Tennessee is ready to resume executions under new rules released yesterday, using a three-drug lethal injection method opponents say is still inhumane and unconstitutional, The Tennessean reports. Philip Workman, convicted of killing a Memphis police officer, is scheduled to die May 9. “It’s essentially the same protocol as before, with a little window dressing,” said Nashville attorney Brad MacLean. Last week a medical review of dozens of executions found that the drugs used to execute prisoners in the U.S. sometimes fail to work as intended, causing inmates to die painful deaths in which the condemned suffocate and feel pain but are unable to say they are suffering.
A state official said, “The decision was based on this type of protocol being a proven method of execution. Tennessee and 29 other jurisdictions have used this general method. It has been found to be humane when properly administered.” The Associated Press found that Tennessee’s previous manual for executing prisoners mixed injection instructions with those used for the electric chair. The new procedures probably will be challenged in court before Workman can be put to death. Critics said Department of Correction officials wouldn’t tell people how they were revising the written instructions, drawing criticism that the process was “done in the dark.”