Welcome to Insight Death Row. This is a blog intended to offer its readers a realistic glimpse into the everyday lives of death row prisoners, and of prisoners in general, held in the U.S. prison system. During the course of my posts, I hope to touch on many issues and teach those who are interested how things really are in this bizarre alternate existence, which is so poorly understood by those outside its bars, walls, and fences.
Why do I feel this blog is necessary? As far as I can tell, nearly everything the average person believes they know about prison is false. The prison stereotypes, perpetuated by Hollywood films, for the most part do not exist. The numerous prison reality shows on TV contain as little "reality" as do any other series of that ilk. The statistics quoted by ill-informed news hosts are often misleading at best, if not outright incorrect. Opinions offered by politicians on the subject, whether conservative or liberal, are mere propaganda, intended only to support their respective agenda, and have little basis in truth. The so-called "prison experts" are often the worst offenders of the lot, fabricating the entirety of their stories with an alacrity that must be envied by writers of fiction.
Why am I well suited to offer real insight into prison life?
I am currently on death row, at the federal facility located in Terre Haute, Indiana. For nearly three decades, I have been shuttled to and from one part of the country to the next, being housed variously in county, state, federal and privately owned ("for profit“) jails and prisons. I have been through over a half dozen trials, in a variety of jurisdictions. All told, I have been transferred over 40 times, which has provided me a greater overview of the prison system, and a depth of experience, unmatched by anyone with whom I am familiar.
Why have I chosen to remain anonymous?
The reason I have not introduced myself by name is because I feel it would be counter-productive to the intent of this blog. Were my name mentioned, everything would become about me personally, my character, and the merits of my case. Those things are completely separate matters, which can and have been addressed in other venues. To bring them up here detracts from my central effort. This is not about me, nor is it about any one individual. It is about what those in prison and on death row experience as a whole, regardless of whom they may be, or how they came to be incarcerated.
Why should you read this blog?
I see the consequences of misinformation on a daily basis. Death penalty abolitionists and prison reformers, are often misled by unscrupulous prisoners, seeking sympathy and personal gain. So these people, who are trying to help, are taken advantage of, and their efforts are wasted in the attempt to solve non-existant hardships. Tough on crime supporters are often lied to by equally unscrupulous corrections and law enforcement members, seeking greater funding and benefits for themselves. More people with good intent, who are equally victimized by those they seek to aid, waste their combating non-existant dangers. Those with friends or family behind bars, unaware of the realities of prison life, and so unable to help their loved ones properly. Lawyers who don't understand the workings of prison, and thus unable to properly advise clients. The list goes on and on.
Billions of tax dollars are wasted every year, by prisons. That comes out of the public’s pocket. 1.4 million people are in prison right now, most of whom will be free one day. Studies have shown that how they act upon release is at least in part related to their conditions of confinement. If they come out worse for their time in prison, it is the public who ultimately suffers, and pay for it. There is no way to pretend these issues do not affect everyone.
Accurate information about prisons is necessary to ensure they function safely, effectively, and efficiently. Accurate information about prisons is needed to reduce recidivism, and to lower overall population levels.
The key to everything is education, and insight. Insight from prison.
Maybe you can discover a little of that here.