Despite claims by the GOP in Raleigh (and in other places) that they’re going to concentrate on job creation, the parade of non-job-creating actions continues.
The latest here is a decision to remove televisions from Death Row because TV contributes to a “life of leisure” on Death Row.
I thought about asking my friend Edward Chapman about that. Ed lived in that paradise known as Death Row for 14 years after being wrongfully convicted of a double murder in 1992.
He was released four years ago without so much as an apology from the state. Chapman is still waiting for his official Pardon of Innocence, which would make him eligible for some compensation for the 14 lost years of his life, but Gov. Bev Perdue has yet to issue the pardon, even though Chapman is innocent of the crimes.
As it is, Chapman lives in a rented house, works hard at a low-wage job and refuses to hold a grudge. Each year since his release, Chapman’s friends have thrown him a party to raise money to help him pay his bills.
You might expect Chapman to be a bitter man, but he isn’t. He is happy to be free and tries to look ahead instead of backward.
His first day of freedom was the day after my son died, so I remember it pretty clearly. I interviewed him a few weeks after he gained his freedom and have been inspired by him ever since.
I have danced with him at the annual Freedom Ball and advocated for him to receive the official pardon.
So, when I saw the story in today’s paper about televisions on Death Row, I could only wish we would stop being so punitive toward people in prison. Too many of them don’t belong there, and the ones who do would be better served by being offered job training and the skills they need to live on the outside.Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.