The Death Row Diary blog was inspired by my book Death Row Diaries — Criminal Justice.
My novel was fictional about a death row inmate being able to tell his story uncut, uncensored, live on pay per view.
Today’s blog is about Capital Punishment. After today I will be featuring an inmate that sits on death row somewhere in the United States.
Early death sentences were carried out by means of crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive and implement. They were handed out for such crimes as marrying a Jew, not confession to a crime and treason.
In 1834 Pennsylvania became the first state to move execution away from the public eye and carrying them out in correctional facilities. In 1846 Michigan became the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except treason. Later on Rhode Island in Wisconsin abolished it for all crimes.
After the Civil War new means of execution emerged. The electric chair was introduced. New York built the first electric chair in 1888 and 1890 executed William Kemmler. Soon after more States adopted this means of execution. In 1907 to 1917 six states completely outlawed the death penalty and 3 limited it to crimes of treason and first degree murder of a law enforcement official. US citizens began to panic after the Russian Revolution and around the same time entered World War 1, as a result of socialist mounted the first serious challenge to capitalism. As a result 5 of the 6 states reinstated the death penalty by 1920.
1924 cyanide gas was introduced. Nevada wanted a more humane way of execution. Cyanide gas was pumped into the sale of Gee Jon while he slept, because this proved impossible the gas chamber was invented.
The 1930’s because America was suffering through prohibition and the Great Depression, more execution were held in this decade than any other, 167 a year on average.
In the 1950’s execution rates fell rapidly. In the 1940’s there were 1289. In the 50’s there were 715. From 1960-1976 there were only 191.
1994 President Clinton signed the Violent Crimes Control and Law Enforcement Act which expanded the death penalty to 60 crimes. In 1996 he signed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act because of the Oklahoma bombing.
This bombing somewhat formed the basis of why my novel Death Row Diaries — Criminal Justice was written. In my novel, Jack Stevenson was executed live on pay per view. Timothy McVey tried to have this happen for his execution but was denied.
The Federal Government has also employed Capital Punishment for some federal crimes. They include the murder of a government official, kidnapping resulting in death, treason and running a large scale drug operation. 1986 the Supreme Court banished the execution of insane prisoners.
Presently 19 states bar execution of anyone under 18 years old at the time of the crime.
Currently, over 115 people in 25 states have been released for from death row because of innocence since 1973.
Executions since 1976:
1315 from legal injection:
11 gas chamber:
3 firing squad:
As of today, there are 2738 inmates on Death Row.
There are 30 states with the death penalty, also the US government and the US military.