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                     April 1, 2015  

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Nearly 400 Catholic, Evangelical Leaders Issue Holy Week Call to End Death Penalty

"All who reverence the sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, must never remain silent when firing squads, lethal injections, electric chairs and other instruments of death are viewed as morally acceptable," nearly 400 Catholic theologians, women religious, Christian evangelical leaders and faith-based social justice advocates write in a statement released today. "We urge governors, prosecutors, judges and anyone entrusted with power to do all that they can to end a practice that diminishes our humanity and contributes to a culture of violence and retribution without restoration."

      Read it all HERE
85 Days Away!
The EPF Reception at General Convention

Wednesday, June 24
5 p.m. MDT
Cathedral of St. Mark
Salt Lake City

Early Bird Special!
Tickets: $35.00 NOW
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Holy Week and Every Week in Solitary
by Troy Hendrix

Maybe it's my imagination, or maybe it's not, but it truly seems as if these 4 walls that surround me are closing in ... I'm pretty certain that they were much wider apart yesterday, last week, and the week before that, but now it seems as if they are inching closer and closer together.  The ceiling was much higher also, but seems to have sunk lower since the last time I checked.  The steel door seems to be much larger, wider and more solid than ever, but the slot on the door, which I'm served food through like an animal, has shrunk... am I really alive?  Some days I'm not even sure, because for the past 8 1/2  years I've been confined in this harsh and extreme isolation, and it feels as if I'm trapped in a coffin, buried alive.  

I check my pulse often, and I always hear a faint heartbeat, so I guess I am still alive physically, but what about mentally and emotionally?  I have survived being in solitary confinement over the years because of my will power, inner strength, and resiliency, but every moment is still a struggle.  I do all I can to keep a tight grip onto my sanity, because insanity threatens me everyday.  I may be strong, but the reality is that this isolation is designed to make the weak minded even weaker, and also to make the strong weak at times.  It is at these times that I realize how closed in the walls are, and how sunken the ceiling has become. It is at these times that it feels as if I'm trapped in a coffin, buried alive.

Keeping the mind occupied is key to surviving this abnormal environment, but this key does not always open the lock.  When my mind is unlocked, I am able to occupy it by reading, studying, writing, and working out.  But on the days when the walls and ceiling begin to close in, I find it extremely difficult to focus on anything else... in here, an unoccupied mind is simply unoccupied space. Space that remains empty, hollow, lonely and cold, and this eventually leads to depression and thoughts of hopelessness and despair.  But nothing is more depressing than being trapped in a coffin, buried alive.  

The administration signed my death certificate when they decided to keep me confined in solitary confinement under the status of administrative segregation. This status has a begin date, but no end in sight. This confinement is not therapeutic or beneficial in any way, but they are fully aware of this.  Yet they continue to keep individuals confined for years upon years, and only release them once they are completely broken spiritually and mentally. They keep individuals confined until they are broken beyond repair....

[Members of the Ithaca Chapter correspond with inmates in solitary confinement in the New York State Prison System.  Troy recently sent this essay to us in a letter.  He blogs on Between the Bars, a prisoner blogging platform facilitating correspondence and human connections. The Chapter works on changing laws on solitary confinement in New York.]