To be a poet is to create and march to one’s own beat. To be a poet against the malignant rhythm of this godforsaken prison, is a revolutionary act governed by a love greater than the hate Pete is so often forced to bear. Pete is a poet. He is not beyond a prisoner’s burden, but he refuses to allow it to define him. From a broken and bruised place, Pete’s poems are butterflies that cannot be confined. This collection of 100 poems is an embodiment of his perseverance and a reflection of our struggle as a species.

Address: TDCJ, Pete Russell, #999-443, P.O.Box 660400, Dallas, TX 75266-0400, USA


„Open eyes“ is my soul laid bare. I cannot remember a time that things didn’t deeply affect me. Although, I could never put it into words. So I punched and kicked walls. I’ve sworn, yelled, bit at the air; and, at my lowest point, tried to end it all. Today, I look at the toll on my body, my scars (inner and outer), and marvel at how I ever ended up in such dark places… and more importantly, how I ever came back from them. I have been incarcerated in prison for the majority of my life under the worst sentence possible: Death! Men with this sentence are relegated to a building that is segregated and isolated from all other prisoners. Thus, the people you meet are also faced with the same uncertainty. Over the years I’ve lost so many friends, and am so troubled by it. I don’t know if I can ever emotionally bond in this place again. I’ve often asked guys who’ve been here longer than me how they do it. I’ve gotten numerous answers. Some discovered God. Some discovered themselves through meditation, art, crafts and creative writing. I’ve tried various forms of religion before turning to Christianity; giving my life to Christ and giving it meaning. I also discovered poetry and creative writing (the language that gives sound to feeling). The fists of my emotions strike the walls inside of me (trapped and wanting out), finally finding a means of expression. „Open eyes“ is me, raw and uncut; free and unchained.

Address: TDCJ, Perry Williams, #999-420, P.O.Box 660400, Dallas, TX 75266-0400, USA


I am sitting in a concrete cell, stranded on Texas death row, waiting to be murdered by the state. I was convicted of murdering a convenience store clerk while attempting to rob him, if you let the state tell it. But none of that matters now. I am here, captured by four walls that have defeated some of the strongest men. The fight is not only for my life but for the preservation of my sanity. Sitting on a steel makeshift bed, I look in retrospect at the long journey that has brought me to this situation.

Chris was executed on July 17, 2018



Wie kann ein Mann, der durch die Giftspritze sterben soll, noch bis zu seinem Tod steif und fest behaupten, dass ihm dieses Urteil das Leben rettete? Was führte zu dem Mord, der ihn in die Todeszelle brachte? Und wieso bat selbst die Familie des Opfers noch um Gnade für ihn? In eigenen Worten beschreibt Chris Young in dieser Biografie seinen Lebensweg. Er erzählt von einer Kindheit im Ghetto, von Rassismus, vom Leben in einer der berühmtesten Gangs der Welt, von seinem Widerstand im Todestrakt und vor allem davon, wie er es schließlich doch noch schaffte, sich von all dem zu befreien.