Movements towards painless execution::Capital punishment


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Movements towards painless execution

A gurney in the San Quentin State Prison in the United States on which prisoners are restrained during an execution by lethal injection.

Trends in most of the world have long been to move to less painful, or more humane, executions. France developed the guillotine for this reason in the final years of the 18th century, while Britain banned drawing and quartering in the early 19th century. Hanging by turning the victim off a ladder or by kicking a stool or a bucket, which causes death by suffocation, was replaced by long drop "hanging" where the subject is dropped a longer distance to dislocate the neck and sever the spinal cord. Shah of Persia introduced throat-cutting and blowing from a gun as quick and painless alternatives to more tormentous methods of executions used at that time.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In the U.S., the electric chair and the gas chamber were introduced as more humane alternatives to hanging, but have been almost entirely superseded by lethal injection, which in turn has been criticised as being too painful. Nevertheless, some countries still employ slow hanging methods, beheading by sword and stoning.

In early New England, public executions were a very solemn and sorrowful occasion, sometimes attended by large crowds, who also listened to a Gospel message<ref>Article from the Connecticut Courant (1 December 1803)</ref> and remarks by local preachers and politicians. The Connecticut Courant records one such public execution on 1 December 1803, saying, "The assembly conducted through the whole in a very orderly and solemn manner, so much so, as to occasion an observing gentleman acquainted with other countries as well as this, to say that such an assembly, so decent and solemn, could not be collected anywhere but in New England."<ref>The Execution of Caleb Adams, 2003</ref>

Capital punishment sections
Intro  History  Modern-day public opinion  Movements towards painless execution  Abolition of capital punishment  Contemporary use  Capital crime  Controversy and debate  Religious views  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

Movements towards painless execution
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