Capital punishment may be on the decline in America but a U.S-based photographer wants to draw attention to how many prisoners are still killed.
In 2016, 2o prisoners were put to death – the fewest number of executions since 1991. Along with the low number of executions performed, just 30 new death sentences were handed out, which is a 40-year low.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story, as the U.S is still one of the world’s top five executioners, surpassed only by China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
In a sequel to his series, ‘No Seconds’, which recreated the last meals of infamous criminals like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacey, Hargreaves has re-created photos of the last meals of prisoners who have been put to death this year.
In a statement, Henry said:
As state sponsored executions become increasingly problematic due to lack of access to effective drugs, clear racial and social basis and the human error of assigning blame. The killings still go on at a rapid rate. I hope this [project] helps better inform people about this practice.
He believes food preferences speak volumes about a person’s character and personality in any setting, with death row choices an extremely powerful example of that theory.
As you can see, they vary from the bizarre to the seriously mundane:
By many, the death penalty is considered a rather outdated and barbaric practice and when you partner that with the flaws of the American criminal justice system, you can understand why.
Nearly all death row inmates who end up executed could not afford their own attorney for trial and, on average, would spend almost 19 years on death row awaiting their execution.
Also, one in nine prisoners sentenced to death have since been exonerated due to evidence of their wrongful convictions.
We can only hope projects like this could start a conversation about whether having the death penalty is something we still really need in this day and age.