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With now having knowledge of the death penalty and its history and what came out of it, we will now focus on the different execution methods and what they entail. “In Indiana prior to 1913, all executions were by hanging. From 1913 through 1994 all executions were by the electric chair. Since 1995, all executions have been by lethal injection. Current executions procedure is found at the Indiana code 35-38-6 and requires that the lethal injection execution takes place inside the walls of the Indiana state prison at Michigan City before sunrise.” (office, 1998) In the 37 states and federal government that currently have the death penalty statutes, five different execution methods are prescribed, and they are as followed: Lethal injection, Electrocution, Lethal Gas, Firing Squad, and Hanging. “The vast majority or jurisdictions provide execution by lethal injection. Twenty Jurisdictions provide the alternative methods of execution, contingent upon the choice of the inmate” (office, 1998) The different types of execution methods are now going to be described and defined so by the end of this you will know the different types of methods and what each one of the them entails and how they came about being a form of execution. In 1977 Oklahoma became the first state to adopt lethal injection as a means of execution, though it would be five more years until a man named Charles brooks would be the first person to be put to death by lethal injection in Texas on Dec. 2, 1982. “Today, 35 of the 36 states that have the death penalty use this method.” (description of execution methods, 2012) When this method is used, the inmate is bounded to a gurney and a member of the execution team positions several heart monitors on their skin. Two needles are then inserted into usable veins, usually in the inmate’s arms. Long tubes connect the needles through a hole in a cement block wall to several intravenous drips. The first solution is saline and is harmless, then at the warden’s signal a curtain is raised exposing the inmate to the witnesses in an adjoining room. Then the inmate is injected with the solution that is fatal. Seeking a more humane method of execution than hanging, New York built the first electric chair in 1888 and executed William kemmler in 1890. Soon, other states adopted this execution method. Today, electrocution is not used as the sole method of execution in any state. Electrocution was the sole method in Nebraska until the state supreme court ruled the method unconstitutional in Feb. 2008. For execution by the electric chair the person is usually shaved and strapped to a chair with belts that cross his limbs. A metal skullcap-shaped electrode is attached to the scalp and forehead over a sponges moistened with saline. The sponge must not be too wet or the saline short circuits the current, and not too dry, as it would then have a very high resistance. Then after the execution team is finished setting up a jolt between 500 and 2000 volts, which lasts for about 30 seconds, is given. The current surges and is then turned off, at which time the body is seen to relax. If the inmate is still alive another jolt is applied. The US Supreme Court justice William Brennan once offered the following description of an execution by electric chair. “The prisoners eyeballs sometimes pop out and the rest of his cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as it temperature rises, and the prisoners flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire. Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber.” (description of execution methods, 2012) In 1924, the use of cyanide gas was introduced as Nevada sought a more humane way of executing inmates. Gee Jon was the first person executed by lethal gas, the state tried to pump cyanide into his cell...
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