Executions in Oklahoma have been on hold for two years after a series of botched lethal injections. While 47 people wait on Death Row, the state is still trying to sort out its execution protocols.
Oklahoma, a state with one of the busiest death chambers in the country in recent decades, will enter its third year without an execution in 2018 while prison officials and state attorneys fine tune its procedure for putting condemned inmates to death, reports the Associated Press. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said he will meet soon with top prison officials and that he expected more clarity on the state’s new lethal injection protocols. “We need to feel some urgency, but we also need to get it done right,” Hunter said. “I’d say both of those things are equally important.” State officials acknowledged the challenge of acquiring the lethal drugs.
Of the 2,817 death row inmates awaiting execution in 32 states, 47 of them are in Oklahoma, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Like many death penalty states, Oklahoma has struggled in the past decade to obtain the lethal drugs used in executions as manufacturers, including many in Europe, have said they don’t want their products used to kill people. Oklahoma put all executions on hold two years ago after several mishaps, including a botched lethal injection in 2014 and drug mix-ups in 2015 that led to one inmate being executed with the wrong drug and another inmate just moments away from being led to the death chamber before prison officials realized the same wrong drug had been delivered for his execution. Several top officials connected to the bungled executions have resigned and the state’s multicounty grand jury delivered a scathing report on Oklahoma’s lethal injection process that accused a number of individuals involved in the process of sloppy and careless work.