Texas Death Row Appeals Process Essay

2122 Words9 Pages

An Ethical Critique of the Texas Death Row Appeals Process
Rachel St. Pe’
CJ412-Criminal Justice Ethics
Texas A&M University-Central Texas

Abstract
Although the methods of execution in Texas have evolved throughout time to more humane techniques, an increase in the cost of living of prisoners and the time between conviction and execution has resulted. By shortening the appeals the process, the overall funding and labor to house death row inmates will be decreased and a the possibility of an 8th Amendment violation by keeping prisoners on death row for years and years will be diminished. Introduction Although the methods of execution have become more humane, transitioning from public hangings to private lethal injections, …show more content…

As with any traumatic event or loss, people will move through five stages of grief. These five stages include: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Moving through these stages requires time to heal. In a capital murder case, the victim’s family will have to continually relive the traumatic event with each appeal that the criminal makes. The average time that a prisoner is on death row in Texas is 10.6 years (TDCJ). Throughout this time, the victim’s family will be forced to relive the painful events of the original crime over and over through each step of the appeals process. This causes the five stages of grief to continually begin from the beginning and allow no time for the family to heal. Overall, victim’s families do not want revenge or closure by witnessing the execution of the murderer. They want justice to be served. For example, Fred Romano’s sister was murdered along with two other women in 1987. The murderer, Steven Oken, was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. It took fifteen years for Oken to be executed for his crimes. Romano stated that even though the murder trial was over and Oken was convicted, it was a painful process to wait for Oken’s death due to experience the crime over and over with each appeal of Oken. Romano also described the pain that his parent’s experienced to the point that they had to be medicated to help …show more content…

Criminals on death row will be placed in solitary confinement. This usually consists of twenty-three hours a day, alone in a small cell, with the only human interaction being with the jailer letting the criminal out for their one hour of exercise. Since the average time spent on death row is approximately ten years, the daily solitary confinement can have detrimental psychological effects on the prisoners. These effects, called Death Row Syndrome, include symptoms such as, depression, paranoia, hallucinations, self mutilation, thoughts of suicide, and stress (Harrison, 6-7). Prisoners also experience psychological stress and mental suffering from not knowing when their execution date will be. A recent study followed a prisoner who had been on death row for nine years. From the time of conviction to nine years later, the prisoner showed increasing signs of mental illness including severe depression and psychosis. Jailers observed that the subject began hallucinating, slurring his speech, rambling, and having outbursts. Doctors believed this prisoner to be suffering from symptoms caused by Death Row Phenomenon (Harrison,

Open Document