Florida Department of Corrections  

January 2001
Death Row Fact Sheet:
General Facts
The Daily Routine of Death Row Inmates
Death Row Notables
Death Row Roster
Execution List
Death Row Cell Virtual Tour
Active Death Warrants:
  • None

General Facts

The Supreme Court and 
the death penalty:
The case of Furman vs. Georgia was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 1972. In that case, the Court held that capital punishment was unconstitutional and struck down state death penalty laws nationwide. As a result, the death sentences of 95 men and one woman on Florida's Death Row were commuted to life in prison. However, after the Furman decision, the Florida Legislature revised the death penalty statutes in case the Court reinstated capital punishment in the future. In 1976 the Supreme Court overturned its ruling in Furman and upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty in the case of Gregg vs. Georgia. Executions resumed in Florida in 1979 when John Spenkelink became the first Death Row inmate to be executed under the new statutes.

Means of execution:

Florida administers executions by electric chair or lethal injection. The three-legged electric chair was constructed from oak by Department of Corrections personnel in 1998 and was installed at Florida State Prison (FSP) in Starke in 1999. The previous chair was made by inmates from oak in 1923 after the Florida Legislature designated electrocution as the official mode of execution. (Prior to that, executions were carried out by counties, usually by hanging.) The apparatus that administers the electric current to the condemned inmate was not changed. It is regularly tested to ensure proper functioning. For a photograph of the electric chair and for information on lethal injection, see our press release page.

First executed inmate:

Frank Johnson was the first inmate executed in Florida's electric chair on October 7, 1924. In 1929 and from May 1964 to May 1979 there were no executions in Florida.

The executioner:

Is a private citizen who is paid $150 per execution. State law allows for his or her identity to remain anonymous.

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The Daily Routine of Death Row Inmates

Death Row &
Death Watch cells:

A Death Row cell is 6 x 9 x 9.5 feet high. Florida State Prison also has Death Watch cells to incarcerate inmates awaiting execution after the Governor signs a death warrant for them. A Death Watch cell is 12 x 7 x 8.5 feet high.

Meals: Death Row inmates are served meals three times a day: at 5:00 am, from 10:30 am to 11:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Food is prepared by FSP personnel and is transported in insulated carts to the cells. Inmates are allowed plates and spoons to eat their meals. Prior to execution, an inmate may request a last meal. To avoid extravagance, the food to prepare the last meal must cost no more than $20 and must be purchased locally.

Visitors: All inmate visitors must be approved by the Central Visitation Authority before visitation is allowed. Questions regarding an inmate's visiting day(s), visiting hours, and special visits should be directed to the Classification Officer responsible for the inmate at the inmate's assigned facility. Questions may be sent by letter, e-mail or by telephone. Members of the news media may request Death Row inmate interviews through the Department of Corrections Public Affairs Office at (850) 488-0420. The inmate must agree to the interview and the interview will be non-contact.

Showers: The inmates may shower every other day.

Security: Death Row inmates are counted at least once an hour. They 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, exercise, social or legal visits or media interviews. When a death warrant is signed the inmate is put under Death Watch status and is allowed a legal and social phone call.

Magazines &
Inmates may receive mail every day except holidays and weekends. They may have cigarettes, snacks, radios and black and white televisions in their cells. They do not have cable television or air-conditioning and they are not allowed to be with each other in a common room. They can watch church services on closed circuit television. While on Death Watch, inmates may have radios and black and white televisions positioned outside their cell bars.

Clothing: Death Row inmates can be distinguished from other inmates by their orange t-shirts. Their pants are the same blue colored pants worn by regular inmates.

Cost: It costs approximately $72.39 per day to incarcerate a Death Row inmate.

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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 our Death Row Roster or our Execution List. These provide specific statistics on each inmate.

Men on Death Row are housed at Florida State Prison in Starke and Union Correctional Institution in Raiford. The women on Death Row are housed at Broward Correctional Institution in Pembroke Pines. On March 30, 1998, Judias "Judy" Buenoano became the first woman to die in Florida's electric chair. For the latest count of inmates on Death Row, please refer to the Death Row Roster.
11.3 years is the average length of stay on Death Row prior to execution.
30 years is the average age at the time of offense.
40.87 years is the average age of inmates on Death Row.
42.75 years is the average age at time of execution.

Executions each year since the
reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976
1979 1   1992 2
1980-82 0   1993 3
1983 1   1994 1
1984 8   1995 3
1985 3   1996 2
1986 3   1997 1
1987 1   1998 4
1988 2   1999 1
1989 2   2000 6
1990 4   2001 1
1991 2    
Total    51

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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:
Lawrence Singleton - DOB 7/28/27, sentenced from Hillsborough County in 1998.
William Cruse, Jr. - DOB 11/21/27, sentenced from Brevard County in 1989.
Two youngest male Death Row inmates:
Timothy L. Hurst - DOB 12/12/78, sentenced from Escambia County in 2000.
Ronald Bell - DOB 4/1/81, sentenced from Okaloosa County in 2000.
Youngest female Death Row inmate:
Ana Marie Cardona - DOB 11/26/61, sentenced from Dade County in 1992.
Oldest inmate executed:
Charlie Grifford - 72, executed on 2/21/51.
Youngest inmates executed (both 16 years old):
Willie Clay - sentenced from Duval County, executed 12/29/41.
James Davis - sentenced from Alachua County, executed 10/9/44.
John Spenkelink was the first inmate to be executed in Florida after reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. He was executed on 5/25/79.
Inmate who has been on Death Row the longest:
Gary E. Alvord - received on Death Row 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 - Public Affairs Office. For more information, call the Public Affairs Office at (850) 488-0420, SC 278-0420 or send e-mail to Public Affairs Assistant Debra Buchanan at buchanan.debra@mail.dc.state.fl.us

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