I want to say that for 25 years I have been visiting a death row prisoner in Louisiana. This started as an offshoot of some activism — it was never my intention to become sole emotional support for a condemned man — but it has happened.
It has been pointed out to me that my position in this is unusual in a number of ways I am at this moment too tired to write out. One of the points I raised, in the call I made on the matter, was that when all of this began there was a community of support for persons in similar positions and that community has since evaporated. One of the ways in which my position is new is that, in the current climate this person, who is now 60 and has been on death row as long as I have been a professor, is more likely to die on death row than to be executed.
Being on death row is not the same as being in a punishment cell but it does mean 23 hour cell restriction. This is not good for the mental health of anyone, and specially not over decades.
If I had someone in town to talk to about this relationship, this activity, this experience, it would be easier. By “someone” I mean someone also doing what I am doing. There is so much to say about all of this.