I am a legal secretary, and after reading this book, my whole opion of the law has changed. The amount of absolutely no evidence showing that Damien, Jessie and Jason actually did this makes me sick and I can't believe that the judicial system actually leaves them in jail. I am pulling for each of them, I hope that the real perp gets caught. Shame on the police department and prosecuters involved, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You never even wanted to know who commited the crime, you had your target, and you hit it. How would you feel if it were your kids? Would you let it rest? I would not.
Right after purchasing this book, I met my friend for our daily walk. We both have connections to men on death row who have become great teachers and life changing catalysts for us. Instead of going for our walk, we sat in the car and read the life stories and letters that fill this book. We were in awe at the wisdom, pain, complexity, compassion, and surprises that spilled from the pages. Doors to hidden hearts and minds were opened in ways that society rarely gets to see, primarily because very few want to know these beings behind bars. This book is not a view through rose colored glasses of sinners transformed into saints. It is an honest and often horrific reflection of the very best and the very worst that lies within us all. Two of the stories offered are of death row individuals who have been executed, and another is of a man from death row who had his sentence commuted. Many of the writers are presently on death row, including some that I am quite sure are innocent. These writings illustrate the searching, the loving intentions, the pain and the prayers for forgiveness that fill individuals of all spiritual traditions and backgrounds but that society refuses to acknowledge. The book challenges society's conventional views of prisoners on and off death row as those beyond redemption. It offers instead an inspirational presentation of hope and healing for individuals who are incarcerated and invites the reader to share in what these fellow human beings are going through as they try desperately to heal with very little support. Most importantly, this book is the celebration of the growth of so many that society has virtually forgotten and discarded.
My friend and I are both Buddhist practitioners. We know that it was not a choice to have courageously walked through those prison doors to share our lives with our friends on death row. Because of those relationships, we can never again view the range of human expression with the limited ideas of "good guys" and "bad guys". Our entire lives have been expanded by this transformation of our view. This book has continued to open this spiritual perspective for us. We are confident that all of those who read of our society's abandoned, forgotten and discarded will find a world that is surprisingly full of an enormously vast range of human emotional and spiritual experience. We expect that with the aid of Anna Cox's teaching and the stories shared by those in prisons, the reader's life view of all beings will also be transformed in infinitely more compassionate ways.