Volunteering for Death
USA Today reports on the number of death row inmates in the U.S. refusing to appeal their sentence. One of every eight persons on death row is now volunteering to die.
Death row volunteers account for 123 of the 1,041 executions carried out since capital punishment resumed in 1977, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a group in Washington, D.C., that opposes the death penalty. That rate -- about 12% -- has held constant for nearly 30 years.
This year, five of the 37 murderers put to death were volunteers. Two of the remaining 14 prisoners scheduled for execution have asked to die. Some volunteers, such as Elijah Page -- scheduled for execution in South Dakota next week -- give no reason for their choice.
Why do the condemned volunteer for death?
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