SAN QUENTIN, CA—In a new study examining trends in long-term American incarceration, Cornell University researchers found a marked increase Wednesday in the number of prisons encouraging creativity in death row inmates by allowing them to design the method of their execution. “Our investigation revealed that an increasing number of condemned felons in the U.S. penal system are being granted the freedom, as it were, to express themselves by developing new and innovative means of capital punishment,” said lead researcher Dr. Elinor Hubbard, whose work noted contemporary felons moving steadily away from traditional methods like lethal injection as a means of corporeal release, instead tapping into their imaginations by devising unique final acts such as being pushed into a vat of acid, jumping into a tank full of hungry sharks, or eating themselves to death. “It’s great to see that, even when more citizens than ever are in prison, their minds are unchained and researching new ways to die. These guys are really exploring their surroundings by selecting to jump off the roof or be buried alive in the prison yard, or they’re discovering whole new sides of themselves by tinkering with tools in the shop to build guillotines, Judas Cradles, and other lethal devices that will ultimately be used to set them free forever. It’s truly inspiring.” At press time, Hubbard added that allowing prisoners to curate their own deaths has also had a profound effect on recidivism.

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