Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome to Xanadu

Most of you who are reading this blog have no idea or clue about the world that I'm going to introduce you to. It's the world I live in, and have lived in for close to two decades now. I live in a prison, on death row. I have a dual purpose goal in creating this blog. First, I want more than anything to have a voice outside my world. (My "space" consists of a 6x9 cell 24/7/365). Second, I want to raise awareness in the outside world about the inside world, my world, which few people know about.

Many people may say to themselves, things like:
"Why should I care about such a world, where criminals dwell?"
"I didn't put them there, I'm not responsible for what happens to them now."
"What good would it do if I did care?"

You would be surprised. Capital punishment is a world that very few people in society truly understand. What many think is that it's supposed to be reserved for the worst of the worst criminals in America. (As well as in those other countries who still practice capital punishment) Where I live there are men from all walks of life. Yes there are some men on the row who actually qualify for capital punishment status, but the cruel reality is that 9 out of every 10 men and women on America's death rows, do not fit the criteria for what capital punishment was designed for. But like any beast, it needs to be fed to sustain it's livelihood. So, instead of having a system that works, 38 of our state governments end up warehousing condemned men and women for upwards of 20 years, which costs millions of dollars per inmate per year. By raising awareness about my world, I hope to also shed some light on how your tax dollars are being spent. Because unless you have a close friend or family member on death row, how would you really know?

Across the nation, many state governments are struggling to find ways to keep their economies above water. They're having to cut unknown millions or even billions from their budgets. Take California for instance, they have considered (very seriously I might add), issuing IOUs instead of giving the residents their tax refund checks! California is only 1 of 38 states that have this same problem, funding capital punishment. One of the ways they are attempting to solve this problem is by taking money from other important community projects to fund capital punishment. A system that doesn't even work! This makes no sense. The death penalty seems to serve no real purpose. It's not a deterrent, and keeping with the California example, it costs millions each year to feed the beast (An estimated 400 million per year). And this beast has been draining their economy for the past 19 years! You do the math. I'm saying that you can still keep the death row population locked up for just as long under a life sentence... for a fraction of the cost per person. So, why not?

Well, as you can see, I went off on a rant about something I'm very passionate about. And it's not just because I'm on death row myself, I promise you. It is my hope that with what little I have shared with you today, I can open up a few minds (or many hopefully) and we can create some really good dialogue here. I'm open to any questions you may have, not only concerning death row, but whatever else comes to mind. I intend to be as much of an open book as I can be. There are a few locked doors though; 1) I can not provide my true identity for safety reasons 2) For legal reasons, I can not talk about why I am here. I can only say that I don't belong here. And like many others on the row, there is more to me than where I live. There's more to each person on the row than the crime(s) they've been accused or convicted of. We're all human beings just like you, and I'll bet there's a whole lot more to you than the worst thing you've ever done or been accused of.... us too. (I hope that makes sense)

With any luck, I have sparked some interest and will get some responses. I'd like to chat some more. It feels good to have a voice and someone to listen to what I have to say. For anyone who would like to learn more about me, please feel free to leave your feedback. I will do my best to answer all questions. I do not have computer access, so my responses will take a week or two before they are posted. I pray you will be patient. And for those who do respond to my message, I thank you.

Peace and blessings,
BD Winslow



me gusta mucho tu blog, es muy interesante. espero que visites el mio y estare muy pendiente de las nuevas actualizaciones que realices.

un saludo muy especial desde cali,colombia

I like your blog is very interesting. I hope you visit mine and a close eye on the new updates you make.

a very special greeting from Cali, Colombia

Petit fleur said...

Dear BD,

Great first post! I agree with everything you said. Especially what you said about how the capital punishment is not a deterrent. I'd also like to add that it makes us all colder as human beings to participate in state sanctioned execution. (And by participation, I mean NOT speaking out against it, to continue allowing it.) We all have to stand up and tell our legislators we are not ok with what they are doing. I rant also!

I see your very first comment was from Columbia! That is so awesome!
I'm very proud of you for putting yourself out there. I hope this blog is everything you'd like it to be.

Ms. Moon said...

Keep writing. We'll be reading.

Zengoof said...

You amaze me. I have tremendous respect for the way you are able to carry yourself despite what you've gone though. Peace brother.

Lady Lemon said...

Wow, this is an amazing post! I am fascinated by prison life. To hear about it straight from someone on death row is so powerful.

I agree 100% that the death penalty is totally crap and a terrible way to approach a problem. Horribly barbaric, too. This goes for pretty much all of our prison and "justice system".

In addition to the millions (and billions) of dollars that could be saved by doing away with the death penalty, think of the good we could do for the prison system if we let out all the non-violent drug offenders. Then maybe prisons wouldn't be so over crowded and we wouldn't need to have so many.

Ok, that's another topic. I'll end my rant now. Thanks so much for sharing.

Spiral Dancer said...

I read this and straight away I think about the story from Orwell..a paragraph here I hope its ok to paste it...

It was about forty yards to the gallows. I watched the bare brown back of the prisoner marching in front of me. He walked clumsily with his bound arms, but quite steadily, with that bobbing gait of the Indian who never straightens his knees. At each step his muscles slid neatly into place, the lock of hair on his scalp danced up and down, his feet printed themselves on the wet gravel. And once, in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder, he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path.

It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working — bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming — all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned — reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone — one mind less, one world less.

I am against it everything about it and connected to it as we cannot evolve as long as we continue in this way..
I respect your courage and your gift of writing..I hope you can continue.
Love and blessings from across the Atlantic ..