TN Reinstates Electric Chair, Wouldn’t Let Inmates Decide


Tennessee has decided to bring back the electric chair, reports the Associated Press. Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill allowing the state to electrocute death row inmates in the event the state is unable to obtain drugs used for lethal injections. Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, said Tennessee is the first state to enact a law to reintroduce the electric chair without giving prisoners an option.

Dieter expects legal challenges to arise if the state decides to go through with an electrocution, both in terms of whether the state could prove that lethal injection drugs were not obtainable and on the grounds of constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. States have found themselves running out of drugs used to execute prisoners after a European-led boycott drug sales to prisons. A Vanderbilt University poll released this week found that 56 percent of registered voters in Tennessee support the use of the electric chair, while 37 percent are against it.

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