Death row is where prisoners spend as many as 23 hours a day confined to small, box-like cells, with little slits of glass for windows. After years of waiting, one day they will receive word that an execution date has been set.
A cross sits atop of the death house, a separate prison facility where prisoners are brought as the execution date nears.
A few days prior to the execution, the prisoner will be transferred from death row to a special death watch cell within the death house.
The final days include visits by family, friends and attorneys - sometimes where the prisoner is kept behind thick glass, sometimes where physical contact is allowed.
Hours before execution, the prisoner will have their final meal.
Then return to death watch to wait for the courts to issue their final decisions on any pending legal appeals.
Prison guards and execution team members arrive and get in place
Names are pulled out of a bowl to decide which journalists will be chosen to witness the execution.
Witnesses are then led through the prison halls toward the death chamber.
Witnesses of the execution are brought into the viewing room. In the tiny room, some are seated and some will stand. The viewing window is straight ahead.
With the prisoner strapped down, the warden wheels the gurney from the preparation room into the adjacent death chamber.
The gurney and the prisoner are placed at the viewing window, eye level with the witnesses on the other side.
Prison staff wait for the final phone call that will inform them that the execution has been cleared by the courts to begin.
A few minutes before the scheduled time of the lethal injection process, family of the prisoner pray outside and hope for a miracle.
A clock inside a death house waiting room strikes 7:00 – the set time for the execution to begin.
In the waiting room of the prison, it is announced that the Supreme Court has lifted the delay. Attorneys react to the news, knowing that all hope is lost. The execution will go forward.
Outside the prison armed law enforcement agencies guard the exterior to ensure that the process is not disrupted.
Some protestors hold peaceful vigil in opposition to the execution
Taking to the streets, especially when significant claims of innocence are at stake.
Some gather to support the state-sanctioned killing.
Including the KKK at a Black man’s execution in Texas - wearing Klan gowns and carrying Confederate flags outside the prison.
Meanwhile, inside the death house, a series of three drugs will be administered into the prisoner’s veins while strapped to the gurney - in view of the witnesses.
Most states will use lethal injections to kill its prisoners, but some use other methods, including the electric chair.
Back outside, family of the prisoner weep, and comfort each other.
Some screaming out in pain.
Relatives of the prisoner are overwhelmed with grief, knowing what is happening on the inside.
Once the prisoner is pronounced dead, witnesses return to a nearby media room to attend a press conference.
With victim family members reading from handwritten notes, speaking about their experience and need for closure.
Media witness share their notes, detailing the timeline of events and how the prisoner responded to the drugs.
The prisoner’s personal spiritual advisor recounts the experience of standing next to the gurney, watching a man die.
Then the body of the prisoner is loaded into a white coroner's van, which will go directly to a nearby hospital for examination.
At the hospital, a death certificated is issued. In section 21c, the prison doctor indicates that the manner of death is a homicide.
Back at the prison, empty tissue boxes are left behind in the waiting room.