When I was on death row, I saw guys come to prison sane and leave this world insane, talking nonsense on the execution gurney.
I am death row exoneree #138.
There are 12 more people like me from Texas. Twelve people who spent years of their lives locked alone in concrete cages waiting to die before they were set free, exonerated for their innocence.
Eleven people have committed suicide on Texas' death row. All because of the conditions.
When I was sentenced to death, I did not know that this sentence would also mean that I would have 12 years without any human contact, i.e. my mother, my son, my friends. All those people were stripped from my life because of this injustice. I did not know it would mean 12 years of having my meals slid through a small slot in a steel door like an animal. I did not know it would mean 12 years alone in a cage the size of a parking spot, sleeping on concrete steel bunk and alone for 22 to 24 hours a day. All for a crime I did not commit. The injustice.
For me and the 400 other prisoners on Texas' death row while I was there, a death sentence meant a double punishment. We spent years locked alone in a tiny, concrete cage in solitary confinement, with guys going insane, dropping their appeals, doing everything they could to check out of this place before we were ever strapped to an execution gurney. All because of the conditions.
You can watch video of Anthony Graves talk about solitary conditions at the ACLU Prison Conditions website.
The ACLU white paper is, A Death Before Dying: Solitary Confinement on Death Row.
Earlier coverage of the report, released today, begins at the link. More news coverage, tomorrow.