Executions should use a single drug and be overseen by medical personnel, expert panel says

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 09 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3225
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Executions by lethal injection should be carried out with a one drug protocol that uses a single anesthetic or barbiturate and overseen by qualified medical personnel, an expert panel has recommended.1

The report was prepared by the Death Penalty Committee of the Constitution Project, a non-partisan think tank that seeks to promote non-ideological policy solutions to problems involving rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.

In its work the committee, which comprises opponents and supporters of the death penalty, does not pass judgment on the use of capital punishment but seeks to identify systemic flaws in the administration of the death penalty and to make recommendations to correct them.

In addition to its recommendation on the use of lethal injections, the committee’s new report recommends changes such as ensuring adequate legal representation of defendants charged with capital crimes; prohibition of executions of people who have intellectual disabilities or who did not intentionally take the life of another; and …

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