Sunday, September 12, 2010

Death Row Chaplain: Death Penalty is Futile

For a fascinating read, see Obit Magazine's What Good Has Death Done?, a profile of Rev. Carroll “Bud” Pickett, who served as prison chaplain at the Texas state penitentiary at Huntsville for 15 years:
Many of the convicts Rev. Carroll “Bud” Pickett escorted to Texas’ death chamber during his 15 years as the Huntsville’s penitentiary’s prison chaplain wanted him to hold their hands.

But he couldn’t, because their hands would be strapped to the lethal injection table. Instead, he usually stood by the man’s right knee, placing one warm hand on his right ankle. Pickett would watch the lethal combination of drugs drip down the tube into the man’s arm and feel the pulse under his fingers go from fast and frantic and fear-filled to a slow throb. Then there was nothing at all.

... Pickett watched almost 100 men die this way, deaths completed in a matter of minutes, but ones that have stayed with Pickett for years. His experiences changed his views on capital punishment, making him an outspoken critic of the practice he says can punish the innocent, the mentally handicapped and the reformed for no good reason.
(h/t: Walter Olson of Overlawyered, via Twitter)
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
Update: September 13, 2010

Another dispatch from death row, via Washington Post: Convicted killer pleads for her life as execution date in Virginia nears

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