Caring to Death: Health Care Professionals and Capital Punishment

Cary Federman, Dave Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The aim of this article is to describe the role of health care professionals in the capital punishment process. The relationship between the protocol of capital punishment in the United States and the use of health care professionals to carry out that task has been overlooked in the literature on punishment. Yet for some time, the operation of the medical sciences in prison have been ‘part of a disciplinary strategy’ ‘intrinsic to the development of power relationships’. Many capital punishment statutes require medical personnel to be present at, if not actively involved in, executions. Through analyses of these statutes, show the degree to which these professionals have become part of the state's executive apparatus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-451
Number of pages11
JournalPunishment & Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2000


  • Foucault
  • capital punishment
  • health care professionals
  • power/knowledge


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