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We asked the Board to write on the topic “What Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty means to me”. This is the second article in this series. We hope it will give you some insights into who we are as well as what we are all about.
PHADP was created to abolish the death penalty. This is still our goal, but along the way other things have come about as well. The overall atmosphere here benefits from having a positive organization like PHADP. The adjustment to Holman can be tough, but phadp helps this transition. Project Hope also gives me a new set of goals, something to reach for, a reason to keep my mind sharp and aware of the outside world.
My trial lawyer was possibly the first person to tell me that there was an anti-death penalty group on death row. The intake officer at Holman’s back gate also told me about PHADP, as well as the first inmates I encountered when I arrived in 2011. They were all trying to make me see that, even though I’ve been sent here to be killed, I wasn’t dead yet, and that the people here don’t act like it either.
PHADP is one way that light shines at Holman and the result is that the inmates don’t feel like they need to act like death row inmates. Instead, Holman’s death row is one of the better units in Alabama. This isn’t something that happens overnight and PHADP continues to be a positive influence.
Each of us here has to decide whether we’re going to give up or keep going. And how we decide is individual as each one of us, but knowing that PHADP is advocating for you makes it easier to want to fight for yourself. EJI is another great example of this, doing all they do, continually, makes it a no brainer to keep up the fight. For me, having reasons to stay current and mentally fit is important and PHADP provides ample motivation for this.
PHADP has become more than it was conceived to be and still there is potential for it to become even more.
                                                                        Bart Johnson