anthony graves

When I Was on Death Row, I Saw a Bunch of Dead Men Walking. Solitary Confinement Killed Everything Inside Them.


By Anthony Graves, Death Row Exonoree #138

When I was on death row, I saw guys come to prison sane and leave this world insane, talking nonsense on the execution gurney.

I am death row exoneree #138.

There are 12 more people like me from Texas. Twelve people who spent years of their lives locked alone in concrete cages waiting to die before they were set free, exonerated for their innocence.

Eleven people have committed suicide on Texas’ death row. All because of the conditions.

When I was sentenced to death, I did not know that this sentence would also mean that I would have 12 years without any human contact, i.e. my mother, my son, my friends. All those people were stripped from my life because of this injustice. I did not know it would mean 12 years of having my meals slid through a small slot in a steel door like an animal. I did not know it would mean 12 years alone in a cage the size of a parking spot, sleeping on concrete steel bunk and alone for 22 to 24 hours a day. All for a crime I did not commit. The injustice.

For me and the 400 other prisoners on Texas’ death row while I was there, a death sentence meant a double punishment. We spent years locked alone in a tiny, concrete cage in solitary confinement, with guys going insane, dropping their appeals, doing everything they could to check out of this place before we were ever strapped to an execution gurney. All because of the conditions.

I am writing today because the ACLU has put out an important new paper about what it does to people to lock them alone in cages on death row. They found that over 93% of states lock away their death row prisoners for over 22 hours a day. Nearly a third of death row prisoners live in cages where their toilet is an arm’s length away from their bed. Sixty-percent of people on death row have no windows or natural light.

Solitary confinement is like living in a dark hole. People walk over the hole and you shout from the bottom, but nobody hears you. You start to play tricks with your mind just to survive. This is no way to live.

I saw the people living on death row fall apart. One guy suffered some of his last days smearing feces, lying naked in the recreation yard, and urinating on himself. I saw guys who dropped their appeals and elected to die because of the intolerable conditions. To sum it up, I saw a bunch of dead men walking because of the conditions that killed everything inside of them. And they were just waiting to lie down.

After I got out, I have tried to use my time to raise awareness about these conditions. I am currently working on a book and traveling the globe trying to share my message and educate people about the effects of solitary confinement. I have created AnthonyBelieves.com, which is my consulting firm that I use to help attorneys, nonprofit organizations, etc. I am asking for your support in my endeavors to bring attention to such inhumane issues by going to my website and ordering anything from my store to help offset my travel expenses. There’s also a petition on my webpage that I am asking 10 million people around the world to sign in solidarity with me as I stand up for justice.

Please help me and the ACLU get the word out about these conditions. Our death penalty system is broken in this country – it is applied unfairly against people. When you have a broken system, innocent people like me can end up on trial for their life. And subjecting anyone in prison to solitary confinement is torture. I am speaking on experience. Many of these same people are returning to our society, and when they do they come with all the baggage we put on them in the system. This keeps the rate of recidivism high.

In this country, we should be doing better than that. We should not have a criminal justice system turned into a criminal by the way we treat our citizens. Even when we do not like people or believe they have done something wrong, our emotions should not govern our society. We should be making laws from a rational perspective. We have to be above the criminal by keeping our system humane. Everyone should be treated like a human being. This is America.

Please share the new video I recorded for the ACLU to help get the word out about the double punishment of solitary confinement on death row. And make sure to read the ACLU’s new report. Also please check out AnthonyBelieves.com and give me your support while I cross the county and try to educate people about the inhumane treatment in our criminal justice system.

Thank you and best wishes.

For more on the double punishment of solitary confinement on death row, read the ACLU’s report A Death Before Dying.

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Full episode on CBS about Anthony Graves Wrongfully convicted


watch on CBS the full episode about Antony’s Case :http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50121760n&tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesArea.0

Anthony Graves Story on 48 Hours Saturday


The CBS news show 48 Hours Mystery will air a segment this Saturday with an update on former death row inmate Anthony Graves‘ story.

Graves was exonerated in 2010 after spending 18 years in prison, most of them on death row. He was wrongfully convicted in 1994 of six counts of capital murder and spent the better part of two decades fighting to prove his innocence. The state paid him $1.45 million last year for the time he was imprisoned, but getting the money he was owed required Graves to take on another fight with the state.

Texas law allows exonerees like Graves to apply for compensation for the time they spent wrongfully incarcerated. It provides exonerees $80,000 per year of incarceration in a lump sum and then another $80,000 per year of incarceration in a monthly annuity.

But Texas Comptroller Susan Combs initially denied Graves’ application for compensation because the court documents that freed him from prison did not declare his “actual innocence,” as the law required. Last year, 48 Hours reported, along with many other news outlets, on the state’s denial of compensation to Graves.

In response to the controversy over Graves’ case, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston filed a bill that changed the law to make him and other similar wrongfully convicted ex-inmates eligible for state compensation while still weeding out weaker innocence claims. The measure also makes exonerees eligible for the same health benefits given to Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees for a period of time equal to the time they spent in prison. And it restricts fees lawyers for exonerees can charge their clients.

“If it hadn’t been for 48 Hours Mystery, I don’t think I would be getting my compensation,” Graves said in a CBS press release.

Check out a sneak preview of Saturday’s show here.

source : texas tribune and CBS News

Antony Graves – wrongfully convicted


Anthony Graves, who was sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit, and after over 18 years in prison was finally released and totally exonerated in October 2010.

Hey fb go to my website: AnthonyBelieves.com and sign up to keep up with my travels as I speak around the world about the barbaric practice known as the death penalty. I will be speaking in Dallas Monday-stay tune.