So what, your supply of midazolam is about to expire. Who’s fault is that?
Arkansas has recently made national headlines after scheduling eight executions over the course of 11 days and performing the first double-execution any state has had in 17 years this past Monday. Four of the proposed executions were granted stays by federal courts.
However, the schedule of executions wasn’t the only thing that caused controversy. According to a New York Times article, during the first execution Monday night, there was speculation that inmate and convicted murderer Jack Jones showed “evidence of continued consciousness” after being administered the injection, as he was gasping for air.
And then there’s the possibility that Arkansas’ first execution was of an innocent man. Ledell Lee was convicted of the murder of Debra Reese in 1993 and has maintained his innocence ever since.
After not executing anyone in twelve years, why, all of a sudden, is there a rush for capital punishment? Many of these men have been incarcerated since the 1990s. It seems as though someone finally realized that they were about to waste their supply of one of the drugs used to execute inmates and this was how they decided to save a few dimes.
Bottom line, the reasons behind Arkansas’ big rush to execute are nothing but shady.
The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States “prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishment.”
Naturally, it is my inclination to believe that using a sedative that has had a history of not working properly in executions is exactly the kind of “cruel and unusual” punishment that American citizens are protected from. Using drugs that have been known to contribute to a botched execution is inhumane and a direct violation of the Eighth Amendment.
According to one reporter who visited California’s death row, inmates are housed in one of two locations. Women are placed at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla and men are taken to San Quentin State Prison.
Armed officers line the halls inside death row and men are housed in steel cages five stories high. Doctor’s visits are rare, usually once every two or three months. Often times an inmate’s quality of life on death row is dependent upon how well they follow the rules.
One inmate on death row, Justin Helzer, once stated that life in prison without the possibility of parole is far worse of a punishment than execution. However, he adds that many men sit on death row for up to forty years due to the lack of executions taking place. He was given the death penalty in 2005 for the murder of five people, attempted his first suicide attempt in 2010 and was found dead in his cell in 2013.
It seems to me as though being forced to spend the rest of your life behind bars is much worse than being put to death. It’s an everyday reminder of the crimes you’ve committed and the life you could have led otherwise.