webeagleA Different Angle on the Death Penalty

The Reformer is “The Official Inmate Newsletter Of The Iowa State Penitentiary” in Fort Madison, Iowa.  The newsletter is put together by inmates and is produced somewhere between quarterly and monthly.

A letter-to-the-editor caught my attention in this past issue.  We’re reproducing here just as it was printed in the newsletter:


            My name is Jesse Brown, and I am serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.  I am writing this letter in solidarity with thousands of other men and women imprisoned all across this country asking that you stop supporting the sentence of life without the possibility of parole as an acceptable alternative to the death penalty.

“Life      without      the      possibility      of      parole      is      the      “Death      Penalty.”

I know that many death penalty advocate groups believe that it is not politically viable to seek to stop all forms of the death penalty.  Many of these groups don’t believe that life without parole is essentially a death sentence.  They are wrong . . .

According to many studies, support for the death penalty continues to shrink.  The public is more and more accepting of the proposition that rehabilitation is a real possibility and is an acceptable punishment.

If you believe executing humans is wrong, then condemning them to a long slow death in prison must also be wrong.  And yes, a long slow death is the death penalty.  To argue otherwise is morally disingenuous at best.

Why not adopt a true and complete opposition to the death penalty?  Why not argue in favor of humanity?  Why not move forward with the times and stop fighting with out-molded [sic] positions on behalf of the more than 4,000 men and women sentenced to die.  By meaningful incarceration I ask that you and your organizations adopt a consistent opposition to all forms of the death penalty.

Please break the silence and let all our voices be heard.  “No effort gets No results”

Fawkes-Lee & Ryan does not support nor oppose Jesse’s position



One comment on “Home

  1. Carlos Jayne on said:

    Jesse’s position makes sense. of course, from a humanitarian point of view. Politically, in Iowa at least, advocating against the death penalty and also against life without parole would have resulted in reinstatement of the death penalty. Hardliners still have the upper hand on this issue and insist on death as execution or as a certainty behind bars. When people have been questioned in the Iowa Poll they come down in favor of the death penalty unless they are told Iowa has, as an alternative, life without parole. At that point they come down against capital punishment. At this point in our history we are taking the best we can get. Life without parole does hold out at least a dim hope of pardon or commutation of sentencing by the governor or overturning the conviction with discovery of evidence showing innocence. We can only hope for restorative justice to someday replacing retribution as our nation’s approach to criminal justice.

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