Lethal injection

Every semester I have my public policy class write papers on potential policy reforms.  Among the most interesting (and educational for me) I have read was one on lethal injection.  It was pretty amazing to discover how little medical science actually went into the current 3-drug cocktail.  Basically one guy said, "hey, let's see if this works," seemed to work well enough, and everybody else just went along.  In fact, the best evidence suggests we euthanize our pets much more humanely.  Thus, it is encouraging to see some policy change here (hooray federalism) as Ohio has become the first state to use a presumably preferable single-drug method.  Slate's Daniel Engber has a nice article explaining the development of the current practice.  Now that Ohio seems to have figured things out, it will be interesting to see how quickly other states follow in line (prediction: Texas will be among the last to change its policy).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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