Death Row Lessons


Death Row Lessons

What do you think of this video?

In it David Dow reveals a few lessons he has learned after working for 20 years with death row inmates.  He walks through various statistics and facts to help make his points.  And, along the way, he includes stories of people he has worked with, specifically a young man named Will who came from a low-income family in which he was almost killed by his own mother.

David Dow attempts to avoid controversy by spending his time toward the end of the video talking about something everyone can agree on: preventing the murder of an innocent person.

Let’s not get into a debate about the death penalty.  Instead let’s focus on what the speaker focused on — intervening before the murder is committed in the first place.

In fact, the story of Will that David Dow tells is not that dissimilar to the stories of the young men (and women) in my neighborhood.  Most of them are low income and therefore have limited access to things that other folks take for granted (such as a quality education, healthy food, quiet and safe places to do homework, etc.).  And many of the folks in my neighborhood are also from broken, violent, and dysfunctional families, some of which have long family histories of gang involvement.

What are some ways that we can intervene in the lives of young people, like Will and like those in my neighborhood, to help nudge them off the paths that might lead toward horrific crimes and ultimately death row?

And how should those who follow Jesus be involved in this process?  How can we, with the help of the Spirit of God and our various church communities, help prevent people from ending up on death row?  Do we really believe that Jesus has the ability to transform people and systems?  If so, why do we act like we don’t?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.