Brunswick pastor wants students to visit death row

Pastor: Visit would be wakeup call for troubled youths

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Rev. Ken Adkins, a pastor from Brunswick, often finds himself on the forefront of controversial issues, but Thursday he brought one up.

Adkins wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, asking him permission to allow at-risk eighth graders to visit death row.

"Young people are visual. They need to be able to see and I believe especially those who are at the beginning edge of getting in trouble," said Adkins.

Adkins told Channel 4 that the idea behind the suggestion is so that kids can see firsthand the consequences of making reckless decisions.

"You have people very younger doing heinous things to each other and there ought to be, there has to be a certain level of consequences of accountability of responsibility, and the quicker we can teach young people that, the better off this world is going to be," said Adkins. "I think, you know, if you're big enough to do the crime, you're going to have to deal with the fact that you're big enough to do the time, and that is why again that we got to be able to show these young people this is not the road you want to go down."

Adkins' idea was not very popular with parents Channel 4 spoke with Thursday.

"It could be very traumatic. There's other deterrents than taking kids to death row, letting them see something like that," said Umar Abdul-Hakeem.

"I don't agree with that, too much for kids. I don't agree with that at all," said Al Chambers.

Not everyone thought visiting death row would be too much for teens to handle; some thought it could help redirect troubled youth.

"I think it's a wonderful idea because there's so many kids that are not being parented correctly, and if that works for them and they don't stay in trouble that would be wonderful," said Kathy LeSage.

"One thing that won't work is for us: to remain silent is travesty, will be a travesty if we remain silent. Somebody got to talk about it. Somebody has to do something. It has to start somewhere," said Adkins.

Adkins said he is not sure what will happen with his proposal, but he thinks it may be a program that could start in northeast Florida.

About the Authors: