Bill: Legalize Death Penalty Drugs, Consider Alternatives to Sidestep Lawsuits | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Bill: Legalize Death Penalty Drugs, Consider Alternatives to Sidestep Lawsuits

The State of Mississippi uses a three-drug protocol to execute prisoners on death row; this practice has been on hold for a while with drug challenges made in federal court—until recently. Now, challenges to the state’s death penalty and use of the lethal drug are pending in both the state and federal court systems. Photo courtesy Mississippi Department of Correction

The State of Mississippi uses a three-drug protocol to execute prisoners on death row; this practice has been on hold for a while with drug challenges made in federal court—until recently. Now, challenges to the state’s death penalty and use of the lethal drug are pending in both the state and federal court systems. Photo courtesy Mississippi Department of Correction

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi—facing repeated court challenges to lethal injection and the difficulty of finding drugs—could start looking at alternative ways to carry out the death penalty.

A state House committee on Thursday approved legislation to explicitly legalize the current drugs Mississippi plans to use to execute death row inmates.

The bill also calls for other methods of execution — including the gas chamber, the firing squad and the electric chair — as backup methods of execution.

Legal injection is currently the sole method of execution in Mississippi. But the state has been tripped up by lawsuits that claim Mississippi drugs violate the constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. No executions have been carried out since 2012.

The bill moves to the House for more debate.

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