Tennessee’s Department of Correction Commissioner says he’s pursuing the use of drugs that could be used to execute inmates on death row. The Volunteer State’s entire stock of a key lethal injection drug was confiscated by the federal government in 2011 over questions about whether the drugs were legally obtained.
Commissioner Derrick Schofield says his department is urgently working to secure drugs that could be used to execute inmates.
The Tennessean reports there are currently 84 people sitting on the state’s death row, with 67 of those inmates having been there for more than a decade. Since 2011, there’s been a national shortage of the drug thiopental, which was widely used by states during the lethal injection process.
Critics of Kentucky's proposed new death penalty method have asked officials to make multiple changes to how executions are carried out now that the state is switching to a one or two-drug lethal injection. During a hearing in Frankfort, public defenders, anti-death penalty activists, and private attorneys said the rules the Commonwealth wants to put in place have multiple problems, including that condemned inmates aren't allowed access to their attorneys on the day of execution.
Kentucky is switching to a single drug to carry out inmate executions, becoming the latest state to drop a three-drug mixture for lethal injections. New regulations filed today also give the state two drug options, either the anesthetic sodium thiopental or the barbiturate pentobarbital.