Pursuit of ‘non-stop executions’ causing psychological distress to corrections staff as states urged to widen gap between executions

The relentless pursuit of “non-stop executions” by a rump of US death penalty states is exposing prison staff to extreme levels of psychological and physical stress, according to traumatized corrections officers who are appealing for help.

Though capital punishment is generally on the wane in America, with only five states carrying out executions last year, those states that remain active are showing a renewed determination. In some states, the pace of judicial killings is now so intense that prison guards are kept in an almost permanent state of readiness, with mock executions staged on a rolling basis.

In Oklahoma, officers at the state penitentiary in McAlester, which houses the death chamber, are so stretched by the schedule of 25 executions set in 2022 by the Republican-controlled state that the state’s own attorney general and the head of the prison service have appealed to the courts for a more staggered approach. They have requested that the gap between executions be widened from 60 to 90 days, so far to no avail.

The unprecedented move to try to cool the pace of executions followed a joint letter to the state’s attorney general, Gentner Drummond, from nine former senior corrections officials. They warned that staff were being subjected to “lasting trauma” and a “psychological toll” that included post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse and distress due to the “non-stop executions”.

  • Riskable
    392 months ago

    Any day now a Republican will propose they solve this “bureaucratic inefficiency” by switching to ovens.

    • Flying Squid
      102 months ago

      I’d say don’t give them ideas, but I’m guessing that they’ve already had this idea and are prepping it.