Texas Death Row
People we never understand how truly important human contact is until it’s taken away. And not many people are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony, that this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflects upon mentally healthy men, such as Joseph. There is plenty of medical and psychological literature concerning the ill-effects of solitary confinement, of which isolation is a variant. And it is also a matter of common sense that prolonged years of extreme social isolation, and enforced inactivity in a space smaller that a typical walk-in-closet… confined for (22) hours a day – constitutes a sufficiently serious deprivation of basic human needs. Many of the cell windows have debris on them from the outside, so it’s impossible an / or hard to see out. Thus creating a caged in atmosphere.
There’s the toilet, the sink, and the steel table that’s cemented into the wall and the place where Joseph does most of his writing.
There is a steel bunk up against the back wall, where Joseph sleeps on a blanket pallet, because the large plastic mattress does not conform, and is very uncomfortable to his back. They do not issue pillows, so Joseph has to use rolled up towels as a makeshift pillow to sleep with under his head instead.
The (2) hours, that Joseph spends outside of this solitary cage, are spent in another cage at either the outdoor recreation space, or the indoor recreation space, and then back to his assigned solitary- caged cell. The showers are also isolated cages that are the size of a small storage closet with a steel metal door. The showers are located at the end of each tier, where Joseph is allowed to shower for 15-20 minutes and then is escorted back to his assigned solitary cage/cell. On Saturdays and Sundays, there is no outdoor or indoor recreation. So other than coming out the cell for shower, Joseph is confined in this cage / cell for (48) hours straight.
There are no pay phones, that Joseph can use to make calls to communicate with family and friends. Therefore, visits are Grand, and mail can be the highlight of the day. There is still however, no form of physical contact with family and friends at visitation. Visits are over a connected phone with a glass and steel barrier between Joseph and his visitor (s). So Joseph is not allowed the simple privilege of hugging his loved ones, and feeling the return of their warm embrace. There are no televisions to watch the news, or any shows that come on the basic TV Channels.
Therefore, newspapers and magazines are Joseph’s only media source of information. There are no classes, programs, or any other religious and educational vocational courses provided to Joseph on Texas Death Row. Books are essential and reading reading voraciously is the one sure opportunity that allows Joseph to expand the life of his mind. Thus, embracing a world of ideas and continually striving to become a more fortified person *inside and outside of society, despite what the State has wrongfully proclaimed.
Joseph has a lot to contribute to this world, and it is surpass obvious, that on the Texas Death Row (caged-up) on solitary-confinement… he is being deprived of the basic necessities of his human existence. People (we are) social by nature, and need social interactions to maintain a healthy mental and physical state. These solitary cages / cells on Texas Death Row are virtual “incubators” of psychosis, which plants seeds of illnesses in healthy inmates, like Joseph and further exacerbates illnesses in those inmates, that are already suffering from mental infirmities.
Other States have stopped the automatic use of solitary confinement for inmates convicted under capital punishment and the momentum is growing for Texas to do away with the awful practice as well. Denounce Capital punishment and solitary confinement.
If you would like to correspond with Joseph and or send him reading materials, or make donations to Joseph’s education and legal defense fund. Please stroll over to the “How To Help” Section, and follow the instructions there. Your support is (both) needed and appreciated.