Capital Punishment in Washington State

The Law

Washington’s capital punishment law requires that capital punishment imposed by the state’s courts be carried out at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Procedures for conducting executions are supervised by the Penitentiary Superintendent.

Methods of Execution

Two methods of execution are legal in Washington: lethal injection and hanging. Lethal injection is used unless the inmate under sentence of death chooses hanging as the preferred execution method.

After an Offender is Sentenced

Within 10 days of a trial court entering a judgment and sentence imposing the death penalty, male defendants under sentence of death are transferred to the Penitentiary, where they remain in a segregation unit pending appeals and until a death warrant is issued setting the date for the execution. Female defendants under sentence of death are housed at the Washington Corrections Center for Women before being transferred to the Penitentiary no later than 72 hours prior to a scheduled execution.

Executions in Washington State

Since 1904, 78 persons have been executed in Washington, none of whom were women.

Executions by Ethnicity

  • Caucasian - 66
  • Black - 7
  • Asian - 2
  • Hispanic - 2
  • Eskimo - 1