Concrete Cages: The Life Of A Death Row Inmate


An Arizona inmate condemned to die, Robert Wayne Murray, has written a book on what it is like to serve time on death row, says the Arizona Republic. In a typical passage, Murray, 39, says, “It’s a long time never to see a blade of grass or feel sunshine on your face, or to actually see a tree, or hear a bird, or feel the wind across your cheek. Think of a thousand days without a face-to-face conversation, or ever touching another person. Think of a thousand days, every day, seven days a week, sitting in a concrete box with nothing to stare at but a concrete wall 10 feet away. [Death row] was designed to break the spirit of the wild ones.”

Murray, who declares his innocence of killing two people during a robbery, describes what life is like for 125 condemned criminals imprisoned in Florence, Az. They live in cages of concrete and metal: front wall of perforated steel, iron bunk, stainless-steel toilet and sink, metallic mirror, steel table. Everything is bolted or welded to the dull gray walls and floor. Inmates cannot see one another but are always visible to guards. He describes the monthlong ritual leading up to death: a choreographed dance among guards, the condemned and other inmates. With two weeks to go, a suicide watch starts.


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