Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 3.29.17
Under the able leadership of our Chairman the Board has begun to take a closer look at our history. Over the past 28 years we have had leaders who could be the envy of any free world organization. And yes, we have stories to tell, amazing stories and we are determined to tell them. We want to tell them so that we do not forget our history and the men who are no longer with us and also so we might learn from them and be inspired. We are proud and grateful to our trailblazers and founding fathers.
The ruling that Vernon Madison was not competent to be executed was definitely welcomed by all of us who either live on the same tier as Vernon or aware of his disabilities. It led to discussions of why Alabama is so out of step with mental health recommendations. We hope that Alabama will soon join the efforts of 6 other states to prohibit the death penalty for individuals with severe mental health illness.
Bob Taft, a Republican, was governor of Ohio from 1999 to 2007. Joseph E. Kernan, a Democrat, was governor of Indiana from 2003 to 2005 wrote the following:
“Legislators in six states — Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — have proposed legislation to prohibit the death penalty for individuals with severe mental illness. As former governors of states that are grappling with this issue, we strongly support this effort to end an inhumane practice that fails to respect common standards of decency and comport with recommendations of mental-health experts.”
Alabama was part of a strange trio that allowed judicial override, Florida and Delaware were the others. Delaware was the least toxic partner, in fact there was no one on its death row who was a victim of that. The Hurst ruling led to its getting rid of the death penalty and set a great example to the other 2 states by making it retroactive. Very regrettably it is now introducing legislation to reinstate state murder with limitations. Word has it that the murder of a prison guard prompted this retrogression. Would it not be more enlightened to address the cause, the horrendous prison conditions in our country and to acknowledge that the death penalty is not a deterrent?
To end on a positive note we would like to give a shout out to Chaplain Browder and his active, positive ministry at Holman and at other Alabama correctional institutions. There are others who make a positive difference and for now we will just mention one other, Kairos. We are looking forward to its ministry this weekend at Holman.
See you nest week!