The death penalty has long been a topic of heated debate - but one death row inmate has made a heartbreaking video that may change people's minds...

The death penalty has long been a controversial issue.


But hearing from someone who's on death row makes for a rather unique experience.

The death penalty has been a part of the US justice system for centuries...


And the penalty, which is often referred to as capital punishment, has been in action since approximately 1608... yep, it's really that old.

But it's not currently legal in every state.


And as the years have gone on, it's become more and more of a controversial and taboo subject.

Many U.S states have now abolished the death penalty for a number of reasons...


Including the risk factors of executing an innocent person, the fact it doesn't prevent future crimes, and the fact that it is both discriminatory and can be used politically, as per Amnesty.

Organizations such as Amnesty have been fighting for decades to have the death penalty abolished entirely...

And they have been trying to expose and hold to account governments that continue to use the punishment.

Many find the death penalty totally barbaric.


When questioned philosophically, it's difficult to justify the state killing its citizens.

Campaigners argued that many of those executed over the last few years were killed despite suffering from serious mental and physical illnesses...


Which should have rendered the death penalty an unconstitutional punishment.

And some states have made huge progress in this field.


Recently, history was made by Virginia being the first-ever southern state to abolish the death penalty.

People were overjoyed by the news, to say the least...


And many are even calling for the abolishment to be nationwide.

Virginia is now the twenty-third state to abolish the death penalty.


And many are hoping for other Southern states to follow suit.

Many who still support the death penalty forget one thing.


That the criminals being executed are human beings.

And no one is beyond redemption.


People can change from the criminals they once were and become better.

As one man is proving.

Meet Quintin Jones.

This week, in an emotional video published by the New York Times, he makes a remarkable appeal.

Speaking to the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, he opens up about life on death row.

He stares at the camera from behind bulletproof glass and addresses Abbott directly.


And it makes for heartbreaking viewing.

​"I know you don't know me," Quintin Jones begins.


"I'm writing this letter to ask you if you could find it in your heart to grant me clemency, so I don't get executed on 19 May."

Jones is living on a tight deadline.


"I got two weeks to live, starting today."

Jones has had an undoubtedly troubled past.

He was arrested 1999 for murdering his great-aunt Berthena Bryant, 83 and stealing $30 of drug money.

Jones is not denying that this is wrong.

"So yeah I had a messed-up childhood. Yeah, I had drug addiction, alcohol addiction. Yeah I hated myself."

But in the 2 decades he has spent on death row, Jones has undergone a remarkable change.

"I'm nothing like that person," he explains.

"I became a man on death row, so now you killing the man, and not the child."

"The mistakes I made – it's mistakes, and it's not something definitely solid about who I am."

" I wouldn't be one of those that, you know, in 10, 20 years, you say 'I regret letting him live.'"

​The family of his great aunt have already forgiven Jones and are in favor of clemency.

"Quintin can't bring [my sister] back," Bryant's sister Mattie Long has expressed.

"I can't bring her back. I am writing this to ask you to please spare Quintin's life."

And it seems she is not alone.

With a petition with over 100,000 signatures already.

Watch the heartbreaking video here.

And scroll on for more news...