Firing Squad, Gas Chamber, Electrocution for Executions?

In Mississippi (and elsewhere), the lethal injection method of execution is so problematic these days that state governments are considering the return to past methods of killing people in capital punishment sentences.

Firing Squad

The Mississippi legislature had been considering the firing squad.  Read, "Mississippi considers firing squad as method of execution," for details.  That got nixed

The firing squad has its proponents.  Among them, Alabama Death Row Inmate Thomas Arthur who fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court for the right to die by firing squad instead of lethal injection.  He lost, but not without the support of Justice Sonia Sontomayor.  Read her dissent here.

Of course, most people do not like the idea of firing squad executions.  It's not a popular alternative to lethal injection.  For more, read "Is The Firing Squad More Humane Than Lethal Injection?" by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux in FiveThirtyEight.

Electric Chair and Gas Chamber

Mississippi is moving forward with proposed legislation that will allow either electrocution or the gas chamber as execution methods if lethal injection is not possible.  Mississippi has not executed anyone in five years, in large part because of its problems with lethal injection drug issues.

Last Thursday, the Mississippi Senate approved a bill that allows for either alternative and sent the proposal over to the Mississippi House for consideration. 

It's looking likely that this may get passed and executions will resume in Mississippi.  But what will the public think?

States With Alternative Methods of Execution Already On the Books

Of course, some states already have options in the law to the lethal injection method of execution.  Mississippi's dilemma is that lethal injection was the only legal execution method for the state. 

States like Florida and Utah?  They have options. 

For a discussion of states who already have legal alternatives to lethal injection, read our post, "Returning Death Penalty to Other Execution Methods On the Books."

 

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