I'm a 29 year old Australian woman who recently started writing to prisoners on America's Death Rows. I have seven I am currently writing to.
Before I started this, I was a staunch supporter of the death penalty (even though it is no longer in existence in Australia). I believed in the old adage "an eye for an eye". Since receiving mail from these men, I have since realized they are not all bad people, they're not all evil. There is no typical Death Row Inmate. The men I write to are like anyone else I know. The only thing they have in common is that they are all on death row. My views on the death penalty have changed dramatically in the space of a month.
I am also a bit of a poet and just the other day wrote a poem about the death penalty that I didn't think I had in me. I was thinking that perhaps you'd like to put it on your site where others can read it and perhaps it may change their views too.
Even if you decide not to put it up there, I wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job with your site, and more people need to visit it and read the words of those convicted firsthand, to experience the pain and suffering they are going through as they basically, wait to die.
Despair etched into blank gray walls,
Filtered, muted light.
Every hour much the same,
As day melts into night.
Hopelessness evident in the eyes,
Of somber, solemn faces.
Knowing their life will end in these walls,
Knowing they'll die in this place.
Sadness escaping from the mouths,
Every time it's mail call.
Waiting for the letters that never come,
Trying not to let the tears fall.
Uncertainty clouding sleepless nights,
Thinking “will I be here tomorrow?”
Wondering if there'll be any brightness,
To lighten this life of sorrow.
Confusion evident over the death penalty,
Is the punishment just or right?
Is it right to say an eye for an eye,
Is it correct to take a life for a life?
Ker, 24th July, 2001.