Moment of Indiana History

Retreat from the Scaffold

In Indiana, as in other states that still sanction capital punishment, the ultimate sentence is being applied less frequently.

Between 1977 and 2009, 93 people have been sentenced to death in Indiana, and 19 have been executed, eight of those since 2005.

But there was a time, in recent history, when capital punishment was prohibited, not only in the Hoosier state but throughout the nation.

After an execution in June 1961, the state didn’t put anyone to death again until 1981. In the meantime, the topic received vigorous judicial consideration, both at the federal and state levels.

In 1972, Furman v. Georgia established that all state death penalty sentencing statutes were unconstitutional, resulting in the commuting of the sentences of Indiana’s seven death row inmates.

The following year, Indiana reinstated its death penalty statute, only to have it repealed again in 1977, in response to another US Supreme Court decision. On October 1 of the same year, a new statute was enacted that remains in effect to the present.

Indiana’s death row inmates are housed at the State Prison at Michigan City, where, since 1995, lethal injection has replaced electrocution as the method of execution.

In Indiana, as in other states that still sanction capital punishment, the ultimate sentence is being applied less frequently. Nationally, the innocence movement has heightened awareness about the rate of wrongful convictions.

In Indiana, the trend may be associated with the legalization of Life Without Parole as a sentencing alternative in 1993, and the increased costs associated with the defense of those facing the death sentence in light of the adoption of Criminal Rule 24 in 1992.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Moment of Indiana History:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Moment of Indiana History

Search Moment of Indiana History

WFIU is on Twitter