We know from experience that certain things are going to happen when an exonerated inmate walks out of prison. There will be tears. There will be hugs. There will be joy. There will be anger. There will be talk of tonight’s dinner. There will be talk of the future. There will be talk of how the system made a terrible mistake.
Prisoners who spurn what's on offer at the dining hall have long cooked up their own meals, using ingredients scavenged or stolen. Now, a group of female inmates at Gatesville's Mountain View Unit have collected their wisdom in a cookbook, From the Big House to Your House.
A Muslim prisoner in Beeville who would like to grow a beard is taking his grievances to court, claiming the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's facial hair ban violates his First Amendment rights.
Richard LaFuente has had plenty of opportunities to leave federal prison and go back to Plainview. All he had to do was confess to a murder on the Devils Lake Sioux reservation in North Dakota, for which he was convicted in 1986, and show a little remorse. The first time he refused was at a 1994 court hearing. “I can’t show remorse,” he told his attorney. “I won’t ask forgiveness for something I didn’t do.” He went back to his cell.
About a year ago, it was reported that Randall Dale Adams had died, bringing to a close one of the more tragic stories in recent Texas history. A construction worker from Ohio, Adams (pictured here, in 1989) was convicted and sentenced to die in 1977 for the murder of Dallas police officer Robert W. Wood. He spent twelve years behind bars—and, in 1979, came within three days of being executed—before being released in 1989 after the key eyewitness recanted his previous testimony.
It's hard to imagine a more terrifying experience than being wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder. You’re innocent, you don’t know anything about the crime. Yet the police somehow become convinced that you’re guilty, and a prosecutor makes a persuasive case to the jury. Next thing you know you’re a convicted killer, and the burden is on you to prove that you’re innocent. And if you’re really unlucky, the clock is ticking down to your execution date.