Justice Department amends execution protocols, allows U.S. government to use methods other than lethal injection

by Jenny Mount · Nov 27th, 2020 4:06 pm

Last Updated Nov 29th, 2020 at 11:47 am

The Justice Department is amending its execution protocols, which will allow the U.S. government to conduct executions by lethal injection or "any other manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence was imposed."

The amended rule, which takes effect December 24, clears the way to use methods other than lethal injection, such as firing squads and poison gas. Several states already allow other methods of execution, including electrocution, inhaling nitrogen gas, and death by firing squad.

It is unknown if the Justice Department will use any methods other than lethal injection for future executions. Five executions are currently scheduled to take place during the lame-duck period.

The Trump administration is currently trying to push through a number of rule changes. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Joe Biden said he "opposes the death penalty now and in the future" and would work to end its use.

Prior to the Trump administration resuming executions this year, the federal government had only put three inmates to death since 1988. The Justice Department has continued to approve death penalty prosecutions, and federal courts have continued sentencing defendants to death.

President Trump has been an outspoken proponent of capital punishment. He has said he believes that executions serve as an effective deterrent and an appropriate punishment for some crimes, which include mass shootings and the killing of police officers.


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