Democrats Should Stop Saying Some People Should Die in Prison

Replacing the death penalty with death in prison is not true progress.
Late last week, a clip of an interview from the New York Times with Sen. Elizabeth Warren made the rounds on social media. In it, Warren spelled out her position against the death penalty, citing the evidence of wrongful convictions and racism associated with capital punishment. Then she added: “I think that people who have committed truly heinous crimes should die in prison. I think that is how we give them the maximum, maximum punishment that we can: keep them in prison for all their days.”
Warren’s answer echoes a similar response by Bernie Sanders, who thinks those who commit “horrific” crimes should “spend the rest of their days” in prison. This position is widely accepted as the progressive stance on the death penalty: Nearly every person vying to be the Democratic presidential nominee agrees that life without parole should replace the death penalty.
But answers like Warren’s and Sanders’ represent a continua…

Oklahoma DOC offers no timeline for resuming executions

Department of Corrections officials Wednesday declined to provide specific details about when they expect to finish the new death penalty protocol necessary to resume executions after a nearly 5-year hiatus.

Executions, meanwhile, have been on hold since 2015, and state officials said this week 24 death row inmates have exhausted all appeals and are awaiting execution dates.

"The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is working with the Governor's Office and Attorney General's Office on a protocol for executions," said Matt Elliott, a spokesman for the agency, in an email.

He wrote that the agency plans to complete the protocol "as soon as we can."

Corrections officials would not say if there was a date when executions are expected to resume or answer why it is taking so long to develop the new protocol.

In March 2018, Attorney General Mike Hunter and former DOC Director Joe Allbaugh announced they were planning to implement a 2015 law that allows executions using nitrogen hypoxia. 

If successful, Oklahoma would become the 1st state to execute inmates using the untried method of inert gases.

At the time, they said they hoped to have the new gas protocols drafted within 120 days. Executions would resume as soon as possible after that.

The men said Oklahoma would stop using lethal injection because the execution drugs were increasingly difficult to obtain.

State law also allows for executions by firing squad or electric chair.

"We continue to work with the Department of Corrections to finalize the new execution protocol for nitrogen hypoxia," said Alex Gerszewski, a spokesman for Hunter. "We owe it to not only Oklahomans who believe in capital punishment, but also the victims' families, who wait for and expect justice to be carried out."

Executions were halted following several mishaps.

A bungled procedure in 2014 left an inmate writhing on the gurney.

In 2015, an execution reportedly was carried out with the wrong drug, and a 2nd halted after a similar issue was discovered.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kevin Stitt said his office is coordinating with DOC and Hunter's office on protocol for resuming capital punishment.

Chip Keating, the state's secretary of public safety, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

DOC board member Joe Griffin said officials have not provided him with updates or a timeline for completion.

Source: Tahlequah Daily Press, Staff, November 30, 2019

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

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