According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, their last supply of the drug used to carry out lethal injection executions, Pentobarbital, is set to expire in September. Currently there is not an alternative set in place. The shortage of execution drugs in Texas is mainly due to expiration of the current drug used; however, discontinuation of drugs used in the past caused by duress of capital punishment opponents may support the opinion of the inhumanity of lethal injection.
To the date, Texas has carried out the highest number of executions with a total of 503 inmates since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment. The cost per execution is $1, 286.86, making capital punishment an expensive option. With prisons overcrowding, capital punishment may seem the viable option to control the situation. On the other hand, Texas has executed only 11 death row inmates this year, which barely puts a nudge in the number of inmates still on death row. So taking in account the large amount of money spent on executions and lack of space cleared, is justice for the victim is the overall reason for capital punishment? Opponents of execution make inhumanity and injustice of this process their main argument, so with Texas left without a plan in place to remedy the current drug shortage, may give those against lethal injection a small victory and rally more support to their cause.
The inhumanity of capital punishment, lethal injection in particular, is the side opponents take, and medicine producers are listening. Because the drugs used in lethal injections have been so widely objected, states have had to take extreme measures, such as finding the medicine wherever they can or even not revealing the source from which the medicine is obtained. This has resulted in backlash and protest, causing manufactures to cease production of drugs used in executions, Lundbeck, for instance,opted for options like medicines used in animal euthanasia and sedatives used in medical procedures, such as Propofol, the anesthesia blamed for the death of entertainer, Michael Jackson. States are grasping at straws. Those who support the opinion of the inhumanity of lethal injection may have finally gotten a leg up due to the Texas execution drug shortage, causing other states to take a closer look at their supply, as well. Drugs that are approved by the FDA are also a concern when proceeding with lethal injections. The gas chamber and electric chair are still lawful options for capital punishment, but some states, like Missouri, do not even have a gas chamber. All of this is being observed, noted, and used to back the claim for the inhumanity of lethal injections and capital punishment. So, if certain drugs are unsafe, and other options are cruel or cause a public spectacle, what other choice is there? Challengers of capital punishment would say to deem capital punishment once again unlawful, even inhumane. Remember that victims heinously killed on death row did not have the choice to get the nature of their death approved. That is inhumane.
Written by: Kimberly Michelle Scott