The Marshall Project

Breaking the Unwritten Rule of Prison

Or, what happens when guards and inmates interact as human beings.

All of us condemned inmates were hurt when Chaplain Chestnut left the prison to pursue other opportunities and, he said, to save his marriage.

“Guys,” he told us one day, “I spend more time on death row than with my wife. She gave me a choice: her, or my work. I love her, so I’ve got to go. I’m sorry.”

Life Inside Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system. Related Stories

Chestnut’s departure was devastating because he’d always treated us fairly, even favorably, going out of his way to treat us as equals and as parishioners. Before and after executions, he provided counsel when no one

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