Alabama leaders weigh in on order to halt executions for protocol review

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:03 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - When Gov. Kay Ivey ordered a halt on executions in Alabama, she said it was “for the sake of victims and their families.” State leaders across the aisle agree with the decision the order to halt and review the execution process.

“Making sure you’re in compliance with the Eighth Amendment, the Constitution, that you’re not going through a cruel and unusual punishment,” said Cam Ward, director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.

“I think it’s commendable, but at the same time it begs the question ‘does the state really need to continue executing people?’” said Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa.

And there are other questions, such as what that review process will look like, how long it will take, and why the Alabama Department of Corrections will conduct the review while under federal investigation itself over the condition of its prisons.

The official response from the Alabama Department of Corrections is that there are no details available on how or when.

“I think you can’t put arbitrary deadlines or arbitrary time frames on making sure that you have perfect and adequate public safety, so I think she did it the right way,” said Ward.

England agrees the process shouldn’t be rushed but is skeptical of the morality.

“What’s the best way, most effective, efficient way to kill somebody? In the name of justice? That’s deep,” he said.

Ward says the law is the law.

“I think the law is what it is on the books right now,” said Ward. “And therefore you got to make sure you implement it in a way that’s it’s fair to promote public safety.”

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union support an independent investigation, and the Equal Justice Initiative released a statement saying inpart, “It will mean thoroughly examining their own protocols and procedures and being less secretive and dismissive of the great responsibility they have if they are going to engage in lethal punishment.”

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