Friday, January 26, 2007
Stateline.org's recent "State of the States" report features an extensive article on capital punishment trends in the United States. The piece includes a thorough review of lethal injection challenges in the states, as well as a brief update on the issue of innocence and an overview of other state legislative developments, such as efforts to authorize the death penalty for some crimes other than murder.
The article notes that questions about lethal injection put the death penalty on hold in nine states in 2006, and problems with the procedure left lawmakers grappling with the question of how much pain the condemned feel as they die and what role, if any, medical professionals should play in executions. The report states that the 90-minute botched execution of Ohio death row inmate Joseph Clark was "a stark example of why America is taking a harder look at lethal injection." Clark raised his head and declared that the process was not working before prison officials closed the viewing room curtain as they struggled to find a new vein through which to carry out the execution.
The report also provides charts illustrating the number of executions carried out in the U.S. during the past year and since the death penalty was reinstated, as well as a graphic showing state-by-state information on death row exonerations. Download the report here [Michele Berry]