It has been 150 years since the institution of slavery officially ended in the Lone Star State. Yet, the vestiges from that evil period remain, and are revealed almost daily.
Tag Archives: death row
According to data collected by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, an unsurprising trend has emerged among death row inmates, the majority of whom are black or Hispanic and have lived a debilitating existence prior to their execution.
Alex Hannaford’s cover story this month shows an alarming correlation between trauma that happens to adolescent boys, the biological damage it does to their brains, how that altered physiology leads to violent behavior in their adult lives and their ultimate journeys to death row.
Texas executes more of its citizens—almost all of them men—than any other state. New studies show that trauma biologically alters the brains of young boys in ways that affect their adult behavior, raising the moral implications of the death penalty.
Solitary confinement forces many inmates to do a lot of soul-seeking, but despite the misconceptions, not all death row inmates turn to religion for solace. In fact, some lose their faith in a prison system that denies their humanity.
Manufacturers of execution drugs will be shielded from public scrutiny, helping to keep Texas’ capital punishment machine in working order, under a bill headed to the governor’s office.
The Observer found that prisoners often choose a life of permanent isolation, refusing to leave their cages. It’s a catch-22: Mental illness can lead inmates to never leave their cells, never leaving their cells can exacerbate—or even cause—mental illness.
Supporters continue to call for DNA testing in Rodney Reed’s 1996 rape and murder case.
As part of an in-depth project for The Texas Observer, I wanted to find out what books inmates on death row read, and what this said—if anything—about their mental state or predicament.
Of the roughly 450 inmates who die in Texas prisons each year, about 100 are laid to rest in Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville.