. The more beds it fills, the more jobs it creates. It is really sad that the true reality is that no matter what you are in prisoned for, nothing in your life that you did good counts for anything. you are forever judged by what brought you to this place and in mainstream society, it's the general consensus that you are no longer worthy of rehabilitation. it's because most people are led to believe this. Unless you personally know someone who is incarcerated or someone close to you knows someone, you rarely give this subject (or a more appropriate title, "human rights issue") a second thought. When you do become enlightened you feel as you so well put it: distrust, paranoia, and resentment in a system you were/are led to believe works to better a person who has made mistakes in life. Thank you so much for your insights and concern. I hope I hear more from you. Much peace and best wishes to you, BD

DEXTERDAMA-- You pose a really good question on how do I cope on a day to day bases. It's one of the most difficult questions for me, and I've yet to be able to give a reasonably logical answer. I am usually asked this question in person and my response is always the same. "I cope because I have to" My response works for me because I don't know how to answer that question in my own words without getting too emotional when asked in person. Everyone here copes in their own way. Most just simply accept that this is all life will ever be for them, and they simply surrender to the beast and become institutionalized- inside and out. They eat, drink, sleep, breath this environment. Most shed whatever part of their humanity they brought to this place. I used to look at this as a sign of weakness, but I now know that it's the only way most people know how to survive under such extreme conditions. For me, the reason i choose to take the different route and try to hold on to who I am verses becoming an institutionalized zombie , you would have to know where I come from. (That would take a novel!) But the short answer would be that from the moment I was born the odds have been very heavily stacked against me. I've had to struggle and fight my whole life to survive... an as you can guess, this has been by far my toughest hurdle yet. Just the thought of coming this far and giving up now , after fighting so hard to survive, and knowing that I have certain people in my life now who have sacrificed so much of themselves because they believe in me. That alone is reason enough for me to find a reason to wake up each day and take on whatever challenges await me. But I also refuse to believe that for all the adversity in my life I've had to endure, that this is my reward. How can anyone in their right mind believe that this is what (whomever they chose to hold these religious beliefs with/to) their creator intended for them? Religion is something I've struggled with all my life and something I'm not very comfortable discussing openly. (It usually gets me into trouble :-) I am in my own way very spiritual and it does help me cope with the day to day world in here.
I really appreciate your curiosity /concern as to how i manage to access a sense of peace or joy in the midst of my reality. Knowing that you are not forgotten and are still loved is a ray of light. It's a constant reminder that this is NOT my reality, but a reality I'm forced to exist in for now. I hope what little I've offered here helps to answer your question DD, and I hope to hear more from you in the future.
Much peace, BD

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Greetings Everyone,

First of all I want to say that this is Petit Fleur and not BD... I have been totally overwhelmed and frazzled lately, and as a result, ave not kept up with BD's postings as well as I'd liked. I am at least one post behind... We also just had a great visit last Sunday and he told me that more are coming. He also asked me to pass along a message to all of you:
"Hello Everyone, Thanks so much for hanging in there. I'll be back as soon as possible".

I apologize also that this is such a cumbersome process, but please please keep checking back!

And welcome to our newest member, J. I just discovered you on our member list. Thanks for joining us in Xanadu.

Stay tuned everyone, and happy fall.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inside Xanadu

Good Morning to all,

I hope you are all having a beautiful peaceful day. it's 9:22am where I'm at, and I have to tell you that I'd rather be anywhere but in this sweat box right now. Even though it's early in the day, the temperature is 90+ in my cell. By 1 or 2pm, it will reach or exceed 100 degrees. My only reprieve is an 8" fan that does nothing more than to circulate the hot dry air, that by the way, is recycled. So it not only is it hot, it smells bad, and you don't even have to move around in here to before you begin to sweat. It feels a lot like you just worked a double shift at a greasy spoon.

On death row, (or at least where I'm at) you're only allowed three showers per week. (Mon, Wed & Fri) The rest of the 4 days, you're forced to improvise, get creative and maintain your personal hygiene in any way you can. This can be comical at best. I call my "method" a bird bath. I sit on the toilet and pour cool water over the top of me. I know this doesn't make for appealing reading, but if you want to know who I am, then you need to know where I am, and what my life here is like. This is who and where I am right now.

I want to share some thing else with you all that I prefer to call a "reality check". For the most part, I've always been a pretty healthy guy. I exercise religiously, and for my age, I'm in better physical shape than most guys half my age, (not only here, but out there as well). Not much in this world causes me to feel much fear. I can tell you some pretty wild brutal stories that molded me into the fearless person I am today, but there are hidden fears in this world that have brought some of the most powerful, strongest, wealthiest men and women to their knees. I'm talking about the "C" word. You would think that where I live, the biggest cause of death would be execution, but that's not the case. The biggest cause of death here is cancer. I've been here for 19 years now, and twice as many men have died of cancer than any other cause. I personally know of 15 people in the last 10 years who have either already passed away from cancer or who are now receiving treatment for it. So when I started to notice and feel changes taking place in my own body, I started to get a little concerned. At first that they were little subtle changes and I just assumed it was the change in my diet. (Most DOC budgets have taken enormous hits because of each state's recession. The areas hardest hit are the food dept. and medical dept.) The food itself hasn't changed, there's just a lot less of it. These changes in my body have gradually become worse over a 2 month period of time, until my concern let me to consult my best friend out there. I'm not convinced it's the big "C" because as of yet, I haven't seen a qualified doctor. That's not why I'm telling you all of this though. I'm telling you this because regardless of what the outcome is, it's forced me to pay closer attention, and realize that I'm just as vulnerable ans susceptible to these situations as the next man. No matter how physically strong or healthy I thin I am. I have so many wonderful dreams that I still want to achieve in my life. So many places I still want to see. Places, people and things that I think about and dream about every day in here. I've never been afraid of dying. It's something we will all face and have to come to terms with one day, but I'm scared to death that I'll never get to really live. You only exist in a place like this, but you always dream, telling yourself that "one day" you will get your freedom and be able to resume your life. I don't feel like I've really ever had that chance yet. There have been so many obstacles in my path, so much chaos, and right now I'm a little scared that another obstacle could be lurking in the dark somewhere. ~ Just beyond my vision. And it's situations like this that teach us just how fragile life is, and can be. My best friend, bless her heart, is the ultimate optimist, and I could not have confided in anyone else but her about this fear. Even if it turns out to be something minor & curable, it was/is still a wake up call for me. It's reminds me that this prison has many more faces than the gates, bars and fences that hold me here.

I will of course keep you up dated as I go through the process of trying to figure out what is going on with me medically. You can't just pick up a phone and make an appointment for the doctor in here. There's a much slower process you have to deal with. As of yet, I've not gotten word of when I'll see a doctor. One more think you might want to know is that "general population" and "death row" are treated differently. We here on the row are already sentenced to die, so our medical needs and concerns are not as big of a priority as someone with an actual release date.

I have lots more to say, but for now, I'll just say that I really appreciate you all listening to me. What I write here is personal, yes, but it is also about awareness. I don't want to come off as a complainer, because but for the grace of 'whomever" is in charge, I could be writing from some 3rd world country where conditions are a hundred times worse than where I am. I welcome and appreciate any questions or feedback on what I wrote here. If you want to know more about me (not just the death row inmate title), please feel free to ask.

Much much peace to your all,
BD Winslow

Monday, August 17, 2009

Some thoughts, and some answers

Good afternoon to everyone,

I hope its a bit cooler where you all are. I believe it's hovering around the 100 degree mark here in my cell today.

I deeply apologize to all of you who have responded to my lasts blogs, and have patiently waited for my next one. Again I do not personally have access to a computer, so the process takes quite a bit more time than normal. I greatly appreciate your patience.

Before I answer some of my responses to you, I want to share something with you that I found a couple of days ago. It's one of those things where some one lets too much power go to their head. This is the case with Connecticut's Governor Jodi Rell.

On March 4th in Connecticut, the "Judiciary Committee" had a hearing on the death penalty, and recommended abolition. On March 31, by a vote of 24 to 13, a bill was drafted (Bill-HB-G578). This bill was then debated by the House and passed on May 13th by a majority of 90-56. The bill passed the Senate, where it was passed 19-17 votes on May 22nd. BUT, Governor Jodi Rell, made it clear that she would veto the bill. Never mind that every one else seen the need to abolish the death penalty in this state. She alone decided it was not going to happen, even if it means the tax payers will continue to pay for something that the majority of them don't want any longer. This is a clear example of how you can entrust some people with way too much power.

In Virginia, Governor Kaine vetoed a bill that would have expanded the death penalty to include accomplices to murder, and to those who kill on duty fire Marshal's or auxiliary police officers. He also vetoed a bill that would have made it easier to purchase and carry guns. The Senate failed to over ride the vetoes. So on one side of the coin, the law makers wanted to expand the reach of the death penalty to various crimes (violent crimes), and on the flip side, they want to pass laws to make it easier for people to purchase and carry guns. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

On to answering responses.

To: Cesar R Klinger-- Cesar, thank you for your words of appreciation. I can not personally visit your site, but my friend can send me print outs. I would very much like to know more about you and your site/blog.

To: Ms Moon-- Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you will keep reading.

To: Zengoof-- I appreciate the respect you have for me and my situation. I could have gone further and explained that capital punishment is arbitrarily applied, and maybe I should have. Most tax payers don't even realize the power a judge alone has in interpreting the law when it comes to capital cases... "especially when it comes to jury recommendations". It is in my opinion, another example of someone abusing their power for their own personal convictions/beliefs. I really appreciate all of your feed back, and look forward to hearing more from you. I know it is harder to see quiet as peace out there, as opposed to in here, but I would certainly welcome the madness and distractions of every day life. Even after 19 years on the row, I still miss all that. It's a different kind of peace in here my friend. In here it is borrowed peace. You can feel it one second, and the next it's gone. you can't run from the chaos and all the noise. Where I found most of my peace, is in my memories, or the friendships I've been fortunate enough to forge over the years with people on the outside. They constantly remind me that I'm still alive and not just another statistic. Much Peace, BD

To: Lady Lemon-- Thank you for your comments. Sometimes when I think about some of the things I write about this place I'm in, I still can't fully grasp the reality of it all. When I was "out there" as a free man, I never really considered my stance/opinions on the death penalty. i know the streets fairly well, yet until I became a capital defendant, i simply can't remember ever hearing much of anything concrete about the death penalty, other than it existed. Looking back now, I don't consider that I was ignorant, but like most of society, I was kept in the dark as to how it was applied and to whom. you mentioned the prisons being so over crowded because of non-violent drug offenders. I agree with you that this is a serious malfunction in the prison system. The feds figured this out a couple of years ago, and they let a lot of drug offenders out. I don't recall any states adopting their methods though. But you have to keep one thing in mind when you consider how there's so much over crowding in every state in the country. It is a billion dollar industry. It is in many towns and cities, the largest employment opportunity. Between the federal system and the state prisons, there are over 1.5 million prisoners locked up in America. I'd say at least 60% of them are for non-violent crimes. Even though I've been in the belly of this humongous beast for all these years, like you, I still have a great deal to learn about it. Thank you so much for your comments and I hope to hear more from you!
Peace, BD

To: Spiral Dancer-- Yes it was ok to pose what you did about Orwell. (I'm guessing your referring to George Orwell. I'm reading 1984 now) When people vote for the death penalty, I don't think the vast majority really stop and think "too deeply" about the mechanics of it. How it is applied, who it's reserved for and most of all, that they're voting to kill/murder/execute another human being. One that could easily be their brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, uncle or some one they grew up with. Or that despite this one mistake they made, or were accused of making, they were /are some one's son/daughter with souls and human abilities most people never get to see. I've met some pretty gruesome men on the row over the years, but the vast majority of the men I've come to know, despite their crimes, are just every day normal human beings that sit in a cell for 20-30 years and waste away. Their true characters are never seen, their dreams are never realized and the only thing that is remembered about them, is not any good they ever did, but the worst thing they ever did/or were accused of doing. So it is easy for someone to say "I'm for the death penalty", when the human aspect is eliminated from the equation. Can you tell me which Orwell book you quoted from?
Thanks for your sharing and support. BD

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Freedom's just another word...

Good day to all who take the time to visit my little island, Xanadu. It's a beautiful day outside today. I woke up around 4:30 am to a commotion outside my window. it was a pair of sparrows flirting and chasing each other around. Oblivious to the sleeping humans on the other side of the window screen. They playfully filled the early morning air with their little voices, while we shamelessly invade so much of their world & space... Why should they care about us?

That's what I want to talk a little bit about today. The freedom to exist, and censorship. They are kind of like yin and yang. here in America, the word freedom is interpreted in so many different ways, with so many conditions attached. Do you really ever enjoy the unconditional right of freedom? What about freedom of expression, or speech? How often are you criticized openly or behind your back for being different in how you express yourself? Freedom is a real tricky word. It has so many different sizes and shapes to it... and in most instances, it fits into everyone's everyday life. But there are also many walks of life where freedom is interpreted in a negative way. I could write a book (or two!) on this subject. Instead, I just want to share a little something I wrote from my own personal experiences.

Between Times

Sitting here in the dark, just before the dawn, the stillness of the night soothes my weary soul.
It is here in these moments between dusk and dawn where my anxieties and fears are asleep with the rest of the chaos that engulfs the brutal little space I am forced to exist in every day.

I sit here in the darkness of my tomb, alone with my thoughts. Free to allow them to run rampant and undetected. My cell front is open and I am constantly on display, much like a mannequin in a storefront window--- exposed to anyone who may walk past. And they do, every 15 minutes.

Each soul that passes by, has it's own unique opinion or assumption about who/what I am and yet they haven't a single clue of where I came from or what really brought me to this display case.

Each cell is like it's own little piece of art. They all tell a different story. And each exhibit is judged and criticized and on display for anyone who passes by each day.

The true depth of each soul and their unique characters are never revealed. They are constantly smothered beneath a blanket of hatred and accusation and cold assumption.

It is only in these between times, the hours between dusk and dawn where most of the lights are out, that I am able to meditate and relax my mind. I can allow my spirit to soar and my imagination to contemplate what might have been and what still could be. My mantras run wild and free, soaring across the deep blue skies in the early morning breeze where there is still a blanket of dew covering most of mother earth and the smell of freedom fills you up inside.

I can see, feel and sense all that I long for surrounding me as I meditate and allow my soul to slip through these bars and flex my imagination before the clock strikes 6 and the noise of the keys in the doors jar me back to reality and a place where I can no longer be myself.

It is time to put on my dull mask and act the part I am forced to play in this unrelenting game of cat and mouse. The lights are on now, let the judging begin. Just fake a smile and maybe they will move on to the next exhibit. For they do not know any better.

Until we cross paths again, I bid you peace and hope that you enjoyed my ramblings and whatever you define as freedom. I have to go now, and play my part.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Capital punishment--- A black hole

Good day to everyone,

I know that those of you who visited "Inside Xanadu" in February have been patiently waiting for my next post, and i greatly appreciate your patience. I mentioned in the last post, circumstances are such that I can not always respond as promptly as I may wish to, but I promise I will try to do so in a reasonably short time.

I have enjoyed the responses that I got from my first post. Some of them I can mention now.

--Cali in Columbia,
I appreciate your feed back. This is new to me, but I have a great deal to say. I would like to hear more from you and see what your blog is all about.
Thanks also to PF for your feeback, and yes it does make each person a bit colder to participate in a state sanctioned execution. I know that I may very well offend and even anger some people by that statement, but it's not my intention to do so.

Most people in general have no idea what it really entails to execute another human being. It's easy to sit back and say I'm for capital punishment, but what if performing an execution were like jury duty? ---What if your state government sends you a notice to appear and to participate in an execution? ---It's not really that different than admitting you are in support for capital punishment. What if the condemned was a relative or close friend? ---I know that most supporters of capital punishment believe in the "Eye for an eye" thing, but what does that really mean? ---Do we really believe that God or Jesus meant that we should kill each other for renvenge or justice? When a human being is executed, is there really closure? Or satisfaction? ---I do not mean any disrespect to anyone who may read this who may be a victim or relative of a victim. I can never begin to understand your pain or loss, but like you and everyone else, these questions are constantly part of my everyday life. I am only seeking answers.

Here are a few legitimate facts about the cost of capital punishment. For each man or woman who is sentenced to death in America, from the time they are arrested till their execution date, it is costing, on average, 3.5 million dollars per individual. If you factor in that there are close to 3500 people on death row in America, we're talking close to 11 billion dollars! And, ironically, only a very small percentage of that 3500 will actually be executed by the state. Many will have reduced sentences or die in prison before their execution date. (Many die of cancer) And the tax payers will have paid at least 10x more to house each person on death row than if they were sentenced to life without parole.

New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson signed into law on March 19th (or there abouts) a bill to abolish capital punishment in NM because it costs his tax pyers too much money to keep capital punishment on the books. As we speak, 10 other states are considering the same action, and Texas, of ALL STATES is among the 10 in question! New Jersey also abolished the death penalty in 2008 for some of the same reasons. (Cost and lack of quantifiable evidence that captial punishment is a deterrant). States like Maryland and Kansas both have bills in their state legislature to also abolish the death penalty. I believe Maryland is in the final stages, only waiting for the governor's signature.

All this information leads to one clear and obvious conclusion--- Capital punishment costs too much money and energy to continue. Money and energy that an be used in other more positive ways for our communities, like education and recreational programs for children and youths. To keep capital punishment alive for the states that have it, functions more as a political trophy than a meaningful crime deterrant. It's a beast that just sits idle and eats up huge chunks of money and energy and adds to the quotient of suffering in the world.

As always, I pray that my questions and opinions are not offensive or hurtful to anyone who may read them. I'm just another human being trying to find my way through a very confusing and divided world. I appreciate any of your feed back or questions.

Much peace,
BD Winslow