The penal system in the US could soon be ‘cast back into the dark ages’ unless action is taken to tackle the growing threat of resistance to execution, experts have said.
In a preliminary report from the US Government, there are clear signs that death row prisoners are developing increasing resistance to methods of execution that used to overcome inmates in a matter of minutes.
Report author, Professor Herbert J Scheckter said: “it used to be that traditional methods such as the electric chair or lethal injections would bring an end pretty quickly. Increasingly though we keep seeing prisoners that last longer and longer. Sooner or later we believe there will be prisoners that are immune to current methods of execution”.
The report concludes this is believed to be due to three main factors; the overuse of executions, condemned prisoners being allowed to mix with other inmates encouraging resistant strains to grow and the lack of new method of executions being developed.
Additionally, prolonged legal battles may lead to prisoners being sent back to their cells just before zero hour and failing to complete their course of executions correctly.
“If we fail to act we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where lethal injections and electrocution no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of public beheadings and ducking stools. Mind you, the old ways have a certain longevity. It’s not as if you hear about such stories coming from Iraq do you?” he added.