First Place winner- Rocky Lucciano
I believe that Bobby Williams’s jailhouse conversion to Christianity is just a way to convince the parole board to let him out of jail. It is a common practice in jails amongst inmates to convert to Christianity because a letter of reference from a chaplain is good to have before a parole board hearing. He obviously thinks that the parole board will see this change as a sign that he is ready to be let free and to re-join society. Is it possible for someone with his behavior to change? Yes! Is it probable? No! It is possible that he converted to Christianity but there is more to an individual becoming a better person than just converting to religion to justify release from prison for such an evil and wicked crime. I believe his crimes both outside and inside of jail were both serious enough to warrant the death penalty. Williams committed extremely monstrous acts to get into jail. He broke into a barn and bound an old couple. He spent hours and hours terrorizing them before the wife had a stroke and died. Williams felt no guilt for the wrongs he committed to this elderly harmless couple. Years later, when he was supposed to be rehabilitating, he was also viciously violent while in jail. He was part of a prison riot and savagely broke Wes’s fingers by not just bending them but slowly and painfully twisting them. Williams burned Wes by putting his cigarettes out on the soft under side of his forearm. He carved his name into Wes’s skin. He again had no remorse.
Inmates may become involved with religion to gain physical protection, meet other inmates for the purpose of passing contraband, meet volunteers of the opposite sex, or obtain special prison resources like food or coffee. Williams shows he is a sociopath when they met at the bus stop. Williams told Wes that he did not know he was a fiddler. Wes asked Williams if that would have mattered and Williams told him “Yes, I would have skipped the cigarettes and the flesh carving and went straight to your fingers!”
Williams was incarcerated with the worst of the worst for decades. What little good character Williams had in that 20 year incarceration disappeared because bad company corrupts good character. You are as good as the people around you. “He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.”
Second Place winner – Sonya Morgan
A loss of a person is never easy on anyone especially when it’s someone very close to you. While reading this book I noticed that I can really relate to Wesley and his experience of losing his wife. I noticed that it is never easy to lose someone and try to move on with your life without that person there by your side with you. Ever since I was a young child I would always go to my grandparents’ house every chance I got so that I could hang out with my grandpa and go camping with him. A little over two years ago I lost my grandpa due to Agent Orange. Ever since he had died it gets harder to picture his face and try to remember what his voice sounded like. I feel like I am going through the exact same thing that Wesley is going through because in the book it states that he went to the store to go buy dish soap and he couldn’t remember what one his wife Claire use to buy when she was alive. Wesley is afraid of forgetting the small things about Claire because he is afraid that eventually he is going to forget her all together. I have gone through the same thing all the time I am afraid that I am going to forget everything about my grandpa and not be able to remember all the laughs that we shared together over the years. While reading this book it really opened my eyes and made me see that I am not the only one that goes through this and that it is part of the grieving process.