World Day Against the Death Penalty 2022: “Summer heat and a sink on death row…”
A road paved with TORTURE
On 10.10.2022 the 20th World Day against the Death Penalty is dedicated to the focus on TORTURE,
… because confessions are sometimes forced through physical or psychological torture,
… Prison conditions on death row are often tantamount to psychological torture,
… Members of the perpetrators suffer trauma through executions or even last-minute postponements,
… the stress of killing a person by execution sometimes leads to occupational disability,
… Victims’ relatives repeatedly relive the trauma of the crime – in some cases, executions are carried out against their express will …
Summer heat and a sink on death row
In the taking of another’s life, being sentenced to death, you don’t know what to anticipate having never been in a similar situation. I remember after being sentenced to death my family went online to discover if anything could be found of what sort of life could be expected living on death row. It’s very difficult for me to complain about my situation. Though I disagree with my sentence of death.
I am guilty of taking the life of two men. My past violent conviction is what put me on death row. Aggravators is what it’s called. Despite my view of the conviction I was sentenced to death. I have issues. As a free man I had my own home, job, and was financially stable. I had all the comforts of a modern home. When my family conveyed to me what to expect I knew I would be in misery on death row.
Without air conditioning
Certainly, there are worse places in this world to be confined to a 2.7 by 2.1 meter cell 24 hours a day. For me the confinement isn’t the worst issue. Heat of the summer is bad: “Not to mention that I am currently living in an oven! I am sleeping only when I am extremely tired. For example, today I slept only 2.5 hours after being awake for 22 straight hours. I’ve only been able to sleep on the concrete floor, because it’s simply too hot in the bed. So, I’m not very comfortable right now. Begging for winter to get here soon! I would love for it to be the coldest winter on record!!!”
Though that isn’t the worst for me. I have some issues psychologically. I can’t stand for my skin to make contact with other parts of my body. Consequently, I must always wear a shirt and pants. I can’t stand to be dirty, or even a little sweaty. As my family informed me there was no air-conditioning on death row, I knew I was in for a world of mental suffering.
As a free man I bathed a minimum of three times a day. Not to be too very personal, even after sex with my fiancé I would have to take a bath or else I would never be able to go to sleep. For someone who has none of these issues it seems minor in comparison to being under constant threat of execution. I can tell you firsthand that living on death row with these issues is no easy feat.
Luxury of a sink
My greatest luxury is the sink in my cell. I bathe in this sink three times a day. Which is why I find it difficult to complain because I know there are places in this world where people are confined to smaller cells with no running water at all. Not even a toilet! I would not be able to live under such conditions. Despite my predicament I know it’s not the worst predicament a person could be placed in. I’m able to exist in this environment because of the sink in this cell. Otherwise I would not of lasted a week.
These issues I have may seem minor to a person who doesn’t have them. But imagine not being able to go handle being touched by strangers. Think of how often I must be placed in handcuffs. Everywhere I am escorted the guard must have at least one hand on me at all times. Immediately upon being escorted back to my cell I must take a bath in the sink to wash away the psychological effect of being touched. As a free man I was able to mask my issues.
Is it torture?
Here I cannot. All the inmates who know me know that I don’t shake hands. I don’t hug greetings. I don’t play games involving others. But there are men here who do not know me. Rebuffing a man’s handshake could easily be misconstrued and cause an altercation. For the most part I try to avoid these situations.
There are worse places in this world, but living on death row presents its own challenges for a man like me. But I’m not complaining. Does it rise to the level of what is considered torture? Torture, like art, is subjective. At least to me. I am sure the victim’s family members could care less of the things I endure on a daily basis. I can’t say I blame them either.
Prisoner on death row in USA