Death Row

Death row, in English-speaking countries that have capital punishment, is the place, often a section of a prison, that houses prisoners awaiting execution. The term is also used figuratively to describe the state of awaiting execution ("being on death row"), even in places where no special facility or separate unit for condemned inmates exists. After persons are found guilty of an offense and sentenced to death, they remain on death row during appeal and habeas corpus procedures, and if those are unsuccessful, until execution.

Opponents of capital punishment claim that a prisoner's isolation and uncertainty over his or her fate constitute a form of mental cruelty and that especially long-time death row inmates are liable to become mentally ill, if they are not already. This is referred to as the death row phenomenon. In extreme cases some inmates may attempt suicide.

In the United States, prisoners may wait years before execution can be carried out due to the complex, expensive, and time-consuming appeals procedures mandated in the jurisdiction. The time between sentencing and execution has increased relatively steadily between 1977 and 2010, including a 22% jump between 1989 and 1990 and a similar jump between 2008 and 2009. In 2010, a death row inmate waited an average of 178 months (or close to 15 years) between sentencing and execution. Nearly a quarter of deaths on death row in the U.S. are due to natural causes.

When the United Kingdom had capital punishment, the convicted were given one appeal of their sentence. If that appeal was found to involve an important point of law it was taken up to the House of Lords, and if the appeal was successful, at that point the sentence was changed to life in prison. The Home Secretary in the United Kingdom had the power to exercise the Sovereign's royal prerogative of mercy to grant a reprieve on execution and change the sentence to life imprisonment. In some Caribbean countries which still authorize execution, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the ultimate court of appeals. It has upheld appeals by prisoners who have spent several years under sentence of death, stating that it does not desire to see the death row phenomenon emerge in countries under its jurisdiction.

Haiti continued the conventional 'reprieved if not executed within 90 days' process adopted by Britain before its abolition (Haiti later abolished the death penalty in 1987).

There were 3,125 people on death row in the United States on January 1, 2013. Since 1977, the states of Texas (464), Virginia (108) and Oklahoma (94) have executed the most death row inmates. As of 2010, California (683), Florida (390), Texas (330) and Pennsylvania (218) housed more than half of all inmates pending on death row. As of 2008, the longest-serving prisoner on death row in the U.S.A. who has been executed was Jack Alderman who served over 33 years. He was executed in Georgia in 2008. However, Alderman only holds the distinction of being the longest-serving executed inmate so far. A Florida inmate, Gary Alvord, arrived on Florida's death row before Alderman arrived on Georgia's death row and, on 9 April 2009, Alvord had been on death row for exactly 35 years, longer than any other United States death row inmate. The oldest prisoner on death row in the United States was Leroy Nash, age 94, in Arizona. He died of natural causes on February 12, 2010.

Read more about Death Row:  Death Row Locations in The United States, See Also

Other articles related to "death row, death":

Leroy Nash
... He was the oldest American on death row at the time of his death in February 2010 ... Nash was sentenced to death in 1983 ... At the time of his death, he was the oldest person on death row in the US and, knowingly, in the world ...
Death Row - See Also
... Criminal justice portal Law portal Live from Death Row The Green Mile The Chamber Dead Man Walking Capital punishment List of United States death row inmates List ...
List Of Miscarriage Of Justice Cases - List of Cases - Japan
... He was sentenced to death, and spent 35 years on death row before being cleared in 1983, after further evidence backing up his alibi came to light ... murders of four people, and were convicted and sentenced to death ... were overturned and they were released after 15 years of imprisonment on death row ...
South Carolina Department Of Corrections - Operations - Death Row
... The state's death row for men is located at Lieber Correctional Institution ... The state's death row for women is located at the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution ... From 1912 to January 1990 male death row inmates were housed in the Central Correctional Institution (CCI) ...
Soering V United Kingdom - Judgment - European Court of Human Rights
... Western Europe regarding the existence and use of the death penalty", this punishment should be considered as inhuman and degrading and was therefore ... This was not accepted by the ECHR, as the Convention does allow for the death penalty's use in certain circumstances ... stand in the way of the extradition of a suspect simply because they might be subject to the death penalty ...

Famous quotes containing the words row and/or death:

    And, indeed, is there not something holy about a great kitchen?... The scoured gleam of row upon row of metal vessels dangling from hooks or reposing on their shelves till needed with the air of so many chalices waiting for the celebration of the sacrament of food. And the range like an altar, yes, before which my mother bowed in perpetual homage, a fringe of sweat upon her upper lip and the fire glowing in her cheeks.
    Angela Carter (1940–1992)

    I don’t know much about death and the sorriest lesson I’ve learned is that words, my most trusted guardians against chaos, offer small comfort in the face of anyone’s dying.
    Alison Hawthorne Deming (b. 1946)