Pen Pal Group Grows for Those on Death Row

"Jan Arriens was so moved by a 1987 BBC film about a US death row prisoner, he wrote to the executed man's cellmates. The replies inspired him to found a group - now boasting 1,700 members - to correspond with condemned convicts."

We are reminded of Joseph Amrine, who sat on death row in Missouri for killing another prisoner from 1986 until until last week, when the Missouri Supreme Court vacated his death sentence and found that Amrine had shown "clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence that undermines confidence" in his conviction. When interviewed a few years ago for the Benneton anti-death penalty campaign, "We on Death Row," Amrine was asked what he would like people reading his interview to know.

"Could you put in there that I like to write? That if there's anybody out there that wants to write me, that I'll write him back."

[ed. note. Due to the controversy surrounding the Benneton campaign, it is no longer available on the Internet, to our knowledge. We have around ten hard copies of it left, which we use when we lecture on the topic of "Defending the Hated Defendant: Why We Do What We Do." About the size of an issue of Life Magazine, with similar full page pictures, it was included as a supplement to the now defunct Talk Magazine in January, 2000. If you can get your hands on a copy, we highly recommend it.]

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