Death Penalty and Death Row in USA

Fight the Death
Penalty in USA

Living conditions on Death Row

Another face of violence
By: Michael Sharp
(Michael was killed by the State of Texas on Nov 19, 1997)

Texas Death Row, December 1996

Violence is prevalent everywhere. Texas Death Row certainly has it's share. Crimes of violence, atrocities and cruelties known only to those involved occur on the Row daily. violence on the Row may not be a surprise to anyone, but what will surprise you is that behind these masses of concrete, steel and wire it's the guards, employed by the state (you), who reek with violence. They seek pleasure, glory and even think it is their patriotic duty to inflict ruthless and premeditated acts of intimidation, bullying, brutality, indictive torture and other diabolical acts on the prisoners. Following are names of some of the worst Death Row guards at the Ellis Unit that are known to have perpetuated violent and inhumane acts: Michael Montgomery; Kenneth Thompson; Marcus Mallet; Kyle Matheson; John Laningham Jr.; Scott Bickel; Patrick Leedy; Anne-Marie Saunders; Oscar Gongora; Christopher Toney; Jorden; and Sergeant Page.

This gang of thugs (guards) listed above attempt to control by violence or the treath of injuries. violence should be a means of last resort, but these men and women begin with it, even instigate it. It seems to be their only way of communication. The unwritten standard operating procedure is "terrorize them, handcuff them, body-slam them, demoralize them." Guards often mask and distort the truth when confronted with shift supervisors (sergeants). Supervisors should be neutral, passionless, objective and rational, but they believe whatever the guards say, even while knowing they are lying. Supervisors encourage indifference and lack of restraint by their own lack of proper action and leadership.

It is apparent to me that these guards and supervisors are impotent in handling their own lies and angrily come to work seeking someone to blame. How miserable and spiritually disturbed they must be deep in their own hearts. Anyone who would wake the mentally ill from their sleep just to provoke them to rage or body-slam a prisoner whose hands are handcuffed behind his back after intentionally provoking that prisoner, has to be living into his own personally hell. Their mothers would be shamed to tears if they only knew the crimes their children commit in these dungeons. To make matters worse, they know there is no penalty for their actions, therefore they have no sense of guilt for their misdeeds.

A symptom of violence is anger which leads to hurtful words. Prisoners and guards both are masters of this. Hurtful words bring action of violence, loss of control, rudeness, ill-manners, discourteous disregard, insensitivity, inconsiderateness, foul language, people being told to shut up, jostled or pushed. Being in prison and being confronted by a guard possessing these types of violent skills offers no escape for the prisoner. Pride swells in the prisoner and he must react. To injure one's self respect, his pride, his status among friends and equals will always bring a reaction from a prisoner. The guards know this and use it expertly to stir the prisoner's anger, hoping he will retaliate and give them (in their minds) a reason to use violence against him.
Cruelty is usually thought of as a physical pain, but can also be psychologically painful.
The nursery rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me" is not correct. Name calling by both the prisoners and guards can and does hurt.
But in this situation it causes the guards to seek revenge, lose self control and violate the law. By what right or justice is this allowed? Guards and their supervisors are supposed to be trained professionals.
Someone has to be responsible and answerable for these acts. Who is responsible? If it is you, then please act immediately and stop the violence against the "least of these."
To kill us is one matter, but to brutalize and crush our minds and bodies while we await death is quite another.
This widespread, covert wrongdoing should trouble and shame eery citizen. We prisoners already lie in intolerable conditions of oppression years on end, we are already writhing in agony, filled with anxiety and depression, and are being slowly tortured in eery way. Isn't that enough?

Michael Sharp #740
Ellis # 1 Unit
Huntsville, Texas 77343