Voices from the Inside

Death Row Prisoners Speak Out

Credit: Sarah Knopp
By: Renaldo Hudson

Stan was a true leader for peace
I was very hurt when the governor decided to deny Stan Tookie Williams clemency and go forward with the execution. I couldn’t believe that!

The racial lines are so clearly woven into the fabric of society that I wonder if there will ever be any racial unity among people in this country. Will we continue to be looked upon as meaningless, worthless, savage, immoral, three-fifths of a human being?

It’s a scary thing to think about, especially when you are a man of peace. I have love in my heart for all nationalities of people. There is only one race of people--the human race! But we continue to treat each other like mortal enemies.

The system is flagrantly flawed. There is no love for humanity, and society lives too divided from each other. Since I’ve been in this unnatural environment, I have grown mentally and spiritually, away from folly and stupidity, and I have learned to respect life and the social liberties of others.

Wrongfully convicted, I have sat behind these walls for 12-and-a-half years praying for a second chance to have my life back. Instead of destroying myself in self-misery and depression, I choose to live and seek out my purpose by studying my inner self. I’m not the same man I was 12-and-a-half years ago. I know this. My God knows this, because he saved me and made me into the man I am today. My family knows it, and all those who are close to me see the beautiful change in me.

This is what Stanley had done. He turned his life in a 180-degree circle. Instead of destroying lives through gangs and false leadership, he created life by showing hope and leading the younger generation into a promising future. His works went nationwide and around the world.

I only dream of reaching out that far, but here’s a man who accomplished that. He is my inspiration, my motivational force, my hero in this day and age, of what it means to be a savior and a true leader of peace and righteousness. A beautiful life he was to us, but to the unbelievers, he was an enemy, a vital threat to their social system--because his voice had the power to touch hearts, and he utilized that gift in a very positive way.

My love and hellos to all,
Jamie Jackson
Route 53
P.O. Box 112
Joliet, Il 60434

We won’t allow him to be forgotten
Redemption does not flee with the raising of the sun, nor does redemption cool in the heat of debate. Redemption is ever reaching--hoping, when there is no reason to hope. The spirit of redemption can’t be silenced in the “death chambers” across this nation. In fact, I tremble in my flesh when I reflect that God is just and his justice can’t sleep forever.

To all those who feel the grief over the legal lynching of our brother, Stan Tookie Williams, please hear these words. They can kill men, but never the powerful spirit of redemption. All the lives that were touched by this brother in a powerful positive way will continue to be touched because we won’t allow him to be forgotten.

And we will keep to the creed. We shall see the end of the death penalty in this nation. We will continue to encourage brothers and sisters who dwell in cells to reach for redemption (it isn’t that hard to find). I should know, because redemption dwells within me.

Sober and strong, from a former Illinois death row prisoner,
Renaldo Hudson #B02995
Lawrence Correctional Facility
Rural Route #2
Box 31
Sumner, IL 62466