13 pen pals maintain the toedts alone with prison inmates in the USA. On this country henry toedt also focused an advance for 2020. He wants to strengthen his commitment to a humane penal system. Especially in the united states. He plans to contact 20 german-language newspapers to raise awareness about the issue.
Abuse and mistreatment
From letters, the couple knows that the situation in the privately run prisons is dramatic. Inmates and female inmates report mistreatment and abuse. "Every prison has its own rules of the game", reports henry toedt. These range from sometimes unfounded discipline in solitary confinement to male supervisors in women’s showers.
No wonder many prisoners feel forgotten and lost. "Some no longer have a human being", female henry toedt. Together with his wife, he writes letters to such people to give them a sign of hope.
The toedts are currently in contact with 20 prisoners. They feel it is their mission to win over more people to their kind of affection. "When families turn their backs, the perpetrators feel "all alone", the pensioner describes the dilemma. "Bridge to life the two 68-year-olds describe their commitment. The collection of letters they have received since 2012 has now grown to nine folders.
Around 200 letters per year
Both spend many hours on the conversation. They write around 200 letters a year. Monika toedt paints the post office lovingly. The answers are usually also very emotional, decorated with pictures or stickers.
These sentiments in the post do not reveal at first glance the harsh world they come from. "In the united states, the penal system is much more rigid than in germany", female henry toedt. Under president donald trump, the situation has once again worsened. But the tough approach of the judicial authorities makes no sense. The toedts back this up with a reference to the fate of a woman who was sentenced to 8000 years in prison. In germany, life sentences average 23 years of imprisonment.
Toedt believes that punishment without punishment has no deterrent effect. He ties this finding to, among other things, the fact that there are 50,000 drug deaths per year in the U.S. Despite high threats of punishment, drug trafficking continues unabated.
The toedts don’t want to spare the crimes of their pen pals. Such as that of a woman imprisoned in the state of mississippi who killed two people and then hid the bodies in a freezer. Everyone should get a fair punishment, the couple believes. Back in the love of all people they trace in the faith. 2012 love catholic baptism. The fact that they are committed to a marginalized group is also due to their own life path. The couple once made their fortune in the hamburg real estate business. The carefree life was followed by a fall into hartz IV. Many supposed friends turned away. "That’s when you realize what’s really important", finds henry toedt.
Death penalty prevented
The year 2020 will be a different story for the toedts. Probably in short the trial against robert robertson will be reopened again. Robertson served twelve years in a death cell in the united states for allegedly shaking his daughter to death. As for the other prisoners, the couple from hammelburg prayed for robertson in the town’s parish church, sometimes several times a day.
Together with celebrities from around the world, the toedts participated in petitions to protest to the judicial authorities against robertson’s imminent death. The action was well received. A few days before the execution, the penalty was suspended for a new start of the proceedings. It is fates like these that encourage the toedts to continue on their way. Report in the frankenschau of the bayerischen rundfunk here