Ohio has been brought to the forefront of the death penalty debate with a new lethal drug combination they will be using when they resume state-sanctioned executions after a three-year hiatus.
USA Today reports, “Assistant State Attorney General Thomas Madden told told a federal judge at a status conference that the state would file details of a “protocol change” for executions by week’s end, said Dan Tierney, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.”
Lawsuits have risen across the country from families of prisoners sentenced to lethal injection who have been subjected to less potent drug combinations, causing them to experience anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour of pain as they struggle to breath. In the worst cases, executions have been carried out by untrained staff, including wardens and prison guards themselves.
Poor or unsuccessful attempts to insert an IV have caused prisoners to seize or convulse from the botched procedure. Lethal injection has stalled in the United States as the most efficient drugs used have become increasingly unavailable. Now this new drug and laws protecting the pharmaceutical companies will encourage states to resume death penalty executions.
According to Amnesty International, over two-thirds of the countries in the world—141—have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice. In 2010, the overwhelming majority of all known executions took place in five countries—China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the United States.