- Thoughts for inspired living

May 24, 2016

Died in Prison

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:44 am


This isn’t meant as a political statement, just a personal revelation about how I feel when I see or hear news about the death penalty being administered: I feel awful.

I can’t explain it or tell you its origin. I only know that I get a visceral response even when it’s given to some of the nastiest people you’ll ever read about.

I also get a similar feeling about people who are given life sentences with no possibility of parole.

I remember famed attorney Mark Geragos arguing at the sentencing phase for his client Scott Peterson who was convicted of murdering his wife Laci. Geragos argued to give him a life sentence instead of death by painting a vivid picture of how awful a life sentence would be. Here are just a couple of excerpts from his plea to the jury:

“Prison is an awful, awful place. Scott Peterson, if you vote to spare his life, will be placed into a cell that is roughly the size of a king size bed. Roughly encompasses you four jurors right here. That’s the size of his cell. And he would be in that cell roughly the size of a king size bed for the rest of his life. He will die in that cell.”

“This is not a minimum security facility. He will be at the highest Level 4 of the California Department of Corrections every day for the rest of his life. And one of those days some guard is going to walk by, and some guard when he walks by six months from now, or a year from now, is going to knock on the cell and say, Peterson, your mom is dead. And a year after that, six months after that, another guard is going to walk by and bang on the door. Peterson, your dad is dead. Six months, a year after that, five years, ten years after that, your brother John is dead. He’s not going to be out there enjoying anything. It’s not any kind of a picnic for him.”

This is not a lobby against the death penalty or an argument to improve prison life. I’ll leave that to the more qualified. My mission is to highlight that many of us are in self-made prisons and our sentence can extend until our death if we let it.

It’s my experience that many of us will argue that we had nothing to do with how we got into this prison. We will point the finger out there somewhere and rail against the bars of reality until we “rale” our last breath.

The first step towards parole is to recognize that you are your own jailor. It’s you who locks the door that keeps you from experiencing more. You put yourself here, and if you want to be there, it’s going to take more than a fervent prayer.

It takes recognition that you are the judge, jury and executioner of your own life and responsible for your own imprisoning actions.

Once you admit to your part in your sentence, it gets lighter. Light begins to form at the end of the tunnel and you’ll gravitate towards it like a plant in a dark place grows towards even the tiniest bit of sun.

Taking personal responsibility for our situation is freeing.

It’s a big step to admit that you had a large hand in being where you are because it’s so easy to blame others and ignore our part. That finger pointing strategy doesn’t work and insures a life sentence.

Your chance to be free is to recognize that your situation is “on me.”

Once you cop to your part, options you have blinded yourself from show up and pave the way to the straight and narrow path towards freedom.

All the best,


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