Many inmates who meet this description are still on death row today. Their stories are not for the faint of heart and will give even the most courageous of bold goosebumps.
In fact, there are currently 1,513 people on death rows across the country. And at least 33 of these men and women are still alive today.
The number of prisoners executed in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 is 897. But because some of these were reprieves (i.e., temporary stops to allow new evidence to be presented or problems with the original trial to be resolved), the actual number of executions carried out during that time is 915.
So, yes, there are still people on death row today whose sentences have been completely upheld by all levels of appeal and who are therefore guaranteed to be killed by the state.
The last person to be officially executed in the United States was Charles Warner. He was put to death in Virginia on May 13, 2020.
Now, there are two cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the death penalty. One case involves the question of whether the execution of an insane prisoner violates his constitutional rights.
The mortality rate for state prisoners in the United States was 344 fatalities per 100,000 inmates in 2018. This is an increase from the previous year, when the mortality rate was 323 per 100,000 inmates. These numbers are high compared to the population as a whole, but they are not unusual for this type of facility.
The majority of deaths in prisons are not due to crime but rather because of health issues or accidents. Accidents are the number one cause of death among state prisoners and suicide is also a major factor. Prisoners who have mental illnesses are particularly at risk for dying by suicide.
There are several factors that can lead to an increased risk of death in prisons. Long-term confinement can lead to diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer. Physical injuries can result from attacks or from using illegal drugs inside the prison. The quality of medical care in prisons can be poor because they are not funded like hospitals are.
Prison suicides receive a great deal of media coverage because they are often violent. However, hundreds if not thousands of people survive prison suicides every year. People who know someone who has committed suicide will often ask how they could have prevented it. There are no clear answers for why some people commit suicide while others don't. Some possible reasons include: emotional pain, physical illness, drug or alcohol abuse, and social isolation.
74 people on death row in the State of Nevada.
Of those, 12 have been executed since 1976. The last execution took place in October 2016 when Michael Ryan was killed by a lethal injection.
Death sentences were imposed in 36 cases but only 14 people sentenced to die remain on death row. A decision is pending in three other cases. One defendant who had been convicted but not sentenced died before trial or sentencing could be completed for two other defendants.
The remaining seven men will be eligible for release in less than 10 years if their executions are not reversed or halted.
Three men are currently awaiting execution in Nevada's Washoe County jail. They include Scott Dozier, 59; Daniel Lewis Lee, 42; and Lawrence Phillips, 43. All three were involved in the 1989 murder-for-hire case against Charles Ng.
Phillips was the driver in the case. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and testified against his co-defendants at their trials. Both Dozier and Lee were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Their cases are pending before the Supreme Court of Nevada.
Meet the 119 death row convicts in Arizona. This is a record high for executions and convictions combined. The number of people on death row has increased by 36 since my last report in 2012.
Of those sentenced to die, 30 have been cleared for execution after rulings on issues such as ineffective assistance of counsel, changed laws, and new evidence that calls into question their guilt. Another man has had his death sentence overturned and is serving life without parole. One woman is among those who have been cleared for execution but have not yet been killed because of legal challenges.
Arizona's lethal injection procedure has been called into question by several courts over the past decade. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop two executions earlier this year despite concerns about the drugs used. The case was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. An appeal is pending in another case where the prisoner's lawyers claim that the process violates the Constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
In June 2004, the state legislature passed a law requiring health care professionals to withhold life-saving treatment from patients who have requested it. Patients can ask to be placed in comfort care and receive painkillers and other treatments that make them comfortable before they die.