Thursday, May 12, 2005

Death Row

Where does Reuters get their writers? This morning we get this story, which is a heck of a piece of hard hitting journalistic breaking news.

So, without further ado, lets look at it.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Death row prisoners in the United States are saying they can't take it anymore and asking to die

No kidding. We thought that was the original idea, when a jury of their peers sentenced them to death.
Behind that trend is the reality of their living conditions -- typically more than a decade of mind-numbing isolation under the specter of death with years of legal wrangling ending in dashed hopes and execution .
Which is years longer than many of them gave their victims. Let the gentle reader be reminded that generally you won't be sentenced to death for killing one person. Most of the time, it takes multiple victims, or multiple felonies (like murder AND rape) to get to get saddled with the death penalty.
If serial killer Michael Ross is executed this week in Connecticut as planned, he will join more than a hundred "volunteers" who have waived appeals and hastened their deaths since capital punishment was reinstated a generation ago.

Tough-on-crime prison conditions and an ever-longer appeals process make dropping the legal fight attractive, experts say.

"The day-to-day experience becomes pretty unbearable," said Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist who told a hearing in April that Ross' living conditions influenced his choice to die

While I have never worked on Death Row, I have worked around Death Row. It is never pleasant there. The simple pall of knowing that death is a constant companion is tough on the employees too. It takes a special person to work on Death Row. However, the people who live on Death Row often earn the right to live in a single cell and look at the world through striped sunlight.
Like inmates on death row across America, Ross is locked up most of the day in a small cell with no access to prison sports or education programs, and no interaction with other inmates.

Yet another reason to stay off death row, not to mention an altogether sterling reason to stay out of prison in the first place.
Ross, who admitted killing eight women and raping most of them, was sentenced to death in 1987. He first asked to waive his appeals over a decade ago.

"There is so little to focus on. There is so little over which individuals have control. There's so little to distract them from the negative thoughts," said Grassian.

After killing eight women and raping most of them, Ross is having negative thoughts? Nooo. You sure he didn't bring a little negativity in there with him? Most people consider rape and murder pretty negative pasttimes. You don't often see them as recommended leisure-time activities.

I could go on, but it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

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