Between January and June 2011, there have been 25 executions in nine states. Of the 25 executions, only eight were carried out using the drug sodium thiopental, while the rest involved a new drug, pentobarbital. Earlier in 2011, Hospira Inc., the sole U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental, announced that it will no longer manufacture the drug, forcing states to search for alternative sources or alternative drugs for their lethal injection protocols. Many states, inlcuding Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina, have used pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental in their executions in 2011. Ohio is the only one of those seven states to use pentobarbital as the sole drug in its lethal-injection process. Additionally, at least five states (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina) that acquired sodium thiopental through an overseas source have had the drug seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In the first half of 2011, there have been 18 death cases in which a clemency was granted, commuting the defendant’s sentence to life without parole. Fifteen of such pardons were in Illinois, where Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that repealed the state’s death penalty statute. Illinois’ death penalty repeal bill, which was signed on March 9, goes into effect today.
For more information about changes in states’ lethal injection procedures, visit our page on Lethal Injection. For a state-by-state listing of which drugs are being used, and where states obtained lethal injection drugs, see our State-by-state lethal injection page. You can also visit our 2011 Execution List for information on the kind of lethal injection used in each of this year’s executions. See also Executions and Clemencies.
(DPIC Posted, July 1, 2011).