Twenty-three former correction officials have written Gov. Asa Hutchinson urging him to reconsider his order to kill eight Death Row inmates over 10 days in April.

They include state and federal officials from 16 states. They cite their own experiences in talking of the “psychological challenges” and the “severe toll” on the wellbeing of those who participate in the executions.

The letter notes the botched double execution recently in Oklahoma, which also used the anesthetic midazolam, whose short supply prompted Hutchinson to speed the execution schedule.

From the letter:


“[A]fter the 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, during which the medical team struggled to insert an IV (which eventually became dislodged, causing officials to halt the procedure before all the drugs had been administered), the state Department of Public Safety found that having two executions scheduled for the same night contributed to increased stress on staff—even in a state that had already carried out several executions that same year. The Department subsequently recommended scheduling no more than one execution per seven-day period. “

The former corrections officials state: “A state’s interest in justice and finality are not served by a botched execution.” 

Signatories include several former officials from Texas, a prolific executioner.

To date, Hutchinson has indicated no inclination to retreat from the assembly line executions.