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35% of executions were problematic in 2022

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  • Staff Report 

A recent review of executions done in the U.S. revealed that of the 20 executions carried out, seven of them had major issues.

According to The Guardian, each year a review is done on U.S. capital punishment by the Death Penalty Information Center. This year it found that 35% of these executions were “visibly problematic.”

This means many were drawn out and agonizing for the person being executed because executioners struggled to locate a vein to inject lethal drugs. This was then described as a form of torture.

Other issues were found when people carried out the execution in violation of state protocols. Even some protocols were found to be defective themselves.

Lethal injections as a form of the death penalty have been around for 40 years and are one of the most widely used methods. The first one was done in Texas on December 7, 1982. Murderer Charles Brooks was injected with a fatal dose of sodium thiopental.

The executive director of DPIC explained that after 40 years states have proven they’re unable to carry out the lethal injections without a risk of messing it up. In addition to that being an issue, families of the victims and prisoners are witnessing these executions and suffer after watching it go wrong.

Alabama, Texas, and Arizona have all had botched executions this year. In Alabama, one in July resulted in a three hour struggle for one while they struggled to set an IV line.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Two others after that were called off when they couldn’t find a vein before the death warrant expired. After this all executions in the state were halted while they carried out a review.

In Arizona, they could not set the injection tubes and it was so bad that the prisoner, Frank Atwood, gave them advice on how to find a vein himself despite being put to death.

Halts happened in Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee, and South Carolina when state protocols could not be carried out.

In the investigation of why this keeps happening, the common thread appeared to be the secrecy used to avoid accountability. Some states have laws that make it secretive on how these death sentences are carried out including where they get the drugs to avoid scrutiny in court. Out of the 27 states that have the death penalty, only six states used it this year.

The death penalty is slowly becoming outdated, and in Oregon the governor commuted the 17 death row inmates to life in prison without parole.

Another important piece of information is the history of most of the prisoners put to death this year. 8 had a serious mental illness, 5 were intellectually disabled, 12 had traumatic childhoods, and 3 were killed for crimes they committed when they were teenagers.

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