Justice Department ends freeze on executions
U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday ordered an end to a 16-year break from capital punishment for federal crimes. Five inmates convicted of murdering children now face December or January execution dates at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. “We owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” Barr said.
How many federal inmates face the death penalty? The Death Penalty Information Center reports 62 people currently sit on federal death row. The last federal execution occurred in March 2003. President Barack Obama in 2014 directed the Department of Justice to conduct a review of capital punishment and issues surrounding lethal injection drugs. Barr said federal prisons will use pentobarbital, a drug commonly used to euthanize animals, rather than the three-drug procedure previously used. Pentobarbital slows the central nervous system and causes death by respiratory arrest.
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