Not “Waiving” But Drowning: The Anatomy of Death Row Syndrome and Volunteering for Execution

By Amy Smith / Boston University Public Interest Law Journal, on 8 September 2020

Within the international community, other countries have recognized the potential for harm caused by our current system, and as a result have refused to extradite back to the United States individuals who might face the death penalty. These countries cite not only the possibility of execution as reason for refusal, but the waiting process which attends that death as a separate, independent violation of human rights. If we remain unpersuaded by the international community, the behavioral trends of those individuals awaiting execution are telling as well. Within one week in 2008, two individuals awaiting death in Texas committed suicide, reflecting the heightened suicide rates on death row, estimated at ten times greater than those in society at large and several times greater than those in a general prison population. In addition, the widely-recognized practice of “volunteering” for execution permits condemned inmates to waive their state and federally mandated rights to appeal in order to speed up the execution process, in essence “volunteering” to be executed.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Death Row Phenomenon, Extradition,