INMATES on death row in South Carolina are now obliged to choose between the electric chair or firing squad as a form of execution, according to a new law.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill into law on Friday in a bid to allow the state to resume executions again.
This comes after an involuntarily halt that lasted 10 years due to the lack of lethal injection drugs, the Associated Press reported.
“The families and loved ones of victims are owed closure and justice by law. Now, we can provide it,” McMaster said on Twitter.
South Carolina’s last execution was in 2011 and the last batch of lethal injections that the state had expired in 2013.
Durg companies refused to sell lethal injection drugs to states at the time, according to the Associated Press.
Prisons are still required to use lethal injection as the primary method of execution but can resort to the firing squad or electric chair if prison officials don’t have the drugs.
Dates of when executions can restart have been unannounced, but the electric chair is ready to use and research is underway on how firing squads can carry out executions.
Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah also use firing squads to implement execution orders, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
South Carolina is one of eight states that can still use electric chairs to carry out executions, according to the center.
The decision to use firing squads as an additional method to execute inmates on death row has been criticized by rights groups.
“These are execution methods that previously were replaced by lethal injection, which is considered more humane, and it makes South Carolina the only state going back to the less humane execution methods,” Lindsey Vann of Justice 360 told the Associated Press.
Justice 360 is a nonprofit that represents many inmates on death row in South Carolina.
But some supporters of the law said that the death penalty remains legal in South Carolina and that families of the victims have the right to know that the state will punish perpetrators.
South Carolina carried out around three executions per year between 1996 and 2009.
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