New Report Finds More Than 122,000 People In Solitary Confinement In The United States

Figures Exceed Previous Counts Because They Include All People in Solitary in Prisons and Jails for 22 or More Hours a Day, and Are Based on the Most Reliable Available Sources Washington, DC — The watchdog group Solitary Watch and the advocacy coalition Unlock the Box today released a groundbreaking joint report showing that at least 122,840 people are locked daily in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails for 22 or more hours a day. Calculating Torture ( LINK ) is the first report to combine the use of solitary in local and federal jails in addition to state and federal prisons. It is based on analysis of data recently released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) as well as by state prison systems that did not report to BJS, and data from a survey of local jails conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice.

India | Supreme Court reopens debate over right to dignified execution

A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has reopened a decades-old debate over whether there can be a more humane and dignified way of executing the death penalty.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 21) asked the Centre to defend the law that allows hanging by the neck as a mode of execution. 

Attorney General for India (AG) A R Venkataramani agreed to seek instructions from the government before the court sets up a committee to examine the issue.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud is essentially reopening a decades-old debate over whether there can be a more humane and dignified way of executing the death penalty.

What is this case?

In 2017, Rishi Malhotra, an advocate, filed a public interest petition (PIL) seeking a more dignified way to execute the capital punishment. He argued that a convict whose life has to end because of the conviction and the sentence should not be compelled to suffer the pain of hanging.

The plea in the PIL challenged the constitutional validity of Section 354(5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973. This provision reads: “When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead.”

In the landmark 1982 ruling in ‘Bachan Singh v State of Punjab’, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the death sentence by a 4:1 majority ruling.

The SC had agreed to hear the 2017 PIL, and had issued notice to the Centre. Court records show that in January 2018, the Centre filed an affidavit defending the current position of law, but the case had not been listed since then. CJI Chandrachud was one of the three judges along with then CJI Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar (retd) who had agreed to hear the case.

The case has now been listed after five years.

What is the Centre’s stand?

In its 2018 affidavit, the government had argued that death by hanging was the only “viable” option to execute a death warrant. However, the government also sought additional time to examine the methods followed in other countries.

In its 187th report in 2003, the Law Commission of India recommended that Section 354(5) of the CrPC should be amended by providing an alternative mode of execution of death sentence by “lethal injection until the accused is dead”.

The report suggested that it should be the discretion of the judge to pass appropriate orders regarding the mode of execution of death sentence and to hear the convict on the question of mode of execution of death sentence before passing the discretionary order.

What is the practice in other countries?

According to Amnesty International, 55 countries around the world have the death sentence on the books. While death by hanging is still the most prevalent form of execution, especially in the former British colonies, other modes are followed in some countries.

In the United States, for example, an intravenous lethal injection is given in every state (27 states and American Samoa) that allows the death penalty. 

Electrocution is a secondary method in some states. 

Execution by firing squad is employed in China, and Saudi Arabia uses beheading apart from other methods.

In India, The Air Force Act, 1950, The Army Act 1950, and The Navy Act 1957 say that execution has to be carried out either by hanging by the neck until death or by being shot to death.

Source: indianexpress.com, Staff, March 22, 2023







"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted."

— Oscar Wilde

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