The Machinery of Death: Some Death Row Prisoners Can Still Opt for Firing Squad (or Electric Chair, Gas Chamber, or Noose)

The state of Utah is going to allow death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner to choose how he dies–as long as he chooses either lethal injection or a firing squad. Gardner is one of a shrinking groups of condemned prisoners, in more than a dozen states, who are still permitted to make a final, macabre choice between lethal injection and […]

Dead Man Killing Himself

One of the many grotesque realities involved in the administration of the death penalty is the fact that condemned prisoners are not permitted to kill themselves; that privilege is reserved for the state. Lawrence Reynolds was scheduled to be executed by the state of Ohio at 10 a.m. today. But at the appointed time, Lawrence was in the hospital, […]

Georgia's Response to Death Row Suicides: Restrict Family Visits

Three convicted killers on Georgia’s death row died recently in the span of three months–but none of them was executed. In October of 2009, Kim McMichen died of pneumonia. In November, Timothy Pruitt died from what was reported to be a botched suicide attempt. And on New Year’s Day 2010, Leeland Mark Braley was found hanged in his cell. Living for years or decades […]