|Hymns by Alvin Kelly|
|Interview with Alvin Kelly - By The Kilgore News Herald|
TRIAL BY FIRE
My name is Alvin Kelly, I am presently
incarcerated on Texas Death Row
at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. We (Death Row) were moved
over here to the then Terrell Unit since named Polunsky Unit in March
2000 from Ellis One Unit in Huntsville, Texas, where we had a work
program, religious services, in-cell craft program, group exercise and
in and outs each hour on the hour, just as population does. Of course
we were not allowed to mingle with population inmates, we were kept in a
Death Row society separated from all the others.
Since our move to the new Polunsky Unit
we have been placed in isolation
cells and denied all we have grown used to. I have been on DR now for
over 10 years, 8 of those years I spent on the work program free of
handcuffs and allowed all privileges as were available at that time.
Since coming here to the Polunsky Unit
we are locked in our cells 23
hours a day. We are allowed out for one hour exercise plus a shower.
The rest of the time we are in our cells. These are isolation cells 11
ft x 7 ft with a stainless steel sink and toilet, a bunk against the far
wall and a small table built into the wall by the head of the bunk, all
made of steel.
We are not allowed any work program
at all, no TVs, no religious
services, no craft program, and no group rec. Everything here is single
man cells and single man rec (exercise). We are strip searched and
handcuffed every time we leave our cell for any reason. Escorted by 2
officers, one holding on to your arm at all times, to any place we go,
shower, rec, medical or visitation. Then placed in the cage at
destination and uncuffed, all except medical. You are never uncuffed
during medical exam at all for any reason.
I explain all of this to give you an
idea of what a day on DR is like
and the isolation cells add to the tension and atmosphere. I am a
Christian and consider myself a strong and mature Christian. As Iíve
said, Iíve been on the Row now for over 10 years and I have never been
in any trouble and never had a disciplinary case of any kind for any
reason. At Ellis Unit I was allowed Bible study on Friday nights and
church service on Sunday. So I kept my life filled with doing Godís
business and reading and studying His word. My perspective on most
things is different than most because I align all I do to Godís law and
His word. I try to live at peace with all men, including the authority
over me here.
I learned a lot about myself after coming
to the Polunsky Unit back in
March 2000. A lot of it I didnít like and was honestly very ugly. My
speech changed, my attitude towards others changed, my temper got
shorter and my whole world just seemed to be out of control. I still
read by Bible daily, do a college Bible study course, and pray 3- times
a day. But still I seem to be mad most of the time.
In December of 2001 the Unit instituted
a new policy of our personal
property could not exceed 2 bags. So this brought on a major shakedown
which we were all locked down in our cells 24/7. During this shakedown
I received my very first disciplinary case which was for having my old
craft supplies that I was once allowed to purchase while at Ellis One.
This consisted of my small stapler, staples, craft scissors, 1 oz glue
bottle, craft razor blade, and some clear tape. All of which Iíve had
for over 2 years of being here. I pleaded guilty to the charge because
I was in possession of the items. However, a 10 year clean disciplinary
record did not mean anything, so I was given 15 days cell restriction,
then placed on Level 2 and moved to F-pod. F-pod is a disciplinary pod
totally Level 2 and Level 3. Level 2 is property restriction, i.e. radio,
fan typewriter, all electrical, no commissary except 10 dollars postage
materials (stamps, pen, legal pads, envelopes etc.) every 2 weeks.
Level 2 can also buy hygiene supplies once every 30 days, i.e. shampoo,
toothpaste, deodorant. We are not allowed anything else from the unit
commissary. Weíre only allowed rec one hour a day Monday Ė Thursday, 4
days a week. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday we are locked down 24/7.
We were not even allowed our thermal underwear this winter even when it
was down to 30 degrees outside. We are only allowed 2 regular visits a
month. Level 1 is allowed 1 visit per week each month.
Level 3 is not allowed any hygiene supplies
at all, only postage every 2
weeks. So the atmosphere down here is filled with animosity. The
people back here are denied anything beyond the meager necessities to
survive in any sort of dignity or humanity. It is an evil and vile
place. The atmosphere is filled with cussing, beating and banging and
floods, fires, feces and urine being chunked on people, gas being
sprayed in peoplesí cells or the day room where everyone has to breathe
it in. Visitation being denied some just because they live on F-pod,
and it just goes on and on.
I write this article to reflect what
I as a Christian have learned in my
stay back here at F-pod. I do not begrudge or belittle any man back
here his stand or actions against this unfair and unjust disciplinary
system. I myself have to answer to God first and then to man. I try to
live my life, even back here, in obedience to Godís law and submissive
to manís. Iíve found it hard, cruel and at times almost unbearable.
However, what I have learned is that God sometimes allows us to be
placed in a situation or circumstances of our own making to allow us to
face a deep seated sin in our lives so we can recognize it and confess
it to Him, and grow in maturity and spirituality. Mine I came to know
face to face was my anger. I am not proud of my actions upon first
arriving on F-pod nor my response to the officials around me, as well as
other inmates. However, as I was faced with all this and came to see
the ugly anger buried deep within me, I began to cry out to God, Help
The first day I did this I must have
went to God 20 times asking for His
help to get past my anger. The next day maybe 15, then 10, then 5, and
so on until even now I still get angry and believe me in this place its
just a matter of time. But now as soon as I do, no matter what the
circumstances, I go straight to God and Iím over it. I may not still be
happy but Iím not out of control either, therefore I sin not. I take it
to God, he calms my soul, forgives me, I therefore forgive the person I
was angry with and God deals with the problem so its not a problem any
I still have a long way to go in my
walk and I am trying every day to
study and pray to come closer to Christ so I can be a witness in this
darkness to all those who are lost so they too can come to know the hope
and the joy of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Alvin Kelly 99012
Feb. 19 2002
Alvin Kelly would appreciate
pen pals and mail.
Please forward your mail to him directly at the following address:
Mr. Alvin Kelly , #999012
Polunsky Unit DR.
3872 FM 350 South
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This page was last updated September 20, 2002 Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
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