So not sure if you caught it in my previous post, but on Friday Matt and I traveled down to Huntsville, TX, to go on a field trip of the Walls Unit.
The assistant warden was our tour guide that day, and he showed us the original cells that were used (sorry, couldn't bring a camera and I couldn't find pictures online), the yard, the chapel, and of course death row.
I've been to the Dachau Concentration Camp outside of Munich, so I'm not a stranger to visiting places known for death. Visiting that camp is something I'll never forget, nor will I forget this trip.
That evening prior to our visit, the state of Texas executed Beunka Adams. I was not aware of this until we had arrived at the prison. Going into a room where less than 24 hours before someone had been put to death... honestly there are no words to describe it. Our tour guide walked us through the entire process, minute-by-minute, including his role, all while we are standing in the room.
Other random facts about the prison, not related to death row:
- The church service every Sunday is filled to capacity
- They have a turtle inside the yard. He lives in his little habitat called Jurassic Park and even has a TDCJ number. Some offenders are given the responsibility of caring for him.
- It's like a zoo being in there as the visitors are staring at the prisoners and they are staring right back.
- Apparently the old cell block is haunted. Prisoners and guards alike tell of several ghost stories; some say they refuse to ever go in there again.
- This is one of only 2 units in Texas where prisoners are allowed TVs in their cells. The prisoners for this reason prefer the Walls unit and they are generally better behaved than other units.
And there you have it- a first-hand encounter with the infamous Walls unit in Huntsville. If you get a chance to go to Huntsville, there is a really good prison museum that you should check out. Of course you can go on a driving tour of various other units in the area and go see the cemetery where prisoners who died but did not families to claim their bodies are buried.
I will again remind everyone that this is not meant to start any kind of political debate about the death penalty. As I said above, if I receive any offensive/negative comments, I will delete them. I don't want to block the comment feature on this post as if someone wants to reflect/comment on the experience in a thoughtful/polite/rational manner, I want to allow them to do so. It is an interesting experience I had, one that I don't think a lot of people do have, so I thought I would share it.