Voices from the inside

Being locked away for life is not the answer


Corell Thomas
By: Correll Thomas

Is the Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP) sentence a legitimate replacement for the Death Penalty (ever), even if its only justification is to stop pending executions? Or, put another way, is stopping executions a justification for LWOP?

I’ve been on death row for almost 11 years now and I can honestly say that I’ve thought about this very question on several occasions. For days on end, I’ve conversed with other guys in my same situation, and there’s no unanimous answer. Personally, I don’t believe that life without the possibility of parole is a legitimate replacement for the death penalty. But when I think of being considerate of my wife, my children and those who love and care about me, I’d withstand anything— even if it meant spending the rest of my life dealing with the systemic torture and dehumanization by the administrations of these institutions. To me, life (in prison) without the possibility of parole is a death sentence in itself. What hope does any human have in being locked away in a small cage for the rest of his/her natural life (literally)—all while being treated like an animal?

That question can only be answered by individuals under these circumstances who are living this reality. It’s easier for a person not living this life to comment on and give their opinion from a distance as to how things should be. The bottom line is we have men and women committing suicide under these stressful, debilitating circumstances.

Locking people up for the rest of their lives is definitely not the answer here, which is why I can very well understand and agree with those in this situation who say LWOP is no justification for stopping executions.

Maybe it’s the fear of the unknown that discourages an individual from the realization of the inevitable. No one will leave this earth alive, as death is the only thing promised in life. And to all parties who take great satisfaction in participating in the state-sponsored murdering of human beings, remember, all days are numbered. Some may go now, some later, but we’re all going someday.

Thank You, Correll Thomas P.O. Box P-55743 San Quentin State Prison San Quentin, CA 94974