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The United States Execution Drug Shortage: A Consequence of Our Values

Capital Punishment
Ty Alper


The fourth decade in the modern history of the U.S. death penalty, which began when the Supreme Court reinstated the practice in 1976, will be remembered for the role that challenges to lethal injection played in slowing, and even halting altogether, the administration of capital punishment in a number of states. Persistent legal challenges by attorneys for condemned prisoners have brought to light the flawed administration of execution protocols—protocols which, in some instances, were flawed themselves—leading courts to scrutinize, more extensively than ever before, states’ plans for conducting executions. The focus on lethal injection executions has in turn shined a spotlight on the manufacturers of the drugs that are used to put prisoners to death.