Today, in the South Bend, Indiana Tribune, he writes of his relationship with Donald Ray Wallace Jr., who is scheduled to be executed by the state of Indiana on Wednesday. Wallace is not seeking clemency from the governor.
Here are some excerpts from Joseph's fine piece:
Don Wallace was one of death row's longest residents, and during his years there, as all of us do, he changed. On death row, while some become angry or unstable, Don Wallace became holy. He spent long hours reading, meditating, drawing, and when he could, playing a guitar. When I met Don, he was not the young, foolish, addicted person he had been many years before.
Time does things to people. Its effects are never the same from person to person, but time always changes people. And time brought many good changes in Don Wallace.
This is the man the state of Indiana executes this week. A man who is nothing like the one who committed an awful crime so many years ago. Don Wallace changed. He is not the young, dangerous kid he once was.
Because of this, the lies inherent in Indiana's death penalty are exposed. People will be no safer with his execution. No one will be deterred from a future crime because of Don's execution on Wednesday night. And any governor, former governor, or state representative who tells you so is lying. And they know it.
This is one of the many tragedies built into the death penalty -- it ignores change. It forever labels a person, according to one act he might have committed. And as we all know, none of us is our past. We change. If we're lucky and holy, we change a lot.
To read the entire column, go here.