The death penalty has been a longstanding topic of controversy within America and the rest of the world. The execution of criminals that are too dangerous or maladjusted to be released back into society is seen by some people as a more cost effective method of punishment in comparison to life imprisonment. Notorious mass murderers, psychopaths and sexual deviants are usually sentenced to consecutive life sentences, costing American taxpayers millions of dollars for every year these individuals eat, drink and wait in their cellblocks.
In a recent change of policy, the state of Ohio informed the US District Court Chief Judge Edmund A. Sargus that the state would be reinstating the death penalty. After a critical shortage of execution drug compounds, Ohio was previously forced to suspend the death penalty until a new arrangement could be reached. However, state and pharmaceutical representatives were able to resupply Ohio with a drug that satisfied the conditions of cruel and unusual punishment within the Constitution, using a newly introduced combination of midazolam, rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride.
The sudden shift in Ohio’s attitude towards capital punishment has proved to be an incendiary decision, with numerous community organizations and human rights lawyers protesting the move. In particular, the usage of the drug, midazolam, in the new execution compound has been the target of severe criticism after a similar concoction of drugs was used in the execution of Dennis McGuire, a rapist and a murder, who allegedly died in severe pain. Consequently, a Federal public defender named Allen Bohnert released a statement, saying: “Medical experts have said that using midazolam will not reduce the substantial risk that Ohio will subject an inmate to an unconstitutional, agonizing execution. The state’s decision to ignore the experts is deeply troubling, particularly since the last time Ohio ignored the experts, it botched Mr. McGuire’s execution and suffocated him to death.”
However, despite the opposition, other groups of people have praised Ohio’s tougher stance on criminals and believe it’s an effective way to keep people safe and save America’s tax revenue for more important projects. Regardless, the decision is likely to continue to create debate and tension across America as more and more states re-evaluate the effectiveness of capital punishment.