DEATH ROW FACTSHEET
The Death Penalty was reenacted on March 29, 1974.
Prior to 1986, the method of execution in Delaware was hanging. Bill Bailey was the last inmate hanged in Delaware. His hanging took place on January 25, 1996. Prior to that, the last hanging in Delaware took place in 1946. In June 1986, the Delaware General Assembly enacted legislation that required lethal injection be the method of execution in Delaware. The law also stipulated that persons sentenced to death prior to the enactment of the law be given the choice of choosing their method of execution (either hanging or lethal injection). In April 1994, Governor Thomas R. Carper signed into law legislation (Senate Bill # 57) that mandates executions be carried out between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.
The executioner is a volunteer who remains anonymous.
Housing: Male inmates sentenced to the death penalty are housed at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, Delaware. Female inmates sentenced to the death penalty are housed at the Delores J. Baylor Women's Correctional Institution in New Castle, Delaware. (There are no women currently sentenced to death in Delaware.)
Cells:The housing unit cell is approximately 13 feet long, 7 feet wide and 8 feet high. Cells have a metal-framed bunk with a mattress, stainless steel sink and toilet, desk, locker and television through which programming is delivered.
Meals: Inmates sentenced to the death penalty are served three meals a day: 5:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Food is prepared by the Department's Food Services personnel, is transported in insulated carts to the cells, and eaten by the offenders in their cells. All meals meet recommended daily dietary requirements as directed by the USDA. Prior to execution, the inmate may request a final meal. Every attempt is made to fulfill the final meal request.
Visitors: James T. Vaughn Correctional Center must approve all individuals wishing to visit an inmate sentenced to the death penalty. Inmates under sentence of death may receive one visit per week. Visits must be scheduled during the week prior to the requested day/time of visit. To reserve a visit, call one of the following numbers:
- Inmate's last name begins with A to J - 1-800-282-8602
- Inmate's last name begins with K to Z - 1-800-722-0252
- Out of state callers - 1-302-653-4828
Media Interviews: Members of the news media may request an interview with an inmate sentenced to the death penalty by contacting the Office of Media Relations at 302-857-5232. The inmate must agree to the interview, however James T. Vaughn Correctional Center officials reserve the right to deny media access to any inmate for security reasons. Photographs of death row inmates may be permitted if the offender consents and if approved by the Warden.
Showers and Exercise: Inmates sentenced to the death penalty are permitted to shower and exercise up to four times per week. Recreation takes place in either an enclosed area within the housing unit or in an outdoor area just off the housing unit.
Security: Inmates sentenced to the death penalty are escorted in restraints, which are worn everywhere except in their cells, exercise areas and the shower. Restraints are removed upon arrival to the assigned destination. Death row inmates are in their cells at all times except for medical appointments, exercise, social or legal visits, media interviews, and other meetings/appointments. After an execution date has been set, the Warden determines when the inmate is moved to the holding cell in the execution building. The inmate receives visits and telephone calls as approved by the Warden.
Commissary:Offenders sentenced to the death penalty are allowed to purchase commissary items once a week, totaling up to $35.
Clothing: Offenders sentenced to the death penalty wear one-piece orange jumpsuits and white slip-on sneakers.
Treatment Services: Correctional counselors and chaplain staff are assigned to work with the offenders sentenced to the death penalty. Medical and mental health services are available within the housing unit.
Public witnesses to executions: The Department of Correction does not allow members of the public to serve as witnesses to executions.