brief introduction of myself" - January 2004
wanted to share thing.... - February
Story - written by STACY L.
am writing in response I got recently, well semi-recently, to ask for
some help and guidance. My name is Steven Woods, and I have been on
Texas Death Row for about a year and a half. I am getting really tired
of the poor treatment we receive and the conditions in which we are
forced to live. I am not content to just sit idle and let the state of
Texas and the TDCJ administation oppress me. I want to change our
situation, but I don't know what to do or where to turn for help. I
really don't know too much about TDCJ, the Death Penalty, how the
administation works and thinks, or how the rules/policies are formed.I
have kept myself oblivious to everything in an attempt to deal with
the state of my life and in doing so, have wasted so much time that
could have been spent learning how to better it.
have spent the majority of my life fighting, rebelling against the
"System" however I could. In here, I should be doing no
different. I have tried going to other inmates for help, but sadly,
most are content or just sitting passively and accepting their fate.
They offer no advice but to sit on my bunk and wait to die. I know
there is little, if anything, that I can do. All I know is that I have
to get people involved. How do I do this, who do I write, and what do
I ask them to do? These are three main problems.
can we do/ We want to get those on Death Row the same privileges that
every non-death row TDCJ inmate enjoy, should they behave themselves.
would be greatful for any help you can give. Mainly advice and
for being there for us. We need it. The world would truly be a dark
place if it wasn't for people like you.
hope and sincere respect, Steve Woods 999427
brief introduction of myself"
name is Steven Woods, a 23 year old inmate on Texas Death Row. How I
got here is a long story that I may tell at some other time. I don't
like to talk about myself too much, at least, I'm not too good at it,
so this introduction will probably lack substance.
am an Anarchist, in the pure sense of the word. I believe that we
should live our lives as we see fit, by our own moral judgement and
with our own sense of good and evil, right or wrong. We, as a single
person, or in society as a whole, should not expect, demand, that
other should live by a set of principles determined by a person, a
conglomerate of persons, or a divine entity. We were given free will,
and we should use it. This is Anarchy, not the senseless distruction,
violence, and lawlessness that the government, the media, and the
entertainment industry show you. And this is how I lived my life.
not sure that I believe in a God, so much as I believe there is some
force in the universe. If I were to subject myself to labeling my
beliefs or aligning them with any religious ideology, it would be
Taoism. I believe in Balance, and Chaos is as much a part of it as
Order, therefore both are sacred.
enjoy all types of music, although my favorites are punk rock, classic
rock, and big band jazz. Most of my freedom I hung out with the
"alternative " crowd. A bunch of punk rockers and hippies.
People who acted on the same principles as I did.
am from Michigan, but I spent most of my "adult" years
traveling around the US. The West Coast is to me, the best place in
the country. I didn't really like Texas, but it looks like I'm going
to spend the remainder of my time here.
would like people to write to establish friendships. What I'm more
concerned with, though, is trying to better our situation here on
Death Row. I'm in desperate need of information and advice.
Polunsky Unit D.R.
3872 FM 350 South
just wanted to share some things I’ve
thinking about lately, and give you a look inside my mind. I am a
collector of quotes and catch-phrases. If something I read or hear jumps
out at me, I write it down. I can find a quote for just about any
occasion. I read a book recently, by someone I think to be a genius;
Paulo Coelho. In the book was the line, “What the eyes don’t see,
the heart doesn’t grieve over.” What do you think?
many people here in america (notice I use a lower case a-I have no
respect for my country) actually think the death penalty is a good idea.
most of my countrypersons will say, “Yeah, I’m for the death
penalty” and not give it a second thought. The government says it’s
right, so it’s right. The government says it’s humane, so it’s
they don’t take into account is that we are isolated, spending 24
hours a day in solitary confinement until the time our sentence is
actually applied. This lasts, for an average, 6 years. This is the
inhumane part of the death penalty. Let’s face it; america will always
have the death penalty. Our society is too blood thirsty to change that.
So let’s try something less impossible (and yeah, I have a quote for
that too, courtesy of my dear friend Sarah: Let us be realists, let us
insist on the impossible.-Che Guevara)
is my opinion that, since society cannot see through these walls, cannot
see how we are forced to live our lives until we are murdered’ they
just don’t care (refer to the first quote) Their interest stopped
after the judge said, ”I sentence you to death by lethal injection,
and remand you to state custody in a facility designed to hold you until
the sentence is carried out.” Oh yeah, I forgot to add the good part,
where the judge says, “I am suspending your sentence until the time
when your conviction is CONFIRMED by your direct appeal.” (My
conviction has not been confirmed as of yet, I just filed the brief for
direct appeal-I can still vote for the president this year-Imagine
people took a look at what happens to us while we await justice, things
would be different. They would be saying, “save the environment”,
“save the whales”,” Save the sanity of a death row inmate!” I
think that maybe they would start caring about us and our fate, and act
to help us find some measure of comfort. After all, we are-for the time
being-living breathing human beings. The problem lies in actually making
them see, feel, and know what our lives have been reduced to.
instance, does society know, that here on Texas Death Row, we are
allowed NO FORM of human contact, other than when the guard or doctor
has us out of our cells? We are kept on 23 hour lockdown, isolated from
most other inmates in a 6 by 9 cell. Do they know what it is like to be
cut off from positive human contact, and knowing that it will be like
that for the rest of our lives?
am going to die without ever being able to hug my mother, without ever
being allowed to even touch her hand, her and the rest of my loved ones.
Could you imagine what it feels like? For the rest of my life I will be
deprived of everything that is required for a person to maintain any
semblance of mental health. Another person controls almost every aspect
of my life, and I can do nothing when they decide how they want me to
is no way that this web-page could hold a full treatise of the
conditions of Death row, so I will leave off right there, and go onto a
different line of thought. Feel free to contact me for a continuation of
my rant about the conditions.
you want to know what I was thinking about when the judge read me my
I was standing there, showing no emotion (as the newspapers claimed) i
was thinking about my cat. Of all the things in my head that could have
surfaced at that particular moment when I was being condemned, I was
wondering if my cat was OK. I imagine that my cat-her name is
Koshka(it’s Russian for cat, as I am not very creative) is doing
rather well. Last I knew, Koshka was living with a priest.(my
ex-fiance’s father is an Episcopal priest-I was staying with him
before I got locked up)
would try to tell you how I got here, but I’m not sure how myself.
I’m not a violent person. I can count on one hand how many fights
I’ve been in. I’m rather timid actually, and my biggest fear is
confrontation. That might be hard to believe, given my Mohawk hair-style
and my punk rock lifestyle, but it’s true.
sometimes have a tendency to lean toward chaos is the disruption
(NOT destruction-please note that) of the natural order of things. I
like to cause problems, make people think, different to society’s day
to day life. But the problems I cause are just harmless pranks, and I am
am the person who shouts “Freebird” in church when the Minister
first approaches the pulpit.(Yeah, I know-for a person so afraid of
confrontation, I sure put myself out there. We overcome our
fears, though, when we face our fears.) I’ve never actually done that,
but now you understand my little piece of chaos.
think I have a way to end the death penalty. If we could force the
government to televise executions on the evening news-on every news
channel-(on every other channel, too) people would be forced to face the
reality of what they determine to be “the right thing to do”. If
society could see the person breathe his last breath, hear his last
words-they would re-think where they stand on the issue. If we made the
Ultimate Penalty a part of daily life, people would be forced to
re-examine their beliefs. if people were constantly forced to see what
their decision actually was, and made to be a part of it, the death
Penalty would end. If you are reading this, and you are a lawyer, please
write to me. I want to petition the courts to show my execution on the
evening news.(if it happens-hopefully justice will actually be done, and
I will go free, as I am innocent)
that is correct, I said I was innocent. Everyone on death row (most
everyone) claims to be innocent, but I really am. This is the first time
I have ever been in jail or prison, and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the
experience! That doesn’t mean that I’ve never committed any crimes,
however. I spent a lot of time doing and selling drugs. I think the
biggest mistake I ever made was getting involved with cocaine and
first time I prepared the needle for my fix, I knew, I KNEW my life
would never be the same. I knew I was crossing over the line, and yet I
put the needle in my arm, and said, ”Good Bye, Friend, times were oft
good, but it’s a whole new world now.” I knew what the drug would do
to me, I knew what it would turn me into, And I actually processed that
information in my head before I shot the drug up. I knew what a depraved
being the drug would turn me into, you see, before I used any new
substance, I studied it to find out exactly what it was.
had all the facts and made a conscious decision to through away my life
as I know it. And why? Was my life so bad that the only way I could
survive was to make it worse? Do I regret it? Would I do it the same way
if I were sent back to that moment when I was sitting in a trashed out
apartment in Detroit holding a syringe loaded with “The New Life”?
will answer these questions in order: The reason, initially, that I made
the decision that I made was that I just didn’t care anymore. I WANTED
to experience the life of a heroin junkie. I thought that the only way
to redeem myself was to crawl to the bottom of the hole so that I could
fall no lower. I believed that, by inflicting on myself the harshest
possible life, no one could do anything to hurt me anymore or take any
more from me. A heroin junkie-a true junkie in the depths of his
addiction-is to me, a soulless being. An unthinking, unfeeling wretch
that has nothing to offer and no where to go.
I ask myself if I regret that path, I find it very hard to answer. I
would like to say yes, I do-but that wouldn’t be honest. The only way
a person learns anything from life is from experiences. I do not have
the words to describe the hells that I went through to finally be able
to re-join the human race, and start caring again, but everything I went
through made me the person I am today. I do not like the person I was
before then, but I do like who I am now. Without the experiences that i
had, I would be a different person, and since I actually learned,
benefited,(I know that sounds weird coming from death row, but bear with
me)from the torments of my addiction. So no, I really don’t regret it.
If I had it all to do again, I would like to say I’d do it
differently. That, however, is an impossible question to answer. If I
went back to that moment that destroyed my life, I would still be
feeling what I felt. I would still be where I was at. And I would not
know what the future would hold.
hope, however, that you do not think that I am in any way endorsing that
way of life. I’m not. I know, NOW, that those drugs are not a solution
to any problem or situation. I have an odd outlook on life. I see things
differently than most people, and I did what I thought would be the best
for me. So, I was wrong, even if i don’t regret it. If I could help
anyone to benefit from the things I learned on the paths I chose, if you
know of any websites that discuss issues dealing with drugs-how to avoid
them, how they work, and what they turn you into, please send me their
address so that I can offer my
advice. This is a sincere request. The only reward I’m after is the
knowledge that I helped someone-that my life means something to other
was really hard for me to open up as much as I did in these pages. These
things I haven’t told my family, or my closest friend. I find it
easier to write these things to a total stranger (or in this case, a lot
of total strangers) than to people I know and love. I hope, Mom, Sarah,
that reading these things on the internet, and not in a letter from me,
doesn’t upset you. I trust you completely, but it’s easier for me
this way. You know my heart is always with you all.
you took time, readers, to get this far, thank you. Once I got going it
was hard to stop. I will add more to my story here sometime later, or
you could write to me, if you’re interested.
that the world be destroyed, than a person acts against his nature.”
Hope and Sincere Respect,