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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

6x9: A virtual experience of solitary confinement

The Guardian's virtual reality video sends you to solitary. Could you handle it for a day? A decade?

What’s it like to spend 23 hours a day in a cell measuring 6x9 feet for days, weeks, months or even years? 

6x9 is the Guardian's first virtual reality experience, which places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation.

We've created a mobile app allowing you to fully experience VR on your own, with or without cardboard viewer. If you don't have a smartphone scroll down to watch the 360° video.


Human beings quietly design these dungeons where other human beings go insane.

"Un camp de concentration se construit comme un stade ou un grand hôtel, avec des entrepreneurs, des devis, de la concurrence, sans doute des pots-de-vin.
Pas de style imposé, c’est laissé à l’imagination : style alpin, style garage, style japonais, sans style. Les architectes inventent calmement ces porches destinés à n’être franchis qu’une seule fois.
Pendant ce temps, Burger, ouvrier allemand, Sterne, étudiant juif d'Amsterdam, Schmulszki, marchand de Cracovie, Annette, lycéenne de Bordeaux, vivent leur vie de tous les jours sans savoir qu’ils ont déjà, à mille kilomètres de chez eux, une place assignée.
Et le jour vient où leurs blocks sont terminés, où il ne manque plus qu’eux."
-- Jean Cayrol, Nuit et Brouillard
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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people