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Jan 5, 2021

When we're at our worst, what does it take for us to forgive ourselves and forge a better path forward? And, is this a possibility even from a place like Death Row?  I kick off Season 3 of Humans, Now and Then with a conversation with Tessie Castillo, author of Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row, along with one of her co-authors Alim, who joins our conversation from North Carolina's Central Prison death row.


Tessie Castillo is an author from Durham, North Carolina. She co-wrote her first book, Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row, with four men serving death sentences in North Carolina, whom she met while volunteering at North Carolina’s Central Prison in 2014.


Michael J. (Alim) Braxton is a co-author of Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row.  He has been a death row inmate at North Carolina's Central Prison since 1996, sentenced to death after the murder of a fellow inmate while serving a sentence for a previous murder. Alim has since taken accountability for his actions, has found his faith, and advocates for innocent prisoners on death row.


Alim mentioned Henry McCollum, who was released from North Carolina's Death Row after 30 years once he was proven innocent. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death row, along with his brother, when they were teenagers. More information here:


According to the National Academy of Sciences, at least 4% of people who are sentenced to death are innocent:


Alim mentions Elrico Fowler as one death row prisoner who maintains his innocence.  This article explains the complicated nature of death row convictions in North Carolina, especially those occurring several years ago.


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