Tales from death row: Justice for Rodney Reed by Caitlin Adams

Math equations are certainly not my strong suit, but I was able to calculate the total number of hours Rodney has been unjustly incarcerated. As of this writing, January 13, 2012, that is 5,398 days or 129,552 hours. Of those 129,552 hours, we can estimate (and this is the best case scenario) that 10,736 were outside of his 6x9 cell—in the visiting room, in the rec yard, or at the commissary.  118,816 hours were in isolation; the only company and distraction being a radio, letters, photos, magazines, books, or newspapers.  

I've only been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gherig’s disease) for two years and three months and I know how the physical confinements of this disease have about driven me straight up nuts (a saying borrowed from Rodney). How does one survive, let alone thrive, after 128,832 hours of inconceivable hardships?  Yet, every time I visit Rodney I see exactly that—a  person who has managed to grow emotionally, spiritually; who has managed to remain a truly kind, decent human being; someone with a vital, easy capacity to laugh at just about anything, including himself.  He has an uncanny ability to be present, to notice the smallest detail, to be full of concern for fellow inmates, friends, and family.  Talk about making lemonade when life hands you lemons!

I'm going to keep a daily tally of days and hours of Rodney's unjust confinement. I will post this tally on my Facebook wall, on Twitter, on Rodney's Facebook wall.  I will use it, his example and life, as a constant reminder of the incredible blessings, freedoms, and gifts that continuously fill my life. I will also hope that all those who read this blog or the posts will stop for a moment or two in their busy lives and do the same.  Last week on KPFT's The Prison Show “Shout out”,  I said to him that if I wasn't sick and he wasn't on death row, we would most likely never have met –a silver lining if ever there was one!  Thanks for helping me learn to "make lemonade" Rodney—I am incredibly grateful for the gift of our friendship.

Caitlin Adams is a resident of Bastrop, Texas.  After meeting the family of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed outside of their home in early 2011, she began writing with Rodney.  She has developed a friendship with Rodney's mother Sandra and his family in Bastrop, as well as making regular trips to death row to visit Rodney. 

After learning about the facts of Rodney's case, Caitlin has become an advocate for Rodney Reed – here we present Caitlin's story about her journey for justice.