NEW VOICES: Former Georgia Prison Warden Discusses Impact of Executions on Officers

Dr. Allen Ault (pictured), a retired Georgia prison warden, recently appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, discussing the effects of carrying out executions on prison workers. Dr. Ault was one of six retired prison wardens who had urged Georgia corrections officials and Governor Nathan Deal to do what they could to halt the execution of Troy Davis. Davis was executed on September 21, 2011. Dr. Ault discussed the difficult questions prison officials face when participating in an execution. He said, “You’re killing somebody. And there`s no denying that. And especially when we know that several people have been declared innocent with the new scientific techniques, and we’re not real sure if the individual we’re executing this evening or next week is really guilty - that in itself, that kind of doubt. The other thing most of us know [is] all the research which indicates that capital punishment does not deter… it seems so illogical to say to the public we do not want you to kill, and to demonstrate that, we’re going to kill individuals.” Dr. Ault also recounted his experience with victims’ family members after an execution: “In every execution that I attended, I spent time with the victim’s family. And most of the victims’ families that I talked with, they thought they were going to get a lot of relief or closure from the execution. And in most cases, they did not.”

(The Rachel Maddow Show, September 22, 2011). See New Voices and Victims.