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South Carolina inmates can now choose death by firing squad

The Department of Corrections in South Carolina announced on Friday that the state’s inmates who are eligible for execution could possibly face execution by firing squad if they so desire.

The state noted that it has spent $53,600 in renovations made to the Capital Punishment Facility at Broad River Correctional Institution to prepare for such executions as required by a law that was passed last year.

A statement from the Department of Corrections indicated that “protocols have been written, and the department is ready to carry out an order of execution by firing squad if the inmate chooses this method.” Still, death by firing squad remains an extremely rare method.

Currently, only Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah offer firing squad as an option to death row inmates, and since 1976, only three people have been executed through that method. 

Last year, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill which requires death row inmates to select the manner of their execution: either by firing squad or electric chair if the drugs to carry out a lethal injection are not available.

Lethal injection is still the primary, and preferred, method of execution in the states that allow the death penalty, but in more recent years, state officials have had trouble securing the drugs to carry out the execution.

This means some states have been pushed that still execute death row inmates into offering alternatives like lethal gas, electrocution, hanging, and firing squad. Still, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, executions across the country are at historic lows.

The South Carolina Supreme Court suspended previously scheduled executions because firing squad had not been an option for those inmates to select. With the changes made, those executions are likely to resume, barring other legal challenges.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE SUN

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