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Examining the role of corrections in managing death row, executions.

The death penalty is a much discussed issue among the public, the criminal justice community and ACA members. The fact that 36 states currently have capital punishment while 14 states do not is just one sign of the division of opinion on this subject.

This issue of Corrections Today does not address whether or not a state should use this punishment - that debate should be conducted in the state legislatures. Instead, the approach we take is to examine the key aspects of corrections workers' role in managing death row and conducting an execution.

Morris Thigpen, former commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, contributes a moving article on how he felt about carrying out the death penalty in that state. He has participated in eight executions, and his insight on how it affects all those involved, including himself, is very poignant.

George Martin, warden of Broad River Correctional Institution in South Carolina, addresses the issue of management of an execution and staff survival. He reviews the work that went into preparing for two executions at his facility and shows how many different correctional staff play vital roles in carrying out this difficult task.

Kerry Flack, assistant to the secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, writes about managing death row and staff's role in an execution. Officers working on death row have one of the most demanding jobs in corrections.

Daniel Vasquez, warden of San Quentin State Prison, examines the California Department of Corrections' pre- and post-execution trauma intervention program. This comprehensive program, which involves staff, witnesses and the victim's family, was established prior to the state's first execution in 25 years.

Tipton Kindel, assistant director of communications for the California DOC, provides a vivid description of how the news media is involved in reporting an execution. A tremendous amount of planning and work goes into coordinating this coverage.

Don Zelenka of the South Carolina Office of Attorney General describes an innovative program in which a fulltime victim advocate assists survivors of victims in death penalty cases. Many times the victim's family is left out of the criminal justice process, especially in the trial and retrial of capital cases. This special program reaches out in a compassionate and professional way to these individuals.

I am confident these thoughtful articles will give you more insight into the correctional system's role in managing death row and executions.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Evatt, Parker
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:395
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