The Washington Post has published
THE DECLINING EXECUTION RATE
a death penalty analysis by authors of a book on the death penalty that notes, among others, the recent decline in executions nationally, a rising national sentiment against the death penalty (not in Arkansas) and the number of incidents of botched executions by lethal injection, the method used in Arkansas.
The execution pace — seven over a 10-day time window between 7 p.m. April 17 and 7 p.m. April 27 — is a rate unseen since 1976, before lethal injection became widely used. The authors suggest the rate contributes to the possibility of mistakes. With that, though, comes a gruesome potential benefit:
Each botched case of lethal injection has been seen by the court to be an isolated incident. Experts, including former prison wardens and executioners, have written a letter of concern about the “assembly line” plan, which they argue makes mistakes more likely, given the stress and trauma that executions impose on corrections staff.
Arkansas has not carried out an execution in 12 years. If one of the upcoming seven goes awry, we may come to the end of the lethal injection cycle.