FEATURED POST

Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

Image
Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Alabama prison system sees steep rise in suicides

Mental illness in prison
The SPLC argued in federal court today that Alabama’s mistreatment of prisoners with mental illness has led to a dramatic increase in suicides.

Since the beginning of 2018, four people in ADOC custody – three in solitary confinement and one on death row – have died by suicide. The suicide rate in Alabama prisons is one of the highest in the country.

In June 2017, U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson declared the mental health system in Alabama prisons “horrendously inadequate,” an unconstitutional failure that led to what Thompson called a “skyrocketing suicide rate” among prisoners.

Thompson’s ruling followed a two-month trial in the SPLC’s lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). Today’s hearing was about ADOC’s routine use of segregation – solitary confinement – for prisoners with mental illness.

“As far as we can tell, the state has done very little beyond promising to improve conditions in Alabama prisons,” said Maria Morris, senior supervising attorney for the SPLC. “We continue to see the mentally ill kept in extreme isolation, and this is driving a steep rise in suicides.

“Even more disturbing, the suicide rate has dramatically increased since we filed this lawsuit in 2014. ADOC has been ordered to increase mental health and correctional officer staffing, and, hopefully, will do so over the coming years. However, the level of correctional staffing has fallen significantly since the start of the lawsuit. Last summer, as the situation become increasingly dire, the state stopped publicly reporting its staffing levels. ADOC has refused to provide information about its mental health staffing levels, but the information we’ve received suggests that it has fallen this year.

“It’s sickening to witness people – many of whom have mental illnesses – endure so much suffering while the state stalls and makes excuses. Incredibly, at the same time more people under its care are taking their lives, ADOC is asking the court and the people of this state to trust it to provide the care the U.S. Constitution requires.

“For well over a year, ADOC has ignored the urgent need to protect people with serious mental illnesses from the detrimental effects of extreme isolation. Segregation can be deadly, especially for those who are already struggling, and the recent rise in prison suicides highlights this tragic reality.”

In 2016, the plaintiffs settled the first phase of the lawsuit regarding violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In that settlement, ADOC committed to providing services and fair treatment to incarcerated people with disabilities.

The third phase of the lawsuit will determine whether the prison system’s poor medical and dental services violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Trial dates for those claims have not been set.

The Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program and the law firms Baker Donelson, and Zarzaur Mujumdar & Debrosse filed the lawsuit against ADOC in conjunction with the SPLC.

Source: splcenter.org, June 13, 2018. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Idaho Department Of Correction Can Keep Lethal Injection Drugs Secret, Judge Says

Double Dose: 2 executions in Texas next week

Chinese nanny Mo Huanjing executed for arson killings

Virginia: Convicted killer, already facing death penalty, admits slaying 2 girls in Illinois in 2005

Florida: Trial for man accused of throwing daughter from Pinellas County bridge delayed

Belarus: the Last Refuge for the Death Penalty in Europe

Alabama: Derrick Dearman found guilty in 5 Citronelle murders, jury recommends execution

Malaysian death sentences commuted for 3 Mexican brothers

'No Time To Sleep' to depict last day of death penalty inmate

Iran: 9 Hanged at Shiraz Prison