No death row inmates are scheduled to die in Tennessee anytime soon.
The state’s entire stock of a key lethal injection drug has been confiscated by the federal government amid questions about whether it was legally obtained and the state hasn’t yet figured out how — or when — it plans to execute inmates in the future.
But Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield said the state’s lethal injection protocol is a top priority and he is pursuing alternative drugs. He declined to detail exactly what options he was considering, but other states have turned to an alternative drug used in animal euthanasia.
“I’ve been a little cautious talking about this because some of it turns into litigation,” Schofield said in a recent interview. “I don’t have a time frame, but it’s a matter of urgency for us. We have been pushing and working. I want to assure that we haven’t been sitting on our hands.”
Eighty-four people sit on Tennessee’s death row, 67 have been there for more than 10 years. For death penalty opponents, the sudden shortage in 2011 of the anesthetic sodium thiopental has been a godsend.
Source: The Tennessean, January 3, 2013