[Deathpenalty] death penalty news------- reporter has a request for information
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Jul 21 19:38:07 CDT 2007
I have received this request....Please contact Seamus directly if you can
I'm passing along a sort of broad request for help with the story we're
doing about the effects of capital punishment on those who are charged
with carrying it out.
We are hoping to contact people who have worked in the system, or are
working in it now, and have first hand experience with the process. That
includes members of the tie down teams, guards, doctors, nurses, EMT's,
designated executioners, etc. Needless to say we will absolutely
guarantee anonymity. Any interviews conducted can be conducted by
telephone or by email, if the respondant prefers.
I can't stress this part enough: This story is not polemic, nor is it an
attempt to sort through the various arguments for or against capital
punishment. Instead, we're hoping to simply give the people who take on
this awesome task to talk about how they came to it, how they shoulder
their responsibilities, and how they view the process and their own part
in it. After all, as more than one person who had already agreed to be
interviewed for this story has put it, if you haven't been in the room,
you really can't understand the complexity of the process and the
reactions it provokes among the professionals.
Anyone who choses to respond can reach me at my home telephone 24 hours a
day -- (570) 588-6000 or via email at this address -- seamusm at ptd.net.
Here's a quick list of questions:
1) We're told that all team members are volunteers. Can you tell me
how you first considered becoming a member of the team? Was it a
difficult decision and did you discuss it with family members,
colleagues, or clergy before hand? Does your family now know about that
part of your job. If not, why not?
2) A number of people I've spoken to have told me that it takes a
kind of courage, commitment and compassion to serve on a team and that
prospective members are generally screened for these qualities. Can you
tell me what you think it takes, and can you tell me why you are
3) How long have you been a member of the team, and how many
executions have you participated in?
4) Can you describe your responsibilities during an execution?
5) A great deal has been written over the years about what the
inmate does in the hours leading up to an execution. But what do you do
in those hours? Is this something you need to prepare yourself for, and
if so how do you do it? Is there something you do routinely to prepare?
6) Can you tell me when you have your first contact with the
prisoner? Is there any conversation?
7) What are your responsibilities as the execution is taking place?
8) Before, during and after an execution, are you always able
maintain professional detachment, or are there times when that has been
difficult? Can you explain how?
9) Is there anything in particular you do to help unwind after an
execution when your shift ends?
10) Is there one particular execution that stands out in your mind, and
if so, why?
11) A number of people who spoken out in the past have said that
they've suffered from stress or anxiety after executions, have you? and
if so, can you explain briefly how that's been manifested?
12) A reasonably controversial recent study has concluded that capital
punishment does appear to have some effect in deterring violent crime.
There are others, of course, who challenge those findings. Having
participated, do you believe that capital punishment is effective
response to certain violent crimes? Do you believe it is being used
13) Tell me why you think it's important that the identities of the
people on the team be protected?
14) I'm told by everyone I've spoken to that unless you've actually
been in the room during an execution, you can't possibly understand it.
As best you can, tell me, so I can tell my readers what it is that we
most need to understand about this issue?
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