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Focus on the Death Penalty

Death Row


 

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Of the 38 states that currently authorize the death penalty, 37 are holding prisoners under sentence of death, as is the federal prison system. Summary information on executions and persons under the death penalty in the U.S. is found here. Except for federal death row inmates, prisoners under the death sentence are held in the state prison death rows , for which on-line sources of death penalty information are provided here, including rosters of death row prisoners and of prisoners executed, descriptions of the execution process, and history of the death penalty within each state (when available). This page also links to resources on life in the death house and web sites on or about condemned prisoners. Information about the methods of execution used in the U.S. is also found here.

Disclaimer: The Justice Center is not responsible for the content of any outside site linked here, nor does a listing here imply an endorsement of a site's opinions or content or a guarantee of its accuracy. For further information about this site, including answers to questions by students, see the FAQ.

Death Row: Summary Information
Summary information on the status of the death penalty in the U.S.; statistics by state on executions in the United States since 1930 and persons under sentence of death. See the Statistics page for resources with additional death penalty statistics and execution rosters for the U.S. as a whole.

Executions in the U.S. 1930-1999; Persons under Sentence of Death 1998
(by state)
Status of the Death Penalty, December 31, 1998
Executions and number of prisoners under sentence of death in 1998 by state (rank order); jurisdictions without a death penalty
Persons Executed in the U.S. Under Civil Authority, By Race, 1930-1999
Persons Executed in the United States, 1977-1999 (post-Furman)
(by year and race)
  
Source of data: Bureau of Justice Statistics

State Prison Death Rows
Official death penalty information and statistics, execution procedures, death penalty information from other sources, and historical information on the death penalty in U.S. states which have a death penalty. See the Statistics page for death penalty statistics and execution rosters for the U.S. as a whole. Additional information on corrections, including directories of state correctional agencies, is available on the Justice Center Web Site Corrections page.

Information for additional states is being added.

Alabama  |  Arizona  |  Arkansas  |  California  |  Colorado  |  Connecticut  |  Delaware  |  Florida
Georgia  |  Idaho  |  Illinois  |  Indiana  |  Kansas  |  Kentucky  |  Louisiana  |  Maryland  |  Mississippi
Missouri  |  Montana  |  Nebraska  |  Nevada  |  New Hampshire  |  New Jersey  |  New Mexico
North Carolina  |  Ohio  |  Oklahoma  |  Oregon  |  Pennsylvania  |  South Carolina  |  South Dakota
Tennessee  |  Texas  |  Utah  |  Virginia  |  Washington  |  Wyoming

Alabama

   As of yearend 1999, Alabama had executed 154 prisoners since 1930, of whom 19 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 178 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Alabama death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Arizona

   As of yearend 1999, Arizona had executed 57 prisoners since 1930, of whom 19 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 120 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
  • Death Row and Executions: From the Arizona Department of Corrections; includes a roster of death row inmates; death penalty statistics; a history of the death penalty in Arizona; and a record of inmates receiving sentences of life imprisonment or death in Arizona from 1875 to 1967 and executions from 1910 to the present.
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Arizona death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:
  • Arizona Death Penalty History: From the Arizona Department of Corrections; discusses death penalty history in the state since 1916, with a chronological listing of executions and last meal requests.
  • Arizona State Prison Complex -- Florence: This facility houses Arizona male death row inmates and is where executions in Arizona are carried out; from the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Arkansas

   As of yearend 1999, Arkansas had executed 139 prisoners since 1930, of whom 21 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 40 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Indiana death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:
  • History: Important Dates: Brief history of the Arkansas Department of Corrections includes a number of items about death penalty history in the state.

California

   As of yearend 1999, California had executed 299 prisoners since 1930, of whom 7 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 512 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
  • Capital Punishment: From the California Department of Corrections; includes a roster of death row inmates; death penalty statistics; a history of the death penalty in California; a record of inmates receiving sentences of death in California from 1893 to the present; and photos of death row facilities.
Execution procedures:
Other sources of California death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Florida

   As of yearend 1999, Florida had executed 214 prisoners since 1930, of whom 44 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 372 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
  • Death Row Fact Sheet: Gives general facts about Florida's death row from the Florida Department of Corrections, including information about the daily routine of death row inmates, statistics, and death row milestones; lists inmates executed since the death penalty was reinstated in Florida in 1976 and for those executed from 1924 to 1964; provides a roster of inmates currently under sentence of death; and provides information on women who are or have been on death row. In most cases detailed information on the crimes for which prisoners were convicted is given.
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Florida death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Georgia

   As of yearend 1999, Georgia had executed 389 prisoners since 1930, of whom 23 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 109 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Georgia death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Illinois

   As of yearend 1999, Illinois had executed 102 prisoners since 1930, of whom 12 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 157 prisoners were under sentence of death.
   Note: On January 31, 2000, following the exonerations of 13 death row inmates found innocent of the capital crimes for which they were convicted, Governor George H. Ryan announced a moratorium on executions in Illinois until a review of the administration of the death penalty in the state could be conducted. A commission is being appointed to conduct the review. For further information, see Specific Issues: Executing the Innocent -- Illinois Cases of Exonerated Death Penalty Inmates.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
  • Information: Statistics on death row prisoners since the death penalty was reinstated in Illinois in 1977 are found in the Adobe Acrobat PDF file Condemned Unit Inmates Statistics from this page from the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Illinois death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Indiana

   As of yearend 1999, Indiana had executed 48 prisoners since 1930, of whom 7 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 45 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
  • Methods of Execution: The method currently authorized by Indiana statute is lethal injection; rom the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney.
Other sources of Indiana death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Kentucky

   As of yearend 1999, Kentucky had executed 105 prisoners since 1930, of whom 2 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 36 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Kentucky death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Louisiana

   As of yearend 1999, Louisiana had executed 158 prisoners since 1930, of whom 25 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 75 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
  • Not available.
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Louisiana death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Maryland

   As of yearend 1999, Maryland had executed 71 prisoners since 1930, of whom 3 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 17 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Illinois death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Missouri

   As of yearend 1999, Missouri had executed 103 prisoners since 1930, of whom 41 were executed since 1977; 81 prisoners remained under sentence of death.
   Note: On February 3, 2000, testimony was heard before the Missouri House Criminal Law on HB 1887, which if passed would place a moratorium on executions in Missouri from August 28, 2000, until January 1, 2003, during which time a commission on the death penalty would study all aspects of the death penalty in Missouri.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Missouri death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

North Carolina

   As of yearend 1999, North Carolina had executed 278 prisoners since 1930, of whom 15 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 187 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of North Carolina death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:
  • The Death Penalty in North Carolina: A history of the use of the death penalty in North Carolina since 1910, when the power to execute criminals for capital crimes was transferred from local authorities to the state.

Oklahoma

   As of yearend 1999, Oklahoma had executed 79 prisoners since 1930, of whom 19 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 144 prisoners remained under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Oklahoma death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Oregon

   As of yearend 1999, Oregon had executed 21 prisoners since 1930, of whom 2 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 23 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
  • Capital Punishment in Oregon: Describes life on death row and Oregon's protocol for execution by lethal injection; from the Oregon Department of Corrections.
Other sources of Oregon death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Pennsylvania

   As of yearend 1999, Pennsylvania had executed 155 prisoners since 1930, of whom 3 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 224 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
  • Death Penalty: Documents about administration of the death penalty in Pennsylvania, execution warrants, an execution list, and executions carried out from 1995 to the present are available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format from this site from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Pennsylvania death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:
  • History of the Death Penalty in Pennsylvania: Follows the history of capital punishment from colonial times, through the post-Furman reinstatement of the death penalty in 1978, to the present; from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

South Carolina

   As of yearend 1999, South Carolina had executed 186 prisoners since 1930, of whom 24 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 68 prisoners remained under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
  • Death Row and the Execution Chamber: South Carolina statute authorizes execution by either lethal injection or lethal gas. From the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
Other sources of South Carolina death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Texas

   As of yearend 1999, Texas had executed 496 prisoners since 1930, of whom 199 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 451 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
  • Statistics and Death Row: Death row roster with offender information; executions since 1982 with offender information; scheduled executions with offender information; and other statistical and descriptive information including statistics and information on women on death row, a racial breakdown of death row inmates, and foreign nationals on death row; from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Texas death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Virginia

   As of yearend 1999, Virginia had executed 165 prisoners since 1930, of whom 73 were executed since 1977. At yearend 1998, 39 prisoners were under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
Other sources of Virginia death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

Washington

   As of yearend 1999, Washington State had executed 50 prisoners since 1930, of whom 3 were executed since 1977; 12 prisoners remained under sentence of death.
Official death penalty information & statistics:
Execution procedures:
  • Washington's Protocol on Execution by Hanging: Excerpt from A Monitor: Methods of Execution & Execution Protocols (Committee on Criminal Justice, Florida Senate, September 1997) detailing the procedure followed by Washington authorities when a condemned inmates elect to be executed by hanging. Although lethal injection has been authorized as a method of execution in Washington since 1981, hanging was the primary method used in the state until June 1996, when Washington statute mandated that lethal injection be used unless the inmate chooses hanging.
Other sources of Washington death penalty information:
History of the death penalty:

 

Life on Death Row
Resources on life in the death house and condemned prisoners.

Indices

Individual Prisoners

  • Deadman Talking. Columns from Dean Carter, a prisoner on San Quentin's death row. Though protesting his innocence, Dean focuses on providing "a reasonably coherent account" of life on death row rather than on discussing his own case. Articles are provided in English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish.
  • The Jamal Summit: Mumia Abu-Jamal is an African-American journalist convicted in 1982 of the murder of a Philadelphia policeman, and has become perhaps the best-known death row prisoner due to vigorous activism on his behalf by persons convinced of his innocence. See also the site Refuse and Resist! Stop the Legal Lynching of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • Jeffrey Dicks Homepage: Jeffrey Dicks served 22 years on Tennessee's death row (1978-1999) after being convicted of taking part in the murder of a storekeeper. He died in May 1999 of heart failure. The original purpose of this site, maintained by his mother, Shirley Dicks, was to seek pro bono legal help for his appeals; it still maintains his innocence and provides information about the death penalty. An associated site seeks to improve medical care for prison inmate through the Jeff Dicks Medical Coalition.
  • Martin A. Draughon Home Page: Martin A. Draughon is on Texas' death row. This site is maintained by Danish anti-death penalty activist Niels Graverholt.

Other Resources

  • Lifespark: A Swiss anti-death penalty organization with information in English, German, Italian, and Spanish. Lifespark specialized in setting up penfriendships with U.S. death row inmates.

Methods of Execution
Five methods of execution are currently authorized by states and the federal government: lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, firing squad, and hanging. See also Specific Issues: Cruel & Unusual Punishment for resources regarding whether specific methods of execution could be regarded as cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Electrocution  |  Firing squad  |  Gas chamber  |  Hanging  |  Lethal injection

General Information

Lethal Injection
As of yearend 1998, execution by lethal injection was authorized by statute in 34 states and by the federal government.

  • Texas' Protocol on Execution by Lethal Injection: Excerpt from A Monitor: Methods of Execution & Execution Protocols (Committee on Criminal Justice, Florida Senate, September 1997) detailing the procedure followed by Texas authorities when a condemned inmate is

        Lethal injection

    executed. Lethal injection has been the sole method of execution authorized in Texas since 1977; the first execution by this method took place in 1982.

  • California Execution Procedures - Lethal Injection: Describes the execution procedure as practice in California step-by-step, from the receipt of the execution order to the date of execution, including the execution itself.

  • Execution Method: Since 1998, North Carolina statutes authorize execution by lethal injection only. The gas chamber and the electric chair have also been used in the past; from the North Carolina Department of Correction.

  • "Let's Get Real About Executions in America: Three Easy Steps" by James Carroll. The Boston Globe (op-ed piece.), May 31, 1994. An anti-death penalty opinion piece focusing on methods of execution and the presumed "humane" alternative of lethal injection.

  • Physicians for Human Rights (Lethal Injection): Documents related to PHR's opposition to lethal injection and the involvement of medical doctors in executions. The American Medical Association has also gone on record opposing physicians administering lethal injections or prescribing lethal drugs.

  • Medical Concern: Death Penalty Legislation in Illinois: London: Amnesty International, 12 May 1995. Discusses a bill in Illinois apparently introduced in response to opposition by medical professionals to medical involvement in executions by lethal injection. The bill's intent would be to weaken the application of medical ethics to the activities of physicians involved in executions.

Electrocution
As of yearend 1998, execution by electrocution was authorized by statute in 11 states.

Lethal Gas
As of yearend 1998, execution by lethal gas (gas chamber) was authorized by statute in 5 states.

Hanging
As of yearend 1998, execution by hanging was authorized by statute in 3 states.

  • Washington's Protocol on Execution by Hanging: Excerpt from A Monitor: Methods of

        alt

    Execution & Execution Protocols (Committee on Criminal Justice, Florida Senate, September 1997) detailing the procedure followed by Washington authorities when a condemned inmates elect to be executed by hanging. Although lethal injection has been authorized as a method of execution in Washington since 1981, hanging was the primary method used in the state until June 1996, when Washington statute mandated that lethal injection be used unless the inmate chooses hanging.

Firing Squad
As of yearend 1998, execution by firing squad was authorized by statute in 3 states.

  • Utah's Protocol on Execution by Firing Squad: Excerpt from A Monitor: Methods of Execution & Execution Protocols (Committee on Criminal Justice, Florida Senate, September 1997) detailing the procedure followed by Utah authorities when a condemned inmate elects to be executed by firing squad rather than by the other method of execution authorized in Utah statutes, lethal injection. To date, two Utah inmates have been executed by firing squad, including Gary Gilmore, the first person executed in the post-Furman era.


Green, Melissa S. ( 07-May-2013 ). "Death Row." In Melissa S. Green, compiler (1998-2009), Focus on the Death Penalty (website). Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. <http://justice.uaa.alaska.edu/death/deathrow.html> (accessed date).

[This is a suggested citation style for students. For further info, see FAQ: Citing this Website.]


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