Who can witness a federal execution?

Federal Executions

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — MyWabashValley.com’s Dana Winklepleck has served as a media witness for 11 federal executions. She offered some insight into who can witness an execution.

There can be up to 10 media witnesses; however, members of the media aren’t the only ones allowed to witness an execution.

Before every federal execution, a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesperson tells the media about the witnesses allowed at an execution, Winklepleck explained.

According to the BOP, there can be up to six witnesses for the inmate being executed including one spiritual advisor, two attorneys and three family members.

There can be up to eight witnesses on behalf of a victim.

Each group of witnesses is brought to the execution building by separate vans and arrive at different times. They never co-mingle or see each other.

Each group is placed in separate rooms that look into the execution chamber. The rooms contain large windows covered with blinds. The blinds raise moments before the execution process begins.

Once the blinds raise, the inmate can look into each of the rooms and see the witnesses except for the room that contains the witnesses for the victim.

Once the inmate’s time of death is announced, the blinds close. Each group is then escorted separately out of the building and back to vans, again ensuring no co-mingling.

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