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A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or other animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a
poison In biology, poisons are Chemical substance, substances that can cause death, injury or harm to organs, Tissue (biology), tissues, Cell (biology), cells, and DNA usually by chemical reactions or other activity (chemistry), activity on the molecul ...

poison
ous or
asphyxiant gasAn asphyxiant gas, also known as a simple asphyxiant, is a nontoxic or minimally toxic gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fl ...
is introduced. Poisonous agents used include
hydrogen cyanide
hydrogen cyanide
and
carbon monoxide Carbon monoxide (chemical formula CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. Carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. It is the simplest molecule of the oxocarbon family. In ...

carbon monoxide
.


History

General Rochambeau developed a rudimentary method in 1803, during the
Haitian Revolution The Haitian Revolution (french: révolution haïtienne ; ht, revolisyon ayisyen) was a successful insurrection Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders o ...

Haitian Revolution
, filling ships' cargo holds with sulfur dioxide to suffocate prisoners of war. The scale of these operations was brought to larger public in the 2005 book ''
Napoleon's Crimes ''Napoleon's Crimes: A Blueprint for Hitler'' (french: Le Crime de Napoléon) is a book published in 2005 by French writer Claude Ribbe, who is of Caribbean origin. In the book, Ribbe advances the thesis that Napoleon, Napoleon Bonaparte during the ...
'', although the allegations of scale and sources were heavily questioned. Gas chambers have been used as a method of execution of condemned prisoners in the United States since the 1920s and continue to be a legal execution method in three states, seeing a possible, legislated reintroduction, although redundant in practice since the early 1990s.
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
used gas chambers for civilian, penal use in the 1930s, with the last known execution carried out in 1940. The
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
allegedly used the method to perform executions during the bloody
Great Purge The Great Purge or the Great Terror (russian: Большой террор), also known as the Year of '37 (russian: 37-ой год, translit=Tridtsat sedmoi god, label=none) and the Yezhovshchina ('period of Nikolay Yezhov, Yezhov'), was Gene ...
, including by use of
gas van 300px, Burned-out Magirus, Magirus-Deutz furniture mover van near Chełmno extermination camp, type used by the Nazis for suffocation, with the exhaust fumes diverted into the sealed rear compartment where the victims were locked in. This particul ...
s. Prisoners were gassed on the way to the
Butovo firing range The Butovo Firing Range or Butovo Shooting Range (russian: Бутовский полигон) was an execution site of the List of historical secret police organizations#Soviet Union, Soviet secret police located near Drozhzhino in Leninsky Distr ...
, where the
NKVD The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (: ''Naródnyy komissariát vnútrennikh del''; ), abbreviated NKVD ( ), was the interior ministry An interior ministry (sometimes called ministry of internal affairs or ministry of home affairs) ...
normally executed its prisoners by shooting them.Tomasz Kizny, Dominique Roynette. ''La grande terreur en URSS 1937–1938''. Lausanne: Éd. Noir sur Blanc, 2013, p. 236. None of these saw mass use, however, and were strictly for "criminal" purposes. It is unknown to what extent, if any, Lithuanian or Soviet use may have influenced the methods of Nazi Germany
after its subsequent invasion
after its subsequent invasion
in 1941. Most notably, during
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
large-scale gas chambers designed for mass killing were used by
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
from the late 1930s, as part of the
Aktion T4 ''Aktion T4'' (German, ) was a campaign of mass murder #REDIRECT Mass murder Mass murder is the act of murder Murder is the unlawful killing of another human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread spec ...
, and later for its
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
program. More recently, escapees from
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
have alleged executions to have been performed by gas chamber in prison camps, often combined with
medical experimentation Clinical trials are experiments or observations done in clinical research Clinical research is a branch of healthcare science that determines the safety and effectiveness (efficacy Efficacy is the ability to perform a task to a satisfactor ...
.


United States

Gas chambers have been used for
capital punishment in the United States Capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The sentence (law), sentence ordering that someone is punished with the deat ...
to execute death row inmates. The first person to be executed in the United States by lethal gas was Gee Jon, on February 8, 1924. An unsuccessful attempt to pump poison gas directly into his cell at
Nevada State Prison Nevada State Prison (NSP) was a penitentiary located in Carson City. The prison was in continuous operation since its establishment in 1862 and was managed by the Nevada Department of Corrections The Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) is ...
led to the development of the first makeshift gas chamber to carry out Jon's death sentence. On December 3, 1948, Miran Thompson and
Sam Shockley Samuel Richard Shockley, Jr. (January 12, 1909 – December 3, 1948) was an inmate at Alcatraz Alcatraz Island (, Latin-American , European from ) is located in San Francisco Bay, offshore from San Francisco, California, United States ...
were executed in the gas chamber at
San Quentin State Prison San Quentin State Prison (SQ) is a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is the agency of the government of California responsible for the operation of the Calif ...

San Quentin State Prison
for their role in the
Battle of Alcatraz The Battle of Alcatraz, which lasted from May 2 to 4, 1946, was the result of an unsuccessful escape attempt at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary by armed convicts. Two Federal Bureau of Prisons officers—William A. Miller and Harold Stites—were ki ...
. In 1957, Burton Abbott was executed as the governor of California, Goodwin J. Knight, was on the telephone to stay the execution. Since the restoration of the death penalty in the United States in 1976, 11 executions by gas chamber have been conducted. Four were conducted in
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
, 2 in
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...
, 2 in
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
, 2 in
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...
, and 1 in
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
. The first execution via gas chamber since the restoration of the death penalty was in Nevada in 1979, when Jesse Bishop was executed for murder. The most recent execution via gas chamber was in 1999. By the 1980s, reports of suffering during gas chamber executions had led to controversy over the use of this method. At the September 2, 1983, execution of Jimmy Lee Gray in
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
, officials cleared the viewing room after 8 minutes while Gray was still alive and gasping for air. The decision to clear the room while he was still alive was criticized by his
attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a government * Attorney-in-fact, a holder of a power of attorney who is (though not ...
. In 2007, David Bruck, an attorney specializing in death penalty cases, said, "Jimmy Lee Gray died banging his head against a steel pole in the gas chamber while reporters counted his moans." During the April 6, 1992, execution of Donald Harding in
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...

Arizona
, it took 11 minutes for death to occur. The prison warden stated that he would quit if required to conduct another gas chamber execution. Following Harding's execution, Arizona voted that all persons condemned to death after November 1992 would be executed by
lethal injection Lethal injection is the practice of injecting one or more drugs into a person (typically a barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution) for the express purpose of causing rapid death (1906) Death is the permanent, Irreversible pro ...
. Following the execution of Robert Alton Harris, a federal court declared that "execution by lethal gas under the California protocol is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual." By the late 20th century, most states had switched to methods considered to be more humane, such as lethal injection. California's gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison was converted to an execution chamber for lethal injection. As of 2020, the last person to be executed in the gas chamber was German national , sentenced to death before 1992, who was executed in
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...

Arizona
on March 3, 1999. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled that he could not be executed by gas chamber, but the decision was overturned by the
United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of the United States of America. It has ultimate and largely Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United ...

United States Supreme Court
. The gas chamber was formerly used in
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West The Mountain West Conference (MW) is one of the collegiate athletic conferences affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic ...

Colorado
,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
,
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
and
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
. Six states (Arizona, California,
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware ...

Maryland
, Mississippi,
Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Missouri
, and
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
) authorize lethal gas if lethal injection cannot be administered, the condemned committed their crime before a certain date, or the condemned chooses to die in the gas chamber. In October 2010,
Governor of New York The governor of the State of New York is the head of government of the U.S. state of New York (state), New York. The governor is the head of the Executive (government), executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-ch ...
David Paterson David Alexander Paterson (born May 20, 1954) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as the 55th governor of New York, succeeding Eliot Spitzer and serving out nearly three years of Spitzer's term from March 200 ...
signed a bill rendering gas chambers illegal for use by
humane societiesHumanity is a virtue linked with basic ethics of altruism derived from the human condition. It also symbolises human love and compassion towards each other. Humanity differs from mere justice in that there is a level of altruism towards individuals ...
and other animal shelters.


Soviet Union

According to Zhirnov, Soviet
NKVD The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (: ''Naródnyy komissariát vnútrennikh del''; ), abbreviated NKVD ( ), was the interior ministry An interior ministry (sometimes called ministry of internal affairs or ministry of home affairs) ...
commander Isay Berg adapted vans with the storage compartment sealed and exhaust redirected inside it. These vans were used by the NKVD during the
Great Purge The Great Purge or the Great Terror (russian: Большой террор), also known as the Year of '37 (russian: 37-ой год, translit=Tridtsat sedmoi god, label=none) and the Yezhovshchina ('period of Nikolay Yezhov, Yezhov'), was Gene ...
(1936-1938) under disguise of bread vans to poison the victims during their transportation to the execution.


Lithuania

In 1937–1940,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
operated a gas chamber in
Aleksotas Aleksotas ( pl, Aleksota) is an elderate A ''seniūnija'' (in English: eldership, elderate, ward, parish, or subdistrict) is the smallest Subdivisions of Lithuania, administrative division of Lithuania. An eldership may comprise a very small regi ...

Aleksotas
within the First Fort of the
Kaunas Fortress Kaunas Fortress ( lt, Kauno tvirtovė, russian: Кοвенская крепость) is the remains of a fortress complex in Kaunas, Lithuania. It was constructed and renovated between 1882 and 1915 to protect the Russian Empire's western border ...
. Previous executions were carried out by hanging or by shooting. However, these methods were viewed as brutal and in January 1937, the criminal code was amended to provide execution by gas which at the time was viewed as more civilized and humane. Lithuania considered and rejected execution by poison. Unlike the American or German model the Lithuanian gas chamber, built out of bricks, worked by inputting compressed lethal gas from an external storage cylinder (Černevičiūtė 2014). The first execution was carried on July 27, 1937: Bronius Pogužinskas, age 37, convicted of murder of five people from a Jewish family. Historian Sigita Černevičiūtė counted at least nine executions in the gas chamber, though records are incomplete and fragmentary. Of the nine, eight were convicted of murder. One of these, Aleksandras Maurušaitis, was also convicted of anti-government actions during the 1935 Suvalkija strike. The last known execution took place on May 19, 1940 for robbery. The fate of the gas chamber after the occupation by the Soviet Union in June 1940 is unclear.


Nazi Germany

Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
made extensive use of various types of gas chambers for mass killing. Beginning in 1939, gas chambers were used as part of the Nazi euthanasia program aimed at eliminating physically and intellectually disabled people. Experiments in the gassing of patients were conducted in October 1939 in occupied in Poland. Hundreds of prisoners were killed by
carbon monoxide Carbon monoxide (chemical formula CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. Carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. It is the simplest molecule of the oxocarbon family. In ...

carbon monoxide
poisoning in an improvised gas chamber. In 1940 gas chambers using bottled pure carbon monoxide were established at six
euthanasia Euthanasia (from el, εὐθανασία 'good death': εὖ, ''eu'' 'well, good' + θάνατος, ''thanatos'' 'death') is the practice of intentionally ending life to relieve pain and suffering. Different countries have different Legality ...

euthanasia
centres in Germany. In addition to persons with disabilities, these centres were also used to kill prisoners transferred from concentration camps in Germany, Austria, and Poland. Killings of concentration camp inmates continued after the euthanasia program was officially shut down in 1941. During the , mass executions by
exhaust gas Exhaust gas or flue gas Flue gas is the gas exiting to the atmosphere via a flue, which is a pipe or channel for conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, oven, furnace, boiler Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic ...
were performed by ''
Einsatzgruppen (, ; also 'task force A task force (TF) is a unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. Originally introduced by the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for s ...
'' using
gas van 300px, Burned-out Magirus, Magirus-Deutz furniture mover van near Chełmno extermination camp, type used by the Nazis for suffocation, with the exhaust fumes diverted into the sealed rear compartment where the victims were locked in. This particul ...
s, trucks modified to divert engine exhaust into a sealed interior gas chamber. Starting in 1941, gas chambers were used at
extermination camp Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich fro ...
s in Poland for the mass killing of
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
,
Roma Roma or ROMA may refer to: Places Australia * Roma, Queensland, a town ** Roma Airport ** Roma Courthouse ** Electoral district of Roma Roma was an electoral district An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative ...

Roma
, and other victims of
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
. Gas vans were used at the
Chełmno extermination camp Chełmno or Kulmhof was the first of Nazi Germany's extermination camps and was situated north of Łódź, near the village of Chełmno nad Nerem. Following the invasion of Poland in 1939, Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany, Germany annexed th ...
. The
Operation Reinhard Operation Reinhard or Operation Reinhardt (german: Aktion Reinhard or Aktion Reinhardt; also Einsatz Reinhard or Einsatz Reinhardt) was the codename of the secretive Nazi Germany, German plan in World War II to exterminate History of the Jews in P ...
extermination camps at Bełżec, Sobibór, and
Treblinka Treblinka () was an extermination camp Nazi Germany used six extermination camps (german: Vernichtungslager), also called death camps (''Todeslager''), or killing centers (''Tötungszentren''), in Central Europe during World War II to ...
used exhaust fumes from stationary
diesel engine The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel ( (); 18 March 1858 – 29 September 1913) was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the Diesel engine The diesel engine, name ...

diesel engine
s. In search of more efficient killing methods, the Nazis experimented with using the -based
fumigant Fumigation is a method of pest control Pest control is the regulation or management of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a ...
Zyklon B Zyklon B (; translated Cyclone B) was the trade name of a cyanide-based pesticide invented in Germany in the early 1920s. It consisted of hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid), as well as a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbent of ...
at the
Auschwitz concentration camp The Auschwitz concentration camp () was a complex of over 40 concentration In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their ...

Auschwitz concentration camp
. This method was adopted for mass killings at the Auschwitz and Majdanek camps. Up to 6,000 victims were gassed with Zyklon B each day at Auschwitz. Most extermination camp gas chambers were dismantled or destroyed in the last months of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
as
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sove ...
troops approached, except for those at
Dachau , , commandant = #Commandants, List of commandants , known for = , location = Upper Bavaria, Southern Germany , built by = Nazi Germany, Germany , operated by = ''Schutzstaffel'' (SS) , original use = Political ...

Dachau
, Sachsenhausen and Majdanek. One destroyed gas chamber at Auschwitz was reconstructed after the war to stand as a memorial.


North Korea

Kwon Hyok, a former head of security at
Camp 22 Hoeryong concentration camp (or Haengyong concentration camp) was a prison camp in North Korea that was reported to have been closed in 2012. The official name was Kwalliso (penal labour colony) No. 22. The camp was a maximum security area, comple ...

Camp 22
, described laboratories equipped with gas chambers for suffocation gas experiments, in which three or four people, normally a family, are the experimental subjects. After undergoing medical checks, the chambers are sealed and poison is injected through a tube, while scientists observe from above through glass. In a report reminiscent of an earlier account of a family of seven, Kwon claims to have watched one family of two parents, a son and a daughter die from suffocating gas, with the parents trying to save the children using
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, a form of artificial ventilation Artificial ventilation (also called artificial respiration) is a means of assisting or stimulating respiration, a metabolic process referring to the overall exchange of gases in t ...
for as long as they had the strength. Kwon's testimony was supported by documents from Camp 22 describing the transfer of prisoners designated for the experiments. The documents were identified as genuine by Kim Sang Hun, a London-based expert on Korea and human rights activist. A press conference in
Pyongyang Pyongyang (, , ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smalle ...

Pyongyang
, organized by North Korean authorities, denounced this.


Method of use


Using hydrogen cyanide

As implemented in the United States, the gas chamber is considered to be the most dangerous, most complicated, and most expensive method of administering the death penalty. The condemned person is strapped into a chair within an airtight chamber, which is then sealed. The executioner activates a mechanism which drops
potassium cyanide Potassium cyanide is a compound with the formula In , a formula is a concise way of expressing information symbolically, as in a mathematical formula or a . The informal use of the term ''formula'' in science refers to the . The plural of ...
(or
sodium cyanide Sodium cyanide is a poisonous compound with the formula In , a formula is a concise way of expressing information symbolically, as in a mathematical formula or a . The informal use of the term ''formula'' in science refers to the . The plura ...

sodium cyanide
) pellets into a bath of
sulfuric acid Sulfuric acid (American spelling Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in English orthography English orthogra ...

sulfuric acid
beneath the chair; the ensuing chemical reaction generates lethal gas. The gas is visible to the condemned, who is advised to take several deep breaths to speed unconsciousness. Nonetheless, the condemned person often convulses and drools and may also urinate, defecate, and vomit. Following the execution the chamber is purged with air, and any remnant gas is neutralized with
anhydrous ammonia Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol N and atomic number 7. It was first discovered and isolated by Scottish physician Daniel Rutherford in 1772. Although Carl Wilhelm Sche ...

anhydrous ammonia
, after which the body can be removed (with great caution, as pockets of gas can be trapped in the victim's clothing).


Excluding all oxygen

Nitrogen gas or oxygen-depleted air has been considered for human execution, as it can induce
nitrogen asphyxiationInert gas asphyxiation is a form of asphyxiation which results from breathing a physiologically inert gas in the absence of oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of ...
. The victim detects little abnormal sensation as the oxygen level falls. This leads to
asphyxia Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of deficient supply of oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an ...
tion (death from lack of oxygen) without the painful and traumatic feeling of suffocation, or the side effects of poisoning. In April 2015, Oklahoma Governor
Mary Fallin Mary Fallin (née Copeland; born December 9, 1954) is an American politician who served as the 27th governor of Oklahoma from 2011 to 2019. A member of the Republican Party, she was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014. She was the first an ...
approved a bill allowing nitrogen asphyxiation as an execution method. On March 14, 2018, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh announced a switch to nitrogen gas as the state's primary method of execution. After struggling for years to design a nitrogen execution protocol, the State of Oklahoma announced in February 2020 that it was abandoning the project after finding a reliable source of drugs to carry out the lethal injection executions.


Further reading

*
Christianson, Scott Keith (K.) Scott Christianson (August 8, 1947 – May 14, 2017)Casey Seiler.Scott Christianson, 69, acclaimed journalist, author and advocate: Longtime Capital Region resident delved into past and present of race in America" ''timesunion.com,'' May ...
(2010). ''The Last Gasp: The rise and fall of the American gas chamber'' (Kindle edition). Berkeley: University of California Press,


References


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Gas Chamber Infrastructure of the Holocaust Execution methods Execution equipment Toxicology