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An execution chamber, or death chamber, is a room or chamber in which a legal execution is carried out. Execution chambers are almost always inside the walls of a maximum-security prison, although not always at the same prison where the death row population is housed. Inside the chamber is the device used to carry out the death sentence.
In the United States, an execution chamber will usually contain a lethal injection table. In most cases, a witness room is located adjacent to an execution chamber, where witnesses may watch the execution through glass windows. All except for one of the states which allow capital punishment are equipped with a death chamber, but many states rarely put them to use. The sole exception is New Hampshire, which has no execution chamber (although one inmate remains on death row). Kansas, Nevada, Wyoming, and California are the only states to have an execution chamber, which is equipped to execute an inmate by lethal gas, which has never been used, while the states of New Jersey and New York formerly had lethal injection chambers which were never used while the death penalty remained legal.
Locations of execution chambers in the United States
|Federal||Terre Haute, Indiana (Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute)|
|Military||Terre Haute, Indiana (Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute)|
b Death penalty abolished in 2011. All condemned prisoners sentences were commuted to life imprisonment immediately upon abolition.
f Death penalty abolished in 2009; two prisoners remain on death row under sentences of death.
g Last death sentence reversed in 2007.
j If an execution does occur, the state will use its parole board meeting room at the state prison.
In the United Kingdom, the execution chamber was part of a larger complex, often referred to as the "Execution Suite". The room, usually formed from two single prison cells, contained the large trapdoor, usually double-leaved, but in some older chambers such as at Oxford, single-leaved, and operating lever. The wooden beam from which the rope was suspended was usually set into the walls of the chamber above, with the floor removed. At Wandsworth Prison the floor was retained and holes allowed the rope and chains through. Oxford's chamber was of an old 19th-century type, and the beam was set into the walls of the chamber just above head height.
Such rooms were almost always built into one of the wings of a prison; following the recommendation of prison governors during the 1948 Royal Commission on capital punishment, further execution chambers were housed in purpose-built blocks, separate from the main prison. The last gallows to be constructed and used in Britain, at HMP Aberdeen, was built in 1962, and was used one year later for the hanging of Henry John Burnett, the last person to be executed in Scotland. A freestanding execution block was built at HMP Perth in 1965, but was never used. This was the last gallows to be constructed in the United Kingdom.
The last officially operational gallows in the United Kingdom (as several remained unofficially in other prisons), at Wandsworth Prison, was removed in 1994. Salvaged parts from it are currently in the possession of the National Galleries of Justice, having previously been at the HM Prison Service museum.
Japan has seven execution chambers used to kill condemned criminals. One is at the Tokyo Detention House. Hanging is Japan's method of execution. The execution chamber in Tokyo has a trap door. As the condemned dies, his or her body falls into a room below the execution chamber, and in that room the death is confirmed. In the Tokyo facility, before the condemned is executed, he or she passes a statue of Amida Nyorai (Amitābha), a Buddhist deity. The execution room in Tokyo is in two sections, with both of them together the size of a 15 tatami mat room (270 square feet or 25 m²).
In Canada, executions were usually carried out in the county/municipality jail where they where committed. Alberta had gallows for the entire province in Fort Saskatchewan and Lethbridge. British Columbia had their executions in Oakalla (Burnaby).
The Don Jail was for murders committed in The City of Toronto and County of York. The Ontario County Jail in Whitby which was used for murders committed to what is now Durham Region. Most hangings were carried out using temporary gallows built in the jail yard although a few jails had permanent indoor facilities
Execution (Lethal Injection) Chambers
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
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- "Special Confinement Unit Opens at USP Terre Haute Archived 2010-12-03 at the Wayback Machine." Federal Bureau of Prisons. July 13, 1999. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
- "Military sets date for first execution since 1961". AP. Topeka, Kan.: Military on NBC News. November 20, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
Army personnel will be responsible for conducting the execution in Indiana based on an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons., see also Ronald A. Gray
- "Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003." Alabama Department of Corrections. 33/84 Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "The death chamber is located at Holman where all executions are conducted."
- "Death Row Information and Frequently Asked Questions Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Arizona Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
- "State Capitol Week in Review." State of Arkansas. June 13, 2008. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "Executions are carried out in the Cummins Unit, which is adjacent to Varner."
- "MEDIA ACCESS FOR WILLIAMS EXECUTION Archived 2010-08-16 at the Wayback Machine." California Department of Corrections. April 2, 1996. Retrieved on August 16, 2010. "The execution of Keith Daniel Williams is scheduled for Friday, May 3, 1996 at San Quentin State Prison."
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- "JAMES T VAUGHN CORRECTIONAL CENTER (formerly DELAWARE CORRECTIONAL CENTER)." Delaware Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
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- "Office of Planning and Analysis: The Death Penalty Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine." Georgia Department of Corrections. January 2010. 3/15. Retrieved on July 18, 2010.
- "Tamms Closed Maximum Security Unit: Ten-Point Plan Brief." Illinois Department of Corrections. 3 (9/51). September 3, 2009. Retrieved on September 1, 2010.
- "Kentucky State Penitentiary Prepares For 165th Execution Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine." WLKY. Retrieved on September 8, 2010.
- "Officials prep for Bordelon's execution Thursday." The Advocate. January 6, 2010. Retrieved on August 24, 2010. "Laborde said Bordelon has been moved from Angola's new Death Row facility to a cell at nearby Camp F, where the execution chamber is located"
- Calvert, Scott and Kate Smith. "Death row inmates transferred to W. Maryland." The Baltimore Sun. June 25, 2010. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
- Martin, Nathan. "Wilcher gets reprieve Archived 2011-07-13 at Archive.today." Laurel Leader-Call. July 12, 2006. Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
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- "nmate who could be 1,000th execution waits for family." Chicago Tribune. December 2, 2005. Start Page 14. Retrieved on September 1, 2010. "... panes separating the viewing room from the stark execution chamber at Central Prison."
- "Ohio Death Row Inmates Archived 2010-08-26 at the Wayback Machine." Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Retrieved on September 2, 100.
- "Death Row Archived 2009-04-29 at the Wayback Machine." Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Retrieved on September 2, 2010.
- "Benner Township Zoning Map." Zoning Ordinance Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine. Benner Township, March 2009. Retrieved on July 26, 2010
- "Pennsylvania Department of Corrections: SCI Rockview". Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- "Death Penalty FAQ." Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. 2 (2/4). Retrieved on July 26, 2010.
- "Death Row/Capital Punishment." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
- ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2011-01-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "
- "Death Penalty in Tennessee History." Tennessee Department of Correction. Retrieved on August 25, 2010.
- "Frequently Asked Questions Victim Survivors Viewing Executions Archived 2010-08-25 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on August 15, 2010. "Executions in Texas normally take place after 6:00 p.m. at the Huntsville Unit in downtown Huntsville, Texas."
- "Virginia Death Row/Execution Facts." My FOX DC. Tuesday November 10, 2009. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
- "Greensville Correctional Center/Greensville Work Center (major male institution) Archived 2010-08-19 at the Wayback Machine." Virginia Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
- "Capital Punishment in Washington State Archived 2009-04-22 at the Wayback Machine." Washington State Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 26, 2010.
- New Hampshire Legislature Overrides Veto, Abolishes Death Penalty
- Amick, George. "Amick: After Georgia debate, looking back on repeal of New Jersey's death penalty" (Archive). Times of Trenton. October 10, 2011. Retrieved on March 21, 2016.
- Scott, Brendan (July 24, 2008). "Gov Pulls Switch On Death Cell". New York Post.
- Lendon, Brad. "Japan reveals long-secretive execution process." CNN. August 27, 2010. Retrieved on August 27, 2010.
- "Diet members tour execution chamber." The Japan Times. Thursday July 24, 2003. Retrieved on August 27, 2010.
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