Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LISTEN: The Georgia Execution Tapes

The website gives listeners a chance to hear the raw audio recorded in the hours leading up to an inmate’s execution, during the execution itself and in its aftermath. The tapes, totaling in over eight hours of audio, were all recorded by the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Recorded between 1983 and 1996, the tapes take you inside the executions of 18 inmates. The recordings begin in the inmate’s cell, two hours before the scheduled execution. The cell recordings allow the inmate to give a lengthier final statement than is allowed in the death chamber. The next recording begins in the command post, where corrections department officials communicate by phone with personnel in a room next to the death chamber. The recorded conversations describe in detail the execution procedure from start to finish. Meanwhile, audio is also being recorded in the death chamber, where inmates died in the electric chair.

According to Sound Portraits, “Some of the tapes begin after the execution has started or end before the procedure has been completed. Any gaps in the files exist on the original tapes themselves.”

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