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See also: Removal of Fans in Unventilated Unit Without Air Conditioning
04.99 Report

Incident Report by Hank Skinner, Jr.
(Prisoner's Cell On Fire, Help Delayed)

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News & Views
Karen Sebung reports on current conditions, based on conversations with the men at Ellis Unit and her observations.
    Included are stories about new Ellis inmate John King, convicted for the dragging death of James Byrd.

We had thought that maybe death row in Texas might be moved to a different unit by now. But, so far, this hasn't happened.

They have put up more razorwire on the Ellis Unit, and are constructing picketts (watch towers) over the rec yards.

They were told that DR will wear overalls rather than the usual prison whites to differentiate them from general population but, so far, the new clothing has not been distributed.

They are no longer allowed any type of religious services.

Last week they were notified that no more supplies for craft production (piddling) will be allowed, and office supplies may no longer be sent in from free-world stores — everything must be bought in the commissary.

But then they began in-outs again. This means that the men are able to go to the dayroom at least twice a day for two hours each time — if on the "work capable program".

The garment factory is now being manned by general population prisoners.

The new warden apparently does, however, listen to the men, and has been seen visiting with DR prisoners on the wings about their concerns — i.e., he isn't just sitting in his office giving orders.

One prisoner who has been there a very long time wrote him a lengthy letter, and he called the prisoner into his office to discuss all of the concerns and apparently the increase of in-outs came after that conversation.

Many people have e-mailed me asking how John William King is doing now that he is on the Row.

I will tell you that I finally felt a bit of compassion for the man after hearing some of the stories. Even the white guys are saying they would kill him if they could get their hands on him.

He is apparently a very small man — which I hadn't even noticed in the tv coverage. One man described him as looking like a deer who is standing in the path of oncoming headlights.

Another prisoner tells me that everyone who walks by the cell spits on him.

Yet another confirmed that every time he has passed the cell, the man has been at the very back — never on his bunk or anything like the others.

One friend on the Row made the following comment:

"What the man did was so wrong. I wouldn't ever want to see him on the streets again. But if I say it's right to execute him, then I must say that it's right to execute me as well."
I must concur. Execution is NEVER the solution.

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