Execution chamber

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"Death Chamber" redirects here. For the martial arts film, see Shaolin Temple (1976 film).

An execution chamber, or death chamber, is a room or chamber in which a legal execution is carried out. Execution chambers are almost always inside the walls of a maximum-security prison, although not always at the same prison where the death row population is housed. Inside the chamber is the device used to carry out the death sentence.

United States[edit]

The former State of Louisiana execution chamber at the Red Hat Cell Block in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in West Feliciana Parish. The electric chair is a replica of the original.

In the United States, an execution chamber will usually contain a lethal injection table. 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 one of the states which allow capital punishment are equipped with a death chamber, but many states rarely put them to use. The sole exception is New Hampshire, who has not had an inmate on death row since the 1940s. Kansas, Nebraska and California are the only states to have an execution chamber, which is equipped to execute an inmate by lethal injection, which has never been used, while the State of New York had its execution chamber closed under the David Paterson administration, following the 2004 New York Court of Appeals decision in People v. LaValle, which ruled the state's death penalty statute unconstitutional.[1]

Locations of execution chambers in the United States[edit]

Huntsville Unit houses the execution chamber of the State of Texas; it is the most active execution chamber in the United States, with 423 executions between 1982 and 2008.[2]
San Quentin State Prison houses the execution chamber of the State of California
Louisiana State Penitentiary houses the execution chamber of the State of Louisiana
Mississippi State Penitentiary houses the execution chamber of the State of Mississippi
Execution chamber
Federal Terre Haute, Indiana (Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute)[3]
Military Terre Haute, Indiana (Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute)[4]
State Execution chamber
Alabama Escambia County (Holman Correctional Facility)[5]
Arizona Florence (Arizona State Prison Complex - Florence)[6]
Arkansas Lincoln County (Cummins Unit)[7]
California Marin County (San Quentin State Prison)[8]
Colorado Fremont County (Colorado State Penitentiary)[9]
Connecticut Somers (Osborn Correctional Institution)[10]
Delaware New Castle County (James T. Vaughn Correctional Center)[11]
Florida Bradford County (Florida State Prison)[12]
Georgia Butts County (Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison)[13]
Idaho Boise (Idaho Maximum Security Institution)
Illinois Tamms (Tamms Correctional Center)[14]
Indiana Michigan City (Indiana State Prison)
Kansas Lansing (Lansing Correctional Facility)
Kentucky Eddyville (Kentucky State Penitentiary)[15]
Louisiana West Feliciana Parish (Louisiana State Penitentiary)[16]
Maryland Baltimore (Metropolitan Transition Center)[17]
Mississippi Sunflower County (Mississippi State Penitentiary)[18]
Missouri Bonne Terre (Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center)
Montana Deer Lodge (Montana State Prison)
Nebraska Lincoln (Nebraska State Penitentiary)
Nevada Carson City (Nevada State Prison)[19]
New Hampshire Concord (New Hampshire Prison for Men)
New Mexico[a] Santa Fe County (Penitentiary of New Mexico)
New York[b] Beekman (Green Haven Correctional Facility)[c]
North Carolina Raleigh (Central Prison)[20]
Ohio Lucasville (Southern Ohio Correctional Facility)[21]
Oklahoma McAlester (Oklahoma State Penitentiary)[22]
Oregon Salem (Oregon State Penitentiary)
Pennsylvania Benner Township[23][24] (State Correctional Institution - Rockview)[25]
South Carolina Columbia (Broad River Correctional Institution)[26]
South Dakota Sioux Falls (South Dakota State Penitentiary)[27]
Tennessee Nashville (Riverbend Maximum Security Institution)[28]
Texas Huntsville (Huntsville Unit)[29]
Utah Draper (Utah State Prison)
Virginia Jarratt (Greensville Correctional Center)[30][31]
Washington Walla Walla (Washington State Penitentiary)[32]
Wyoming Rawlins (Wyoming State Penitentiary)[d]

Notes:

a Death penalty abolished in 2009; two prisoners remain on death row under sentences of death.

b Last death sentence reversed in 2007.

c Closed in 2008 under David Paterson administration.[33]

d If an execution does occur, the state will use its parole board meeting room at the state prison.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the execution chamber was part of a larger complex, often referred to as the "Execution Suite". The room, usually formed from two single prison cells, contained the large trapdoor, usually double-leaved, but in some older chambers such as at Oxford, single-leaved, and operating lever. The wooden beam from which the rope was suspended was usually set into the walls of the chamber above, with the floor removed. At Wandsworth Prison the floor was retained and holes allowed the rope and chains through. Oxford's chamber was of an old 19th century type, and the beam was set into the walls of the chamber just above head height.

Such rooms were almost always built into one of the wings of a prison; following the recommendation of prison governors during the 1948 Royal Commission on capital punishment, further execution chambers were housed in purpose-built blocks, separate from the main prison. The last gallows to be constructed in Britain, at HMP Aberdeen, was built in 1962, and was used one year later for the hanging of Henry John Burnett, the last person to be executed in Scotland.

The last officially operational gallows in the United Kingdom (as several remained unofficially in other prisons), at Wandsworth Prison, was removed in 1994. Salvaged parts from it are currently in the possession of the National Galleries of Justice, having previously been at the HM Prison Service museum.

Japan[edit]

One of Japan's seven execution chambers is in the Tokyo Detention House

Japan has seven execution chambers used to kill condemned criminals. One is at the Tokyo Detention House. Hanging is Japan's method of execution. The execution chamber in Tokyo has a trap door. As the condemned dies, his or her body falls into a room below the execution chamber, and in that room the death is confirmed.[34] In the Tokyo facility, before the condemned is executed, he or she passes a statue of Amida Nyorai (Amitābha), a Buddhist deity. The execution room in Tokyo is in two sections, with both of them together the size of a 15 tatami mat room (270 square feet or 25 m²).[35]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


Execution (Lethal Injection) Chambers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott, Brendan (2008-07-24). "GOV PULLS SWITCH ON DEATH CELL". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  2. ^ "Inside Death Row." National Geographic Explorer. Retrieved on September 28, 2010.
  3. ^ "Special Confinement Unit Opens at USP Terre Haute." Federal Bureau of Prisons. July 13, 1999. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
  4. ^ "Military sets date for first execution since 1961". AP (Topeka, Kan.: Military on MSNBC.com). November 20, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2010. "Army personnel will be responsible for conducting the execution in Indiana based on an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons." , see also Ronald A. Gray
  5. ^ "Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003." Alabama Department of Corrections. 33/84 Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "The death chamber is located at Holman where all executions are conducted."
  6. ^ "Death Row Information and Frequently Asked Questions." Arizona Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
  7. ^ "State Capitol Week in Review." State of Arkansas. June 13, 2008. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "Executions are carried out in the Cummins Unit, which is adjacent to Varner."
  8. ^ "MEDIA ACCESS FOR WILLIAMS EXECUTION." California Department of Corrections. April 2, 1996. Retrieved on August 16, 2010. "The execution of Keith Daniel Williams is scheduled for Friday, May 3, 1996 at San Quentin State Prison."
  9. ^ "Death Row FAQ." (Archive) Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  10. ^ "Administration of Capital Punishment Directive Number 6.15." Connecticut Department of Correction. October 19, 2004. 1/9. Retrieved on August 16, 2010. "Execution Area. A series of four (4) contiguous rooms in the Osborn Correctional Institution comprised of the..."
  11. ^ "JAMES T VAUGHN CORRECTIONAL CENTER (formerly DELAWARE CORRECTIONAL CENTER)." Delaware Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
  12. ^ "Death Row Fact Sheet." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  13. ^ "Office of Planning and Analysis: The Death Penalty." Georgia Department of Corrections. January 2010. 3/15. Retrieved on July 18, 2010.
  14. ^ "Tamms Closed Maximum Security Unit: Ten-Point Plan Brief." Illinois Department of Corrections. 3 (9/51). September 3, 2009. Retrieved on September 1, 2010.
  15. ^ "Kentucky State Penitentiary Prepares For 165th Execution." WLKY. Retrieved on September 8, 2010.
  16. ^ "Officials prep for Bordelon's execution Thursday." The Advocate. January 6, 2010. Retrieved on August 24, 2010. "Laborde said Bordelon has been moved from Angola's new Death Row facility to a cell at nearby Camp F, where the execution chamber is located"
  17. ^ Calvert, Scott and Kate Smith. "Death row inmates transferred to W. Maryland." The Baltimore Sun. June 25, 2010. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  18. ^ Martin, Nathan. "Wilcher gets reprieve." Laurel Leader-Call. July 12, 2006. Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
  19. ^ "Organization." Nevada Department of Corrections. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  20. ^ "nmate who could be 1,000th execution waits for family." Chicago Tribune. December 2, 2005. Start Page 14. Retrieved on September 1, 2010. "... panes separating the viewing room from the stark execution chamber at Central Prison."
  21. ^ "Ohio Death Row Inmates." Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Retrieved on September 2, 100.
  22. ^ "Death Row." Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Retrieved on September 2, 2010.
  23. ^ "Benner Township Zoning Map." Zoning Ordinance. Benner Township, March 2009. Retrieved on July 26, 2010
  24. ^ "Pennsylvania Department of Corrections: SCI Rockview". Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  25. ^ "Death Penalty FAQ." Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. 2 (2/4). Retrieved on July 26, 2010.
  26. ^ "Death Row/Capital Punishment." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  27. ^ "http://doc.sd.gov/adult/facilities/sdsptour.aspx"
  28. ^ "Death Penalty in Tennessee History." Tennessee Department of Correction. Retrieved on August 25, 2010.
  29. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions Victim Survivors Viewing Executions." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "Executions in Texas normally take place around 6:00 p.m. at the Huntsville Unit in downtown Huntsville, Texas."
  30. ^ "Virginia Death Row/Execution Facts." My FOX DC. Tuesday November 10, 2009. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  31. ^ "Greensville Correctional Center/Greensville Work Center (major male institution)." Virginia Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  32. ^ "Capital Punishment in Washington State." Washington State Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 26, 2010.
  33. ^ Scott, Brendan (July 24, 2008). "Gov Pulls Switch On Death Cell". New York Post. 
  34. ^ Lendon, Brad. "Japan reveals long-secretive execution process." CNN. August 27, 2010. Retrieved on August 27, 2010.
  35. ^ "Diet members tour execution chamber." The Japan Times. Thursday July 24, 2003. Retrieved on August 27, 2010.