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USA. Death Penalty in Oklahoma. “The current rate of executions is unsustainable”

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Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has filed a motion with the state appeals court to increase the interval between executions from 30 to 60 days. He says the current pace of capital punishment is “overburdening” the staff of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

The Attorney General attended last execution in Oklahomaconducted on Thursday, January 12. The next one was set for February 16. After discussions with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) leadership about the death penalty process, Drummond decided that he would “request an improved execution schedule to reduce the workload on DOC staff, maintain confidence in the system, and preserve this solemn and important trial,” CNN reported, citing documents filed with the state appeals court.

According to DOC, 10 more executions are planned for 2023 in Oklahoma. The only month in which the death penalty will not be carried out is September. Drummond stated that “the current pace of executions is unsustainable in the long run as it puts an undue strain on DOC and its staff” given the “nature of training” that DOC staff undergo in preparation for each execution.

SEE ALSO: Problems during the execution of prisoners. “The Year of Botched Executions”

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Critics on Oklahoma’s ‘reckless move’

Drummond stressed in the application that it only covered the next seven executions. Its impact on the remaining 13 executions of death row prisoners will be discussed “in due course”. “Prior to submitting the application, Drummond visited family members of the victims of the inmates in question to explain the reason for the application,” reads a statement published on Wednesday. The Oklahoma Attorney General said the families “waited many years to see justice done and I am grateful for their understanding.”

Ten more executions are scheduled for 2023 in OklahomaShutterstock

Experts quoted by CNN warn that the fast pace of executions can lead to errors and, as a result, to botched executions. Such cases have occurred in the past: after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, who in 2014 “died in obvious agony for more than 40 minutes”, The Oklahoma Court of Appeals decided to stay the execution of the death sentences for a period of six months.

Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University, in a 2022 interview with the American network, called the state execution schedule “just another reckless move by Oklahoma.” Between 1915 and 2022, 200 men and 3 women were executed at Oklahoma State Prison, according to the DOC website.

SEE ALSO: What do death row inmates say before execution? A unique record of “last words” lost in the state of Texas

The death penalty in the US

According to a survey conducted in 2021 by the American Pew Research Center, 6 out of 10 American adults strongly or to some extent favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder. The authors of the report noted that while the majority of states have the death penalty, those that carry out regular executions are in the minority. In 2021, there were 13 states allowing the death penalty (including California, Oregon, Pennsylvania) that had not been executed for at least 10 years.

SEE ALSO: While waiting for her execution, she choked on her dinner. A woman was convicted of murdering her lovers

CNN, Oklahoma Corrections, Pew Research Center, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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