Why is there a culture of watching deathrow inmates get killed in america?


Why is there a culture of watching death-row inmates get killed in America?

Are witnesses required to confirm there death? Or is something more sinister at play?


What are you talking about, like selling tickets?

I’m not aware that the public can attend


Maybe i am mistaken, but i have the impression that people (those who are allowed, family of victims etc) attend the death of inmates. Perhaps this is something that happened in the past, but no more.


Because they want to know that justice has been served for their family member of friend that was murdered or whatever the crime was.


Maybe to demonstrateto the family that Justice was served.

Actually, in the olden days, executions were often public events, even as recently in the Wild West.

But people were less squeamish about death back then.


Not to mention in the times of the Roman Empire. St Polycarp, for instance, was burned alive in a colisseum before thousands of people. Talk about public executions.


I find it morbid to be honest. Maybe it should be the right of the condemned how private or public they want their death to be. The sentence is enough justice for the victims. There should be no right to watch. That said, I pray for the end of this institution everywhere in the world. It’s not necessary to wilfully kill in the modern age, except in defence of life, even in poor countries.


That’s western privilege showing.

Not every society has the same capacity to house dangerous people indefinitely. Executions are a perfectly just and valid way to protect society from dangerous people when there is not a suitable alternative.


I’m from a poor country. I have no such privilege. I only moved to the West as an adult. There is no necessity to kill. There are poor countries who stopped doing it decades ago even though they still have it in their books.


It is a bit morbid, but if a state is carrying out capital punishment, it makes sense for it to be public to me. I imagine in the past it was to demonstrate that justice is done in a country, but it makes sense for democratic purposes. The state serves the public good, represents the public (even a monarch,) and in democracy is “made” by the public. I’d find it more disturbing of capital punishment was carried out in secret.

Not arguing about whether a state should use CP, just that if a state is using CP it makes sense that it’s a public affair.


An interesting position. While i have my problems with capital punishment, i do agree that it would be more sinister if they were doing it in secret.

I guess my position comes down to why would anybody want to watch it. I can understand why someone would want to see that justice is served. But couldn’t they just confirm it by showing a dead body?


There are very few executions in the U.S., and usually, many years or even decades pass before an execution is carried out.

The accused has the privilege of making many appeals in court over many years. This process can take years or decades.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that only a few executions are carried out each year in the U.S., possibly not even that many. Someone with more knowledge, please correct me if I am wrong about this.

Also, in recent years, several universities and private individuals have created “appeals” groups that respond to requests from families and prison inmates who insist on the innocence of the accused, and ask for help to prove this. These groups work, often for free, to re-open the case, study the evidence, and in many cases, they have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the accused is actually innocent. It’s amazing to read about their work.

I think that groups like this have made it even harder for a court to give a death sentence to any criminal in the U.S., and that’s a good thing–no one wants to execute an innocent person.

In many states in the U.S., executions are not done. Illinois is one such state–a moratorium has been in effect for many years now, and no executions are carried out.

Finally, the only criminals in the U.S. who are executed are murderers, generally murderers who have carried out multiple murders or serial murders. In the past, criminals convicted of “treason” were executed, but this has not been done in my lifetime (at least I think this is so). Crimes other than heinous murder are punished by various terms of imprisonment, and there is a lot of talk about eliminating imprisonment for certain “crimes” (e.g., possession of marijuana) and substituting some form of rehabilitation and re-education, or even decriminalizing these acts entirely.

The U.S. is not a brutal country when it comes to criminals.


I don’t think the US is a brutal country, not at all. I just don’t like the institution of the death penalty when it’s not necessary. Not in the US specifically but everywhere. I think it contradicts the principle of life when you take life that you don’t have to take. I understand the U.S is not governing itself according to Catholic principles and no country is actually. I just think that in the same way institutions like slavery (not chattel slavery but the old ones practiced everywhere before Christianity ended it), forced servitude, exile etc disappeared, that the death penalty will too. There were times slavery (again, not chatel slavery in the TransAtlantic slave trade era) were necessary for things like punishment but now its not necessary. I’m hoping the dearth penalty vanishes the same way. I don’t think the US is a bad country. The only problems I have with it is like in all countries, some politicians.


The law requires witnesses to see that the sentence is carried out. But America hasn’t had public executions for quite some time.

I suppose that there are institution staff, clergy, news reporters who have seen multiple electrocutions or hangings, but the vast majority of Americans haven’t see any.


Rubee, I agree with you entirely, and believe that the death penalty should be eliminated in the U.S.

When I watch how “lawyers” are attacking Judge Kavanaugh for high school and college drinking, and are ready to ruin his life and the lives of his family and prevent him from serving on the Supreme Court–I think that we don’t have the competence to fairly ascertain whether a person should be executed or not.


There are very few executions in America, the peak during the past 50 years was less than 100 for our very vast country.


There isn’t a “culture of watching death row inmates get killed in America”. “Culture” would imply the general public sits around watching such things, or that executions are televised or held in public. None of which is true.

There is generally a legal requirement for a certain number of witnesses to the death, who can testify that it was actually carried out, that the proper person was executed, etc. These witnesses are selected by the state authorities. Usually the states have a “witness pool” where reputable citizens of the state can send in a letter asking to be put in the pool and then maybe get selected to witness an execution. These are generally people who have some interest in the criminal justice system or who work in it already, like lawyers, law students, criminology students, journalists who focus on this area, etc.

The families of the victims and the family of the person being executed are also often invited to be present. Other people are invited to be present who play some role in the execution, like the inmate’s priest/ minister/ chaplain, a doctor, etc.

The “culture of watching” public executions went out years ago when hangings and other executions stopped being conducted in the town square like had been done for centuries (including in Europe and in other non-US countries).


I have often thought the same in the sense that we are all responsible for what is being done, so we should all have to look and see.

However, my next thought is always that it would turn into a circus. Some of the executions of high-profile criminals have had people basically having a party outside the prison, while other groups of people are conducting an anti-death penalty protest. We just don’t need one more crazy media event that would invariably lead to the two sides getting into some riot or fistfight and news stations filming the whole thing, and it would cost the taxpayers a lot of extra money to police such baloney. To say nothing of security issues - the convict’s friends or family or even total strangers might come and stage a shootout or other disturbance to try to break him loose.

As a compromise I have wondered about televising the executions but I can see a lot of problems with that as well, especially considering that you are inside a prison and there are security issues, as well as media bias issues.


The last public execution in America was in 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky.


Watching executions is barbaric and belongs in history, what about gun toting Christians in America they are the ones who support the death penalty no doubt.

…awaiting the backlash…

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