Texas has executed a record 235 people since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a ban on the death penalty in 1976. A large majority of these executions have taken place in the past few years, at a pace that has led Amnesty International to describe the system as a conveyor belt of death.
Today we take a look at the people who participate in executions in Texas; the executioners and guards who carry them out, the officials who oversee them and the journalists who cover them. "Witness to an Execution", an extraordinary radio documentary produced by David Isay and Stacy Abramson, has recorded the experiences of the men and women involved with the execution of death row prisoners at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
Narrated by Warden Jim Willett, who oversees all Texas executions, "Witness to an Execution", documents, in minute-by-minute detail, the process of carrying out an execution by lethal injection. Most of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees interviewed have witnessed over one hundred prisoners be put to death.
One-third of all executions in the U.S. have taken place in Texas, since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.
- Witness To An Execution, Radio documentary produced by David Isay and Stacy Abramson of Sounds Portraits Productions.