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Mr. Dean,
I found your website while I was researching the death penalty.  Just for the record, I'm against it, for every reason.  I just read your last entry, the one after Valentine's Day.  You were discussing the bad medical treatment that the prisoners get.  You kinda of wondered why?  It's because doctors get off on being better than everyone else.  My brother is a doctor, I see it everyday.  So why would "good" doctors try to help "convicts"?  That's the way our society works.  You are right, though.  I believe that most inmates are mentally ill.  The problems are: are they too violent?  Are they treatable?  Are they smart enough to know right from wrong? Is there hope? 
I don't have any more answers than you do, but I hear you, and just wanted to let you know that.

Dear Dean,
I have been an opponent of the death penalty since I was a child.  I helped win a USSC case for Student Rights in America, and it set a precedent, in Tinker v Des Moines, 399 US 503, 7-2, (1969)
I spent 2001 to 2006 incarcerated in Florida prisons, where we have less freedoms and opportunities, and programs than San Quentin. I read you 1995 note, and agree totally that prison is an insane environment.  I have posted 13 chapters up of, God's Gunner's, Booty Bandits, & Bad Boys at www.r25288.com  A friend in Germany gave me your site.  Some of my former associates in prison had been on death row also.  My purpose like yours is hopefully to help educate, change and improve prison conditions for us all.
Yours in the Struggle, & Peace be with you,

Hi Dean,
I just happen to breeze by your site.  Read your letter that was written in Feb. this yr.  I must admit that your life in the penetentiary is not easy.  It really wasn't designed to be.  There are officers and administrators who think that there is additional punishment that should be meted out for prisoners beyond just being incarcerated or executed.  I also believe that there are inmates that are charismatic and manipulative.  
However having been a corrections officer, police officer, corrections counselor, administrative investigator, deputy sheriff, juvenile corrections officer, with a BS degree in criminal justice.  I have a few opinions myself about penology.  Just as I have agreed that there are staff in prisons and jails that are abusive of their power and authority; there are also inmates who are manipulative, charismatic, corrupt and lethal.  Unfortunately you exist in an environment where most of the spirits in that environment are not godly.  Whether it be prison staff or inmates.  
A  penetentiary breeds hatred, malice and abuse; and it affects those staff as well as inmates who struggle to just try to be a decent human being, playing with the cards they are dealt.  This is not an ideal world, I just wish more people will allow God to influence their lives before they do something to windup on deathrow; that they may bring a light to the world on the right side of the bars.  
Stanley Tookie Williams was recently executed in California, I believe that he did the crimes that he was convicted of.  Stanley had an opportunity to change in jail before; committing the crime that got him a death sentence.  It was only after he received the death penalty, did he allow the gifts that God gave him to come out in his writings and efforts to undue the gang activity that he once help to create.  
I too could have been on deathrow right beside you; had I not succombed to God's influence on my life.  Continue to write and pray.  If the day should come that you be executed, make sure you have established a right relationship with God before you step from time into eternity.
Reverend Wendell L. J.

I agree with you for the most part. Knowing what the problem is a start, but what do you do to fix the problem when society doesn't care until people get out of prison and do something stupid and get sent back? What do you do to stop that cycle?
Thanks for writing.

Hi there. 
I feel i have to voice my opinion on this subject.And i am not preaching religion no matter what it sounds like. 
Before i entered this site i was all for the Death Penalty to anyone that should warrant taking someone elses life by their choice should be prepared to give theirs.
I mean, the person they killed did not have a choice. The person who took their life did not have that given right, and for all the hurt and suffering their families have to endure, it set about me thinking what if it was my family? How could i cope with that? And for people that hurt children it sickens me to my stomach.
Now after reading so many stories and facts it has thrown my opinions upside down and out of the window. I have studied this site often and for lengthy periods of time to gain a clear insight. The most heart rendering piece was from the father whose daughter was raped and killed and he sat the trial and gave forgiveness to the killer. That shows to me an act of true compassion and humanity and made me realise who am i to judge? If someone can show such acts of compassion when something so hideous has detroyed their life who am i to pass my opinion? And i honestly cried.
I do believe that people should be punished for their crimes, but i also believe that people can earn forgiveness and for some the chance to be part society again. People do make mistakes and nobody has that right to take anothers life, but we do not have the right to be the hand of god controlling life by the flip of a switch etc as no-one is that free from sin themselves.
People that hurt children will always be my number one hate and i will always consider them to be punished the most severe, but even they should live, if not to go over their crimes and wallow in the guilt they create. Because what goes around will come around and bite them in the ass!
In England we do not punish people nearly enough for their crimes and it gets the better of us. And that is why England is so poorly run that justice will never be shown. But America takes it too far, there is no balance. Im not sure where i would prefer to live. In a country of denial or a country of vigilantes. As that is what the government think they are. This site has drastically affected my feelings and even though i still feel for the families i believe we can change things and stop innocent men from being victims of the death penalty for a start. 
And whatever i have said today i still stand by the fact that the guilty should be punished. But not slaughtered as a matter of humanity. 

I was wondering if inmates could have musical instruments, even silent ones like electric pianos or guitars with headsets?  
Are they allowing internet access from individual cells in any prisons in the US?  People who are maybe screened and preapproved for access?  
Is that ever likely?  I would figure if well administered, it could make a huge impact in morale and prisoner life after prison. 

Hello Jim, 
Thanks for writing.
Prisoners are allowed to have some musical instruments, if they purchase them themselves. I suspect it depends on which prison you are in on what you are allowed. I think acoustic guitars are about all that is allowed on Death Row. 
We are not allowed internet access. From ours cells or otherwise. We all have to reply on people outside the prison for internet access. Maybe in some prisons limited access to the internet is allowed for education reasons, perhaps for thet performance of their prison jobs, but I don't know that for a fact. 
I don't know if they will ever allow internet access in prisons. Here at San Quentin they were still using rotary dial telephones until about ten years ago, so they are not exactly in a hurry to intergate technilogical advances into prison.
You would think they would allow e-mail because they would monitor it more effiently for security reasons. Plus it would save the prison money because it would mean less regulas mail to process by people they have to pay.
I hope I was able to answer your questions.
Take Care

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