South Carolina ready to resume executions after securing lethal injection drug
The state is poised to carry out its first execution in more than a decade after the Department of Corrections secured the drug pentobarbital.
South Carolina now has a lethal injection drug to carry out executions again after a 12-year pause. Governor Henry McMaster announced Tuesday the Department of Corrections has informed the state it is ready.
“Justice has been delayed for too long in South Carolina,” Gov. McMaster said.
The department says it hasn't carried out the death penalty since 2011 because it struggled to get the drugs needed, blaming the state for failing to protect those who provide the lethal cocktails.
In 2021, Gov. McMaster signed legislation making the electric chair the default method if lethal injection is not available and offered inmates another option, death by firing squad. Executions dates were set for several inmates who sued, arguing both electrocution and death by shooting are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.
This year, the state passed a shield law protecting the identities of those involved in planning or carrying out executions. The governor says the Department of Corrections has since been able to get the drug pentobarbital and has made more than 1,300 contacts with drug manufacturers, suppliers and pharmacies.
Gov. McMaster adds the department’s lethal injection protocol has been revised to allow for the use of one drug. He says the protocol is identical to those used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and at least six other states.
34 inmates are currently on death row in South Carolina.