Death Watch

The three-day period before an execution date is known as death watch.  During this time, strict guidelines are implemented to maintain the security and control of the condemned offender and to maintain safe and orderly operations of the prison.

The offender is placed in one of four cells adjacent to the execution chamber 72 hours prior to the scheduled execution.  The cell is approximately 8 feet by 10 feet and has a metal-framed bed with one mattress, a metal desk with a metal stool attached, a metal shelf, a shower, and a stainless steel sink and toilet.

While on death watch, the items an offender can have in his/her cell are limited, the visitation schedule and regulations differ from the rest of the facility, and the media is not allowed to interview the offender.  This is to ensure the safety of the offender prior to his or her scheduled execution.

Additionally, he or she is under 24-hour observation by a designated team of correctional officers. 

Visitation during death watch:

Only individuals who are on the offender's official visitation list are allowed to visit the offender during this time.  The number of visitors is selected at the warden's discretion.

All visits are non-contact until the day of the execution, at which time the warden will decide if the offender can have a contact visit.  Visits by the offender's spiritual advisor are under the same guidelines, although the warden may grant a visit prior to the execution.  Only the prison chaplain can accompany the offender into the execution chamber at the offender's request.  The offender's attorney may have a non-contact visit prior to the execution.  Visiting hours are from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., with one two-hour visit in the morning and one two-hour visit in the afternoon.

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