State Reportedly Bringing Back Gas Chambers

State Reportedly Bringing Back Gas Chambers

( – Several states have been struggling the last few years to acquire the drugs necessary to perform executions. Lethal injection was the preferred method in US prisons until nearly two dozen pharmaceutical manufacturers blocked the use of their drugs for that purpose. As a result, Arizona decided to push forward with executions using a different means.

The Guardian reported on May 28 that Corrections Department officials in Arizona recently spent thousands of dollars obtaining the ingredients to make cyanide gas, the same substance used in German concentration camps during World War II.

According to The Guardian, the Department of Corrections purchased a single brick of pre-made potassium cyanide at the end of 2020. It also bought other ingredients so Arizona’s gas chamber can enter active use again soon. Arizona corrections officials say they have already “refurbished” the chamber.

Arizona’s effort to reinstate executions follows the lead of several other states.

Other States Finding Alternative Execution Methods

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed a new piece of legislation into law on May 14, reintroducing firing squads as a form of execution. A total of four states have started using firing squads again.

South Carolina is also bringing back the use of the electric chair. Death row inmates get to choose their means of execution.

These archaic forms of execution may raise eyebrows, but some states are adopting equally dated methods. New Hampshire’s Department of Corrections has started using hanging again. Seven states also allow for the use of lethal gas in some situations. Eight states currently give inmates the choice of being electrocuted, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

There are checks and balances within the courts, ensuring that inmates are not subjected to excessively cruel punishment. The Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of executions and weighed in on various methods over the last few years. However, this development is likely to spark intense debate about the ethics of the gas chamber execution method.

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