The ‘Build’ for Nitrogen Gas Executions in Alabama is nearly complete.
Alabama is nearing completion on a “physical build” that will allow it to employ nitrogen hypoxia gas for executions.
In a lawsuit filed by a death row inmate requesting to have a spiritual adviser present at his execution, a federal judge ordered the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) to divulge details regarding the nitrogen hypoxia technique, according to The Montgomery Advertiser.
Although Alabama law allows for this procedure, it has never been used.
According to the newspaper, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a court filing on Tuesday that the ADOC is “nearing completion of the initial physical build for the nitrogen hypoxia system and related safety features.”
“After the construction is finished, a safety expert will visit the site to evaluate the system and look for any issues that need to be addressed.”
The ruling did not specify the method of execution, and it is unclear whether the state will utilize a gas chamber or a mask to administer the gas.
The ADOC claimed in a statement that the “nitrogen hypoxia execution protocol is still under development, and the physical building changes to the execution chamber are also in the works.”
“At this moment, we are only able to discuss that since those two elements are not yet finished and there are potential security concerns.” We’ve reached out to the department for more information.
Unless an inmate requests the electric chair, Alabama law mandates that executions be carried out by lethal injection. However, in recent years, botched executions, legal challenges, and difficulty obtaining lethal injection medications have caused some jurisdictions to consider alternative methods of execution, such as firing squads and poison gas.
In 2018, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Mississippi enacted legislation permitting the use of nitrogen hypoxia, with supporters suggesting that it was a more humanitarian manner of killing inmates.
However, the proposed use of the gas has been compared to human experimentation by Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, because no state has used it to carry out an execution or even devised a protocol for its use.
Dunham told the Advertiser, “We just have no notion whether it’ll operate the way its proponents think it will.” This is a brief summary.