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BEYOND REDEMPTION?

There are about 600 inmates who await execution in the state of California. A dozen of these are women. All of them have committed heinous crimes. But that doesn’t stop Ann Baker, a grandmother from San Diego, from treating the inmates like she believes Jesus would treat them.

Baker heads a letter writing campaign designed to love the men and women on Death Row. The people who write do not write to condemn or condone. They write out of conviction and compassion. They write because they believe even the worst criminal is a child of God.

The letters are sometimes mundane. Baker writes to her prison pen pal about the dog, going to church and seeing the hot-air balloon festival in Albuquerque. Her male pen pal tells Baker about exercising in the prison yard and of the screaming and cursing that goes on around him at night. "On a bad night, it's hard to hold onto his sanity," she says.

They trade trivia questions. "We're constantly trying to stump each other," says Baker.

One LA County attorney who...

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