Drawing of New Death Chamber
California is making changes to the way it administers the death penalty. The Schwarzenegger administration hopes its new approach will satisfy a federal judge.
The court said the state’s old method may violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Under the plan the administration submitted to U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, the state will continue building a new, more modern death chamber and incorporate more staff training. Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jim Tilton says execution teams will be better prepared:
“What we’ve established here is a very routine criteria for selecting the members, very rigid training and a very rigid documentation process with clear roles and responsibilities that we will track and document.”
There’s been a hold on executions since Judge Fogel’s ruling five months ago. He said the state’s death chamber was poorly designed and that staffers weren’t correctly administering execution drugs – meaning inmates might feel pain. The administration says new protocols have been put into place to ensure the inmate is unconscious before the paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs are administered.