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Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough Paperback – March 14, 2013
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About the Author
Kenneth E. Hartman, author of the award-winning memoir "Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars" (Atlas & Co, 2008), remains in prison serving the other death penalty, continues to work to bring redemption behind bars, and strives to be happy.
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Thailand is considering replacing the death penalty by LWOP or life imprisonment without parole. The horror of this form of punishment is known only to those who experience it. A recent book composed mostly by LWOP prisoners themselves, gives some understanding of what is involved in imprisonment until death. One prisoner describes the situation of LWOP prisoners in a few words, “Life under LWOP is breathing, but not living”.
The prison writers are unanimous in being unable to understand how such a cruel punishment was conceived, or how it is being applied ever more frequently, even to children and for minor non-violent offenses, such as stealing three golf clubs.
The sentencing is summary under the mantra that LWOP is not a death penalty, and mistakes can be rectified afterwards. The sentences are passed without the supposed legal safeguards required for a death sentence. Nor are there the same possibilities of post sentence review, so that the theoretical possibility of review is not a real possibility.
The prison regime of LWOP is dehumanized and hopeless. Prisoners are soon forgotten by the outside world, whether their relatives or friends. The expectation is that they will die as soon as possible so as to free up more prison space for the increased LWOP prison population.
LWOP prisoners age quickly. “The incidence of chronic, age-related diseases skyrockets among older prisoners. We are sclerotic, arthritic, and cancerous far more than people of the same age outside the prison walls.”
In the US factories are migrating to low-wage countries; the prison industry is multiplying and LWOP prisoners promise long term employment for the companies which undertake the commercial administration of this inhuman industry. In Thailand, private hospitals, private education, and of course private housing are making many rich. The Government has already floated the idea that privatisation of prisons will be the next gold rush. Read this short book to see what will come with LWOP.
“All forms of the death penalty need to be discarded in a truly just society”
TOO CRUEL, NOT UNUSUAL ENOUGH, Kenneth E. Hartman, The Other Death Penalty Project, California, 2013; available on Kindle
"I have finished the book "Too Cruel and Not Unusual Enough." I have found it to be a remarkably outstanding explosive reading especially for people in the larger community who do not understand the plight of those sentenced to LWOP. There should be a procedure in place to redress every legal situation in this country when people have demonstrated real remorse and their behavior has also conformed to the rules of the D.O.C. "So then what is the real purpose of rehabilitation one should ask?
I do give credit to each of those writers who contributed to making that book possible and for their honesty clearly expressing profoundly without any doubts in their own works what I means to be serving LWOP. Their stories and experiences locked away for the remaining part of their lives with no way or opportunity to redeem themselves or show that they are not the worst or most awful act they may have done."
Michael Smokey Wilson, AF2695, Graterford Prison, Box 244, Graterford, PA 19426