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NCJ Number: 118828 Find in a Library
Title: Fraternity of Death (From Facing the Death Penalty, P 16-26, 1989, Michael L Radelet, ed. -- See NCJ-118827)
Author(s): M A Kroll
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Temple University Press
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6099
Sale Source: Temple University Press
1601 N. Broad Street
University Service Bldg., Room 305
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6099
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Interviews with some of the correctional staff who planned and carried out executions in the gas chamber in San Quentin prison in California form the basis of descriptions of the physical and psychological experiences of offenders being executed and of the feelings of the correctional staff.
Abstract: A total of 295 death sentences or resentences have been meted out in California between 1978 and 1987, although more than 20 years have passed since California's last gassing. In 1984 San Quentin brought in Joe Ferretti, who took part in 126 executions, to train the 5-member team that will officiate in upcoming executions. In 1938 a pig was the first gassing victim, as a test of the 2-ton, 8-sided chamber. The pig struggled to escape the fumes, but fell to the floor. It took nearly 3 minutes to die. Ferretti says that one human took about 15 minutes. Some prisoners have screamed, cursed, and struggled to free themselves from the straps, while others have remained calm. Twenty-two double executions have been carried out. A former warden described his feelings as sinking and sick at the last execution, in which Aaron Mitchell had to be dragged to the chamber and took 12 minutes to die. Outside, demonstrators either protested or voiced support for the death penalty.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Correctional personnel attitudes; Death row inmates; Inmate attitudes
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