Florida Department of Corrections
Death Row Fact Sheet

March 1998

General Facts

The Daily Routine of Death Row Inmates


Death Row Notables

General Facts

Furman vs. Georgia (408 US 238,33L.Ed 2nd 346) represents the June 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the capital punishment law on the grounds it was unconstitutional. Thus the sentences of 95 men and one woman were commuted to life in prison. In December 1972 the capital punishment statutes were revised. In July 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the new statutes constitutional. Executions resumed in Florida in 1979.

The Electric Chair:

The three legged oak electric chair was constructed in 1923 by inmates and is still used today. The chair was originally located at Union Correctional Institution; it was moved to Florida State Prison in 1962 when death row was moved there. Prior to 1923 executions were carried out by counties, usually by hanging. Electrocution became the official mode of capital punishment in Florida by the authority of the 1923 Legislature.

First executed inmate:

Frank Johnson was the first inmate executed in the electric chair in Florida. He was executed 10/7/24. In 1929 and from 5/12/64 to 5/24/79 there were no executions in Florida.

The electrocution cycle

is two minutes or shorter in duration. During the cycle voltage and amperage levels peak on three occasions. Maximum current is 2000 volts and 14 amps.

The executioner

is an anonymous, private citizen who is paid $150 per execution. The position of executioner was advertised in several Florida newspapers in 1978.

Death Row & Death Watch cells:

A death row cell is 6x9x9.5 feet high. The death-watch cell at Florida State Prison (where the inmate is brought when the Governor signs a death warrant on him or her) is 12x7x8.5 feet high. Inmates may have black and white televisions and radios positioned outside cell bars when on death-watch status.

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The Daily Routine of Death Row Inmates

Meals: Death row inmates take meals in their cells at 5a.m., 10:30a.m.-11:00a.m. and 4p.m.-4:30p.m. Food Services prepares the trays which are transported by insulated carts to the wings. Runners (inmates in administrative confinement), accompanied by officers distribute meals to the cells.

Exercise: Death row inmates are taken to the exercise yard four hours a week; twice a week for two hours each. The yard has basketball, volleyball and weights. The inmates are counted at least once an hour.

Visitors: Visitors are allowed every weekend from 9a.m. to 3p.m.: all must be approved by the prison before being placed on the inmate’s visitor list. If a visitor travels over 200 miles, the visitor can visit both Saturday and Sunday. Members of the media may request death row inmate interviews through the Office of Information Services at (904)488-0420.

Showers: The inmates may shower every other day.

Security: Inmates are escorted in handcuffs and wear them everywhere except in their cells, the exercise yard, and the shower. They are in their cells at all times except for medical reasons or legal or media interviews, or social visits. When a warrant is signed the inmate is allowed a legal and social call.

Magazines &
Inmates may receive mail every day except holidays and weekends; they may have cigarettes and snacks, radios and black and white televisions in their cells. They do not have cable. They can tune into church services on closed circuit television. The televisions are paid for through the Inmate Welfare Trust Fund. Inmates occasionally play chess with a cell mate on either side of him/her.

Clothing: Death row inmates can be distinguished from other inmates by their orange T-shirts.

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The following statistics have been compiled from data collected since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. For more information on the inmates on Florida's Death Row, go to their webpage at http://www.dc.state.fl.us

There are 371 inmates on Florida’s death row.

Of the 365 men on death row(130 Black, 217 white, 18 other) 55 are housed at Florida State Prison in Starke and 310 are housed at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford.

The six women on death row (4 white, 1 black, 1 other) are housed at Broward Correctional Institution in Pembroke Pines. The state of Florida has never executed a woman though two (Andrea Hicks Jackson and Judy Goodyear Buenoano) have had warrants signed and stayed. Buenoano is currently scheduled for execution March 30, 1998, at 7:00 a.m.

10.48 years is the average length of stay on death row prior to execution.

29.8 years is the average age at the time of offense.

38.2 years is the average age on inmates on death row.

41.69 years is the average age at time of execution.

Executions each year since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976

19791 198631991219962
19831 198821993319982
19848 1989219941
19853 1990419953

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Death Row Notables

Juveniles: There are no juveniles on death row. Death row inmates younger than 16 at the time of their offense were adjudicated as adults in court proceedings.

Two oldest death row inmates:
Raymond M. Thompson - DOB 2/16/30, sentenced from Broward County in 1986.
William Cruse, Jr. - DOB 11/21/27, sentenced from Brevard County in 1989.

Two youngest male death row inmates:
Ryan Urbin - DOB 10/24/77, sentenced from Duval County in 1996.
Keith M. Brennan - DOB 3/18/78, sentenced from Lee County in 1997.

Youngest female death row inmate:
Deidre Hunt - DOB 2/9/69, sentenced from Volusia County.

Oldest Inmate Executed:
Charlie Grifford - 72, executed on 2/21/51.

Youngest Inmates Executed: (all 16 years old)
Willie Clay - sentenced from Duval County, executed 12/29/41.
James Davis - sentenced from Alachua County, executed 10/9/44.

John Spinkelink was the first inmate to be executed in Florida after the reinstatement of the death penalty. He was executed on 5/25/79.

Inmate who has been on death row the longest:
Gary E. Alvord - received on 4/11/74; date of offense 6/17/73. Alvord was sentenced from Hillsborough County.

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These statistics furnished by The Department of Corrections - Bureau of Information Services. Updated 3/24/98.

For more information, call Debbie Buchanan at (904) 488-0420, SC 278-0420 or e-mail her at buchanan.debra@mail.dc.state.fl.us

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