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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74973 Find in a Library
Title: Warehousing for Death - Observations on the Human Environment of Death Row
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:26  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1980)  Pages:545-562
Author(s): R Johnson
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: American University
Washington, DC 20016
Southern Poverty Law Ctr
Montgomery, AL 36104
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Information gathered from personal interviews with condemned prisoners in Alabama's Holman Prison and from observations of the setting and its inhabitants is used to trace the prisoners' patterns of life and adjustment on death row.
Abstract: Open-ended interviews were conducted with 35 of the 37 inmates confined on Alabama's death row in September 1978, and observations about the physical realities of confinement on death row were recorded. The prisoners on death row are physically isolated from the outside world, the general prison population, and from each other. Their cells are small and bare, even by prison standards. Custodial regimes are stricter in death row than anywhere else in prison because the inhabitants of death row are automatically labelled dangerous to themselves and others and as escape prone. The physical setting and the sameness of the routine as well as the severe security measures give rise to pervasive demoralization among death row inmates. Inmates isolate themselves further from all who could conceivably help them by adopting a 'manly' posture to mask all fears and perceived weaknesses. Boredom, suspicions about the motives of guards and families who don't write often enough, and the constant reminders of impending death lead inmates to feel that they face death alone. Inmates on death row believe that they die twice for one crime -- the living death on death row and the actual execution. Only the degree of the first death varies among the individuals housed on death row. Footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Alabama; Capital punishment; Cruel and unusual punishment; Death row inmates; Effects of imprisonment; Facility conditions; Inmate attitudes; Inmate grievances; Inmate staff relations
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