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The Death Penalty. By: Alexa Marsicek. History of the Death Penalty. Eighteenth century B.C. First established death penalty laws 1834 A.D. Pennsylvania becomes the first state to move executions into correctional facilities 1907-1917

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the death penalty

The Death Penalty

By: Alexa Marsicek

history of the death penalty
History of the Death Penalty
  • Eighteenth century B.C.
    • First established death penalty laws
  • 1834 A.D.
    • Pennsylvania becomes the first state to move executions into correctional facilities
  • 1907-1917
    • Nine states eliminate the death penalty for all crimes or strictly limit it.
  • 1930’s
    • Executions reach the highest levels in American history-average 167 per year
  • 1977
    • Oklahoma becomes the first state to adopt lethal injection
  • 1986
    • Banning of the execution of insane persons
  • 1989
    • Eighth Amendment does not prohibit the death penalty for crimes committed at age sixteen or seventeen
  • 2005
    • The United States Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty for those who had committed crimes under 18 years of age is a cruel and unusual punishment.
methods of execution
Methods of Execution



Lethal Gas


  • Short Drop
    • The prisoner usually was hung from a tree
    • Was usually carried out in public
  • Suspension Hanging
    • Have hydraulic mechanisms for raising the prisoners
  • Standard Drop
    • Drop between 4 and 5 feet
    • Many still died by strangulation
    • Some were knocked unconscious
  • Long Drop or Measured Drop
    • Designed to break the prisoner’s neck at a pre-determined distance
    • Removed most of the prisoner’s physical suffering
    • Determined by the prisoner’s weight


  • First electric chair designed in 1888
  • Martha Place was the first woman to die in the electric chair
  • Second most common method of execution
  • Usually there are two shocks given and it lasts about 2 minutes and 10 seconds
  • Leather belts are strapped across the prisoner and a leather face mask is put on
  • 10 electrocutions in the 21st century
lethal injection
Lethal Injection
  • December 7th 1982-first lethal injection
  • Steps for execution…
    • Strapped to a gurney
    • Two catheters inserted into two veins on each arm
      • Flushed with Heparin solution
    • Three different chemicals are injected into each vein
      • Sodium thiopental
      • Pancuronium bromide
      • Potassium chloride
  • Takes about 3-5 minutes for the prisoner to die
lethal gas
Lethal Gas
  • Originally proposed by Dr. Allen McLean Hamilton
  • Hydrogen cyanide gas is released into the chamber to kill the prisoner
  • The prisoners die from hypoxia
  • The effects of breathing this in are…
    • Spasms
    • Inability to breathe
    • Pain and extreme anxiety
    • Loss of consciousness after 1-3 minutes
    • Death
  • It takes an average of 9.3 minutes for the prisoner to die
the debate of the death penalty
The Debate of the Death Penalty



  • Lower crime levels (deterrents)
  • Some people who are freed from death row are back in prison with new charges
  • Lowers cost of prison population upkeep
  • Murder
  • Mistaken convictions
  • Inhumane
the death penalty1

The Death Penalty

By: Alexa Marsicek

works cited
Works Cited

Willing, Richard. “Foes of Death Penalty Rising: Activists Gaining Unlikely Allies in…” USA Today (Feb. 1999)

Shapiro, Joseph. “The Wrong Men on Death Row.” U.S. News & World Report (Nov. 1998)