Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Virginia continues with three drug execution protocol

There has been a change in the manner executions are carried out in this country.  A number of states, led by Ohio, have moved from a three drug lethal injection protocol to a single drug protocol.

Recently, Virginia shocked death penalty experts and altered their execution process, but maintained a three drug protocol.

The Virginia Department of Corrections announced that it would begin using rocuronium bromide due to a nationwide shortage of pancuronium bromide, reported the Washington Post. The latter had been used across the country as step two of a three-drug protocol since shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Both drugs paralyze muscles.

So far, all of the other death-penalty states have responded to the shortage by switching to a one-drug regimen: administering a larger, lethal dose of the sedative that traditionally had been used as the first step in the process.  Those states moving to a single drug protocol have not had any problems carrying out execution.

Virginia’s provided no explanation for its curious decision. Virginia has executed 109 prisoners since the death penalty was reinstated, making it the second-biggest death penalty state behind Texas, which has put 483 to death.

To read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/virginia-opts-for-one-drug-lethal-injection-protocol/2012/07/27/gJQA8jxiEX_story.html

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