Prison assisted suicide – the Texas way (2022)

by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

During the 1980s-‘90s, Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s name achieved nationwide notoriety. He advocated and participated in the medically-assisted suicides of terminally ill people. His motives he said were compassionate. The controversy surrounding Kevorkian led to changes in legislation and he was criminally convicted several times, culminating in a 1998 murder conviction and a 10-25 year prison term.

It is a twisted irony that the same sorts of deeds that put this professional pathologist in prison are carried out for sport rather than compassion by pathologists of a very different sort – these being ones who run the prisons.

Here is a case in point. On Sept. 4, 2014, I was brought to my segregation cell door by other prisoners’ excited voices signaling that something was amiss. My attention was drawn to cell H109, which then housed another prisoner, Todd Hines. Todd, like over half of those confined at this Clements Unit in remote Amarillo, Texas, is a documented mentally ill prisoner who receives psychotropic medications daily. As such, he is illegally housed in administrative segregation, the conditions of which federal courts have unanimously found only exacerbate mental illness, with Texas’ administrative segregation units among the worst.[1]

I observed a guard, Julio Lucero Jr. stick his hand into the open hatch of Todd’s cell door and spray a long burst of OC gas (oleoresin capsicum gas, or pepper spray) into the cell. In a matter of minutes the gas circulated into everyone else’s cell (67 cells in all) through the pod’s ventilation system. With nose and eyes burning, I continued to watch as the minutes ticked by.

Two sergeants entered the pod after a while, walking very slowly, approaching Todd’s cell. One sergeant, Ralph Chavez, looked in at Todd for a moment, then asked casually, “What’s going on?” Hines was standing in the cell with several long deep gashes cut into his neck and temple. According to witnesses closer to the scene, blood was pulsing out the side of his neck from an obviously severed jugular vein and his face was a mask of red. Chavez told Todd several times with no particular urgency to “throw out the razor.”

In another few minutes a nurse, Tammy Williams, entered pushing a gurney, also walking very slowly, obvious in her effort to take as long as possible to reach Todd’s cell. She then looked in at him and asked, “What’s wrong with you?” I later overheard Lucero tell another prisoner that every time Todd would talk, blood would shoot out of his neck, which explained their standing at the cell inducing Todd to answer absurd questions, obviously stalling. A portable audio-video camera was brought in to record the situation.

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Finally, Chavez directed Lucero and another guard to have Todd perform a full strip search even though he already kicked the razor blade under the cell door. Regardless, Lucero slowly walked Todd through the search; first directing him to hand out his blood-saturated boxers which Lucero inspected with latex-gloved hands. Everything was done very slowly.

Lucero instructed Todd, “Open your mouth; run your finger between your lips and gums; run your hands through your hair; let me see behind your ears; move your tongue around; turn around; let me see the bottom of your left foot; wiggle your toes; now your right foot.” By then Todd, weak and dizzy from massive blood loss, leaned against his cell wall, so they made him start the search all over again, warning him that touching anything would cause them to start yet again. “Open your mouth; run your finger between your lips and gums. . . .” Had he collapsed, he’d likely have bled to death while they had a team of guards dress out in body riot armor and protective biohazard suits.

There was no disguising that all involved were trying to watch Todd bleed out and die. A prison-assisted suicide.

After he miraculously finished the search, Todd was made to put both hands out the door’s slot to be handcuffed from behind. A radio call was made to open the cell and he was ordered to crawl out into the pod backwards on his knees, while blood continued to pulse out of his neck onto the floor. He was then made to stand and walk unsteadily out of the pod.

That Todd survived at all defies logic. The guards and nurse were certainly not to be credited. In fact, the guards later openly expressed being quite entertained by the incident, as were several prisoners.

There was no disguising that all involved were trying to watch Todd bleed out and die. A prison-assisted suicide.

But some, like myself, were angry and disgusted. Several, not knowing if I’d seen it all, later sent me notes telling me what they’d witnessed, knowing I’d want to bring attention to it. Here’s what one wrote:

“We got another inmate neglect. At 11:18 a.m. Officer Lucero and that Mexican officer saw Hines, cell 109 bleeding. He cut at least a five inch gash into his neck on the left side; he cut other parts of his neck as well. When they saw him, there was no urgency in getting him treatment. They watched him bleed for two minutes, asking, ‘Where is the razor?’

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“They then shoot gas (Lucero) in his cell and watched him for a few more minutes. He didn’t place the call until 11:22. Nobody responded until 11:30 as Sgt. Gray, Sgt. Chavez and Officer Chavez (female on camera) responded, walking slowly to the cell and just looking in. They watched for a few minutes then called medical. At 11:35, the nurse came and she too slowly walked to the cell, looked in and asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ At this point the cell literally looked like a slaughter house kill floor. They didn’t take him out of the cell until 11:41.

“They made him do a full strip search, and at this point he was so weak he couldn’t stand and lift one leg up without leaning against the wall. So they made him do the search all over again. When he came out he was wobbling like a newborn calf. They had no urgency in getting him anywhere. He was covered in so much blood they wouldn’t know if he was concealing anything anyways. Our peers were no help as I heard a couple cheering him on. That’s what brought me to the door to witness the entire ordeal. It took them exactly 23 minutes to see him and get him out.”

Again, what’s even more problematic is prisoners like Todd are not supposed to be in segregation. It’s against the law, yet our captors imprison us for allegedly breaking laws. But, as Todd’s case shows, mentally ill prisoners are held illegally under conditions that drive them to the point of suicidal acts, which guards and medical staff try to help along.

I’ve actually witnessed this sort of thing more times than I can count. Several times the prisoners died. I recall once a mentally ill prisoner hanged himself at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison as guards watched coaxing him on. A few minutes later they, along with a then-Sgt. Travis McCoy, rushed into the cell as if to cut him down but instead began pulling on his legs to put more weight and pressure on his choked off neck.

Ironically he didn’t die – the rope broke sending him and several of the guards tumbling to the floor.

As Todd’s case shows, mentally ill prisoners are held illegally under conditions that drive them to the point of suicidal acts, which guards and medical staff try to help along.

Then there are the staged suicides where guards at this prison claim falsely that a prisoner is trying to hang or cut himself in order to justify spraying him down with OC gas and taking all his property. Mentally ill prisoners are typically the targets of this abuse.

It was done on the morning of Aug. 26, 2014, by a Sgt. Dustin Anderson to a mentally ill prisoner – who also takes psychotropic medications daily – known only to myself and others as “Bay City.”

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Anderson was called to his cell (H105) by a guard, Rusty Milbern, because Bay City had his cell door’s windows covered and wouldn’t respond, which he immediately took down when Anderson came to his cell calling Bay City a series of “stupid motherfuckers,” “assholes” and other vulgar names. As a witnessing prisoner observed in a note he sent me, “Sgt. Anderson acted like he was trying to hang himself, gassed him, then said, ‘You promised me you was gone chill out.’”

He went on to explain, “Sgt. Anderson set him up. Milbern was right there, but she didn’t look in the cell. She stayed by the side of the door. When Sgt. Anderson told him to take it off his neck, Bay City was walking in circles, neck free of any type of wrappings.”

I witnessed it done on April 9, 2014, to another mentally ill prisoner, Hoover Pugh, 421307, who behaves much like the prisoner I described in a prior article, named Ellory Oliver.[2] And Hoover draws much the same reactions from guards and other prisoners.

On that date I witnessed a guard, Skyler Tidwell, tell another prisoner who openly disliked Hoover to give him a razor, that he was going to drop it in front of Hoover’s cell and then gas him saying he was trying to cut himself. Tidwell said it was his last day working at the prison and he wanted to get Hoover. The other prisoner went along with the scene and Tidwell sprayed a full can of gas in on Hoover.

However, because Hoover has filed a lot of complaints about staff abuse, he was housed in a cell that has a surveillance camera facing onto it, and staff are under direction to review the camera footage whenever he complains of abuses of force. When he was brought out with intentions of being placed on suicide watch, he protested that Tidwell set him up. Apparently the video was reviewed and proved him true because Hoover was returned to his cell on regular status, but Tidwell did not return.

One guard, Desmond Finney, is among the most notoriously and cowardly abusive guards at this Clements Unit Prison. He makes it a point to openly boast of beating handcuffed prisoners, and, while working the pod I’m housed in on Sept. 11, 2014, bragged to several other guards that, in just a couple of months of being assigned to the segregation unit, he’d gone through eight new canisters of OC gas.

Finney often taunts prisoners that he’s untouchable because he’s “one of Major Clark’s boys” and has ranking relatives working at the prison, including one lieutenant, Antonious Flannagan.

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I witnessed a prisoner, Louis Johnson Jr., 1618910, who was moved to the suicide precaution building during November 2013 due to attempting suicide, return to the same segregation cell across from me a few days later with two black eyes and a badly bruised face. He reported – and numerous guards openly came to his cell to taunt him – that Finney and another guard beat him at length on Nov. 9, 2013, while he was handcuffed from behind. Many others bear witness to Finney’s abuses, including refusing prisoners’ meals for days to weeks on end, slamming handcuffed prisoners for no reason, even knocking one’s front tooth out.

These sorts of abuses targeted especially at mentally ill prisoners is why the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) Clements Unit Prison has been reportedly featured in the mainstream media as having the TDCJ’s highest rates of major uses of force and uses of chemical agents on prisoners by guards, while at the same time illegally housing over 1,800 known mentally ill prisoners – a large proportion of whom are held in segregation).[3]

This too is what prompts numerous attempted and successful suicides and often ones staged by guards to falsely justify physical abuses or outright murder – prison assisted suicide! So while it was a crime for Jack Kevorkian to aid the suicides of the terminally ill, it’s perfectly legal when it’s prison officials and their victims are the mentally ill.

Apparently, Kevorkian chose the wrong occupation and the wrong type of pathology. A bright light must be shone inside Amerika’s inhumane system of mass incarceration, which bears such a chilling similarity to the old German Nazi concentration camps in its brutality, hypocrisy and bigotry that it’s frightening.

Amerika’s inhumane system of mass incarcerationbears such a chilling similarity to the old German Nazi concentration camps in its brutality, hypocrisy and bigotry that it’s frightening.

Dare to struggle! Dare to win!

All power to the people!

Rashid Johnson, a prisoner in Virginia who was transferred to Oregon in 2012 and to Texas in 2013, has been held in segregation since 1993. While in prison, he founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter. As a writer, Rashid has been compared to George Jackson, and he is also the artist who drew the image that became the icon of the California hunger strikes. His book, “Defying the Tomb,” with a foreword by Russell “Maroon” Shoats and afterword by Sundiata Acoli, can be ordered at leftwingbooks.net, by writing to Kersplebedeb, CP 63560, CCCP Van Horne, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3W 3H8, or by emailing info@kersplebedeb.com. His writing and art is at rashidmod.com. Send our brother some love and light: Kevin Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo, TX 79107.

(Video) No Way Out: Undercover in Solitary Confinement

[1] The Texas federal courts have specifically ruled that administrative segregation is being utilized unconstitutionally to house mentally ill inmates – “inmates whose illness can only be exacerbated by the depravity of their confinement.” Ruiz v. Estelle, 37 F. Supp. 2d 855, 915 (S.D. Tex. 1999). “Texas’ administrative segregation units are virtual incubators of psychoses-seeding illness in otherwise healthy inmates and exacerbating illness in those already suffering from mental infirmities.” Id. at 907. And as nationally accredited mental health experts testified before the Texas federal court: “Dr. Jurczak testified that the ad-seg system is destructive to all its occupants. ‘I think it’s a very destructive system. And I’ve been in many, many systems … and I’ve never seen one as repressive as I’ve seen [in TDCJ].’” Id. at 912.

[2] Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, “Wasted Minds: An Insider’s Look at the Torturous Effects of U.S. Solitary Confinement” (2013), available at rashidmod.com.

[3] Brandi Grissom, “A Tie to Mental Illness in the Violence Behind Bars,” New York Times, Sept. 21, 2013; Brandi Grissom, “Violence Behind Bars: A Tie to Mental Illness,” The Texas Tribune, Sept. 22, 2013; “Clements Unit Among the Most Violent Prisons,” KAMR-TV, Sept. 23, 2013; “Son Murdered in Clements Unit by Staff Texas Prison”; “Force Against Texas Inmates on Rise”; “Texas Lockdown: Solitary Confinement in the Lone Star State”; “Clements Unit Placed on Dubious List.”

FAQs

What happens when a prisoner dies in Texas? ›

The deceased's designated contact person, next of kin or the executor or administrator of the deceased's estate will be contacted to discuss collection of personal belongings from the prison. Alternative arrangement can be made with the prison to have the deceased's personal belongings couriered to a nominated address.

What is the death row unit in Texas? ›

The Huntsville Unit is the location of the State of Texas execution chamber. The TDCJ houses male death row inmates in the Polunsky Unit and female death row inmates in the Mountain View Unit.

How did prisoner escape from bus in Texas? ›

As Lopez was being transported to a medical appointment on May 12, authorities said he broke out of his restraints, stabbed the bus driver and ultimately drove off with the bus. He escaped after crashing in a cow pasture. For weeks, law enforcement officials searched the area to no avail.

What happens when you die in prison? ›

They can plan a traditional funeral, as well as a burial or cremation. However, as the next example will illustrate, it's often important that the next of kin coordinate with prison authorities as soon as possible to let them know they plan to handle making the funeral arrangements.

Are inmates buried standing up? ›

The short answer is yes. Many forward-thinking cemeteries and funeral homes are already looking for alternatives. One up-and-coming choice is “stand up” burials.

Where are executed prisoners buried? ›

A prison cemetery is a graveyard reserved for the dead bodies of prisoners. Generally, the remains of inmates who are not claimed by family or friends are interred in prison cemeteries and include convicts executed for capital crimes.

What is the most humane method of execution? ›

The USA introduced execution by lethal injection almost 30 years ago, applying it for the first time in 1982 as the most “humane” way of putting someone to death.

Why do they execute prisoners at night? ›

One other advantage of holding executions in the middle of the night is that the rest of the prison's inmate population is locked down and presumably asleep. That minimizes the threat of any sort of unrest at the appointed hour.

How long do people sit on death row in Texas? ›

How long do inmates stay on death row? The average time for an inmate is 11.22 years, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Joe Gonzales holds the record for the shortest time on death row at 252 days.

Have they caught the escaped prisoner from Texas? ›

Escaped Texas inmate shot by police after allegedly killing five people. DALLAS — The escaped Texas inmate on the run for three weeks was killed in a shootout Thursday after he killed a grandfather and his four grandchildren at a home, officials said.

Did they catch the inmate that escaped in Texas? ›

Texas prison officials have suspended inmate transports after a convicted murderer allegedly killed a man and his four grandchildren after escaping from custody. Gonzalo Lopez, 46, escaped a prison bus after stabbing the driver in the hand and chest on May 12.

How long is a life sentence in Texas? ›

Under the law applicable in this case, if the defendant is sentenced to imprisonment in the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life, the defendant will become eligible for release on parole, but not until the actual time served by the defendant equals 40 years, without consideration ...

Do people die of old age in jail? ›

Older adults in prison often exhibit physical and mental health problems, including dementia, and histories of trauma and chronic stress. Over 3,000 of these men and women will die each year in prison.

Does life in prison mean until you die? ›

Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted people are to remain in prison for the rest of their natural lives or indefinitely until pardoned, paroled, or otherwise commuted to a fixed term.

Are prisoners allowed out for funerals? ›

All prisoners, both men and women, should be able to attend funerals virtually where a close family member has died. In order to comply with the right to respect for private and family life, the authorities must assess each request to attend a funeral (whether in person of virtually) on its merits.

Who was buried in their car? ›

Sixteen gravesites were required to fit the car, one of the largest Cadillacs made. George Swanson of Pennsylvania had his ashes interred with his 1984 Corvette in 1994.

How is extreme embalming done? ›

This is extreme embalming - where bodies are preserved by injecting them with a chemical fluid which makes them totally rigid - before being displayed in bizarre real life positions.

Can an inmate attend a funeral in Texas? ›

A request for a reprieve for family emergency to attend funerals or to visit critically ill relatives may be made through application to the Board's Clemency Section. However, the more practical alternative, time-wise, is to request a special absence (furlough) from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Why do inmates get a last meal? ›

Over the course of human history, the tradition of last meal evolved. “The Puritans of Massachusetts once held grand feasts for the condemned, believing it emulated the Last Supper of Christ, representing a communal atonement for the community and the prisoner,” read a portion of the paper.

Can anyone go watch an execution? ›

State laws vary as to who is allowed to watch an execution, but in general, these are the people who are allowed to be witnesses: Relatives of the victim(s) Relatives of the prisoner. Prison warden.

What do they do with the body after lethal injection? ›

The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also be applied in a broader sense to include euthanasia and other forms of suicide. The drugs cause the person to become unconscious, stops their breathing, and causes a heart arrhythmia, in that order.

Can you have alcohol for your last meal on death row? ›

In the United States, most states give the meal a day or two before execution and use the euphemism "special meal". Alcohol or tobacco are usually, but not always, denied. Unorthodox or unavailable requests are replaced with similar substitutes.

What is China's method of execution? ›

Capital punishment in China is a legal penalty. It is commonly applied for murder and drug trafficking, although it is also a legal penalty for various other offenses. Executions are carried out by lethal injection or by shooting.

Why do firing squads aim for the heart? ›

To avoid disfigurement due to multiple shots to the head, the shooters are typically instructed to aim at the heart, sometimes aided by a paper or cloth target.

What state has no death penalty? ›

In addition to Michigan, and its Midwestern neighbors Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, the states without the death penalty are Alaska, Hawaii, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, where an effort to reinstate it was defeated last year.

Why does Texas execute at 6pm? ›

The Execution. Executions are always scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. on a weekday. Texas used to schedule executions at midnight -- as many states still do -- because that gave the state the maximum amount of time to deal with last-minute delays.

When was the last execution electric chair? ›

When was the electric chair last used in an execution? Stephen Michael West was the last death row inmate to be executed by electric chair in Tennessee on Aug. 15, 2019. He was the third death row inmate to be executed by electric chair in less than a year.

Can you watch an execution in Texas? ›

Allowing victim witnesses the opportunity to view an execution is a Texas Board of Criminal Justice Rule, and not mandated by law. Is execution viewing limited to immediate family members of the deceased? Initially, victim witnesses were limited to immediate family of the deceased.

Who is the youngest woman on death row? ›

Christa Pike
BornChrista Gail Pike March 10, 1976 Durham, NC
NationalityAmerican
Criminal statusAwaiting execution on death row
Parent(s)Glenn Pike and Carissa Hansen
16 more rows

Why does Texas execute so many? ›

There are a variety of proposed legal and cultural explanations as to why Texas has more executions than any other state. One possible reason is due to the federal appellate structure—federal appeals from Texas are made to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Is Gonzalo Lopez still alive? ›

How did Gonzalo Lopez escape? ›

Inside the caged area, Lopez used a “prison-made knife and key” to break free from his handcuffs and to cut through the cage to reach the prison correctional officer who was driving the bus, according to Texas State Sen.

Who was the family killed by the escaped convict in Texas? ›

Mark Collins and his four grandchildren were shot and stabbed to death, according to Crime Stoppers of Houston director of victim services and advocacy Andy Kahan, who says he met with the Collins family in the days after the killings.

How was the Collins family killed in Texas? ›

Centerville, Texas family killings: Mark Collins, 4 grandsons died from gunshot and stab wounds; Gonzalo Lopez suspected of murder - ABC13 Houston.

Are there any escaped prisoners still at large? ›

Inmates Corey Branch, Lamonte Rashawn Willis and Kareem Allen Shaw are still at large.

When did Gonzalo Lopez escape? ›

The review comes after Gonzalo Lopez, 46, who was serving two life sentences, escaped May 12.

What percent of your sentence do you serve in Texas? ›

What About Parole for All Other Offenses in Texas? Texas law says that offenders for non-3g crimes become parole-eligible when they have served actual calendar time plus good conduct time equaling 25 percent of the sentence or 15 years (the lesser of the two).

Which state has the longest life sentence? ›

In terms of years, the longest life sentence in the United States is 99 years (Alabama). But, of course, there are other terms that are effectively longer, such as Life Without Parole (Many States).

Do prisons in Texas have air conditioning? ›

Every summer, Texas prisoners and officers live and work in temperatures that regularly soar well into triple digits. More than two-thirds of the state's 100 prisons don't have air conditioning in most living areas, putting tens of thousands of men and women under the state's care in increasingly dangerous conditions.

What happens to your body when you die in jail? ›

"Most people either die alone in their cells, in the prison infirmary, or they get sent off to a state or university hospital where they are shackled to the bed.

What happens if you die during a life sentence? ›

What happens to the person's body? The deceased person's family or contact person must select between a private burial or cremation or burial or cremation at the prison. If the contact person or family opts for prison burial or cremation, the body remains in prison custody, though the family may request a visitation.

What is the average life expectancy of a prisoner? ›

Among these the average number of years between the last spell of incarceration recorded and the year of death was 14 (median = 12). Those deaths occurred on average at age 47 (median = 49), and 22% occurred during the first 5 years after release at the average age of 38.

How long is 3 life sentences? ›

A basic life conviction in the United States carries a minimum of 25 years before parole eligibility. 3 life sentences would mean the person wouldn't be eligible for release until 75 years have passed.

What is the longest sentence ever given? ›

In 1981, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA, Dudley Wayne Kyzer received the longest single sentence of 10,000 years for murdering his wife. He then received a further two life sentences for murdering his mother-in-law and a college student.

Who has been in jail the longest? ›

Paul Geidel Jr.
BornApril 21, 1894 Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedMay 1, 1987 (aged 93) Beacon, New York, U.S.
Known forThe longest-serving prison sentence in United States history, that ended upon his release (parole). (time served – 68 years 296 days)
Conviction(s)Second-degree murder
9 more rows

Can prisoners have Christmas presents? ›

Convicted criminals can't look forward to opening presents on Christmas Day - but some inmates do get sent parcels by ;loved ones on the outside. While this can be something to look forward to, there are restrictions on what can be sent in - with sweets, chocolates and toiletries all banned.

What is it called when a prisoner is released for a funeral? ›

Furloughs are sometimes granted for medical reasons, to attend funerals, or to make contact for employment upon release.

What is it called when prisoners get to go outside? ›

In prison systems, work release programs allow a prisoner who is sufficiently trusted or can be sufficiently monitored to go outside the prison and work at a place of employment, returning to prison when their shift is complete.

Can you watch an execution in Texas? ›

Allowing victim witnesses the opportunity to view an execution is a Texas Board of Criminal Justice Rule, and not mandated by law. Is execution viewing limited to immediate family members of the deceased? Initially, victim witnesses were limited to immediate family of the deceased.

Can you still be hung in Texas? ›

Upon statehood, hanging was the method used for almost all executions until 1924. Hangings were administered by the county where the trial took place. The last hanging in the state was that of Nathan Lee, a man convicted of murder and executed in Angleton, Brazoria County, Texas on August 31, 1923.

When was the last time Texas executed someone? ›

The State of Texas executed the last inmate, Joseph Johnson (Harris County), by electrocution on July 30, 1964. A total of 361 inmates were electrocuted in the State of Texas.

How long is a life sentence in Texas? ›

Under the law applicable in this case, if the defendant is sentenced to imprisonment in the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life, the defendant will become eligible for release on parole, but not until the actual time served by the defendant equals 40 years, without consideration ...

Can you sit in on an execution? ›

Some states began enacting laws prohibiting judicial public executions in the latter half of the 19th century. Today, executions are carried out behind prison walls with only a small group of witnesses in attendance. Every state that performs executions has legislation providing for certain people to witness them.

What happens the day of an execution? ›

On the day of an execution, prison staff test a closed circuit television system and audio system, used to broadcast the execution to witnesses within the prison. Other prison staff go to what is described as "secure storage" to retrieve the LICs, or lethal injection chemicals.

Which state has the most death row inmates? ›

Jurisdictions with the most prisoners on death row:
  • California (729)
  • Florida (348)
  • Texas (224)
  • Alabama (177)
  • Pennsylvania (154)
  • North Carolina (144)
  • Ohio (140)
  • Arizona (122)

What is the most humane method of execution? ›

The USA introduced execution by lethal injection almost 30 years ago, applying it for the first time in 1982 as the most “humane” way of putting someone to death.

Is the electric chair painful? ›

Experts for the state testified the shock delivered by the electric chair is so great and the use of ammunition that shatters when it hits bone creating a number of fragments to destroy the heart means almost immediate loss of consciousness and no pain, retired forensic pathologist Dr. D'Michelle DuPre said.

What happens on execution day in Texas? ›

Early in the afternoon on the day of the execution, the victim witnesses and their support persons meet with TDCJ-Victim Services Division staff members in Huntsville, Texas at a designated location away from the prison unit. Witnesses and support persons are given an overview of the execution process and schedule.

Why do they execute prisoners at night? ›

One other advantage of holding executions in the middle of the night is that the rest of the prison's inmate population is locked down and presumably asleep. That minimizes the threat of any sort of unrest at the appointed hour.

Can you watch an execution? ›

In most cases, a witness room is located adjacent to an execution chamber, where witnesses may watch the execution through glass windows. All except for two of the states which allow capital punishment are equipped with a death chamber, but many states rarely put them to use.

What percent of your sentence do you serve in Texas? ›

What About Parole for All Other Offenses in Texas? Texas law says that offenders for non-3g crimes become parole-eligible when they have served actual calendar time plus good conduct time equaling 25 percent of the sentence or 15 years (the lesser of the two).

Which state has the longest life sentence? ›

In terms of years, the longest life sentence in the United States is 99 years (Alabama). But, of course, there are other terms that are effectively longer, such as Life Without Parole (Many States).

Do prisons in Texas have air conditioning? ›

Every summer, Texas prisoners and officers live and work in temperatures that regularly soar well into triple digits. More than two-thirds of the state's 100 prisons don't have air conditioning in most living areas, putting tens of thousands of men and women under the state's care in increasingly dangerous conditions.

Videos

1. Texas woman's last-minute reprieve on death row draws questions about wrongful convictions
(PBS NewsHour)
2. Watch what happened the night an Orange County inmate died, and what jailers missed
(The News & Observer)
3. Trucker’s 110-Year Sentence for Deadly Accident Sparks Outrage
(Inside Edition)
4. After serving 68 years in Pennsylvania prison, Joe Ligon returns to modern world he barely knows
(CBS Mornings)
5. Alcatraz Prison Escape | FULL MOVIE | 2015 | Crime, Documentary | Danny Trejo
(Popcornflix)
6. Dallas County jail death video released
(FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth)

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