DYK(#7)Execution: You Can Volunteer for That?

The death of Scott Dozier on Nevada’s Death Row will surely renew discussion on prisoners who “volunteer” to be executed. Dozier was one of a growing number of condemned people who gave up their appeals in hopes of being executed sooner. Because Nevada could not acquire the correct drugs to legally or “humanely” kill him, his execution in July 2018 was called off. It seems that he began to pursue other options to take his own life after that time. In December 2018 it was reported that Dozier was planning suicide, and January 5th he was found dead in his cell from an apparent hanging.

Mr. Dozier was not alone in his desire to die. Since 1976, 145 people have “volunteered” to be executed according to the Death Penaly Information Center. Why? Because they find the conditions on Death Rows across the country to be unbearable. Three of the last five were from Texas. Prison conditions, mainly isolation, are the main factors in encouraging prisoners to give up their fight to live, even when their lawyers or family members continue to fight their executions.

This phenomenon raises questions such as: If American prisoners aren’t able to bare living through their (often very long) appeals process, is this infringeing on their constitutional rights? Are innocent people giving up their appeals due to prison conditions? And is the state guilty of assisting with suicides in these cases? We will discuss conditions in an upcoming post. Comment below with questions you have about the Death Penalty.


Marshall Project on Scott Dozier:



List of All “Volunteers” Executed:


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