Throughout American history, each legal execution method—from hanging to firing squad, gas chamber to electric chair—has been sanctioned by U.S. courts, only to be banned later in many states for failing to measure up to the Eighth Amendment’s prohibiton of “cruel and unusal punishment.”
Each method, in turn, has be replaced by a new, “more humane” one. Now, after the botched executions of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma and, more recently, Joseph Wood in Arizona, Americans are looking at what had been deemed the most humane method yet—lethal injection—with increased scrutiny, prompting a new national debate about the ethics of state-sanctioned killing.
Photographer Lee Saloutos has visited abandoned prisons throughout the United States, capturing the debris left over from our more primitive criminal justice system. His photos give us a unique look at what humane used to look like in America.
Source: Politico, July 31, 2014