Arkansas is set to execute eight death penalty inmates in the space of 10 days in an effort to use their execution drug supplies before they expire.
Thanks to a shortage of the drugs and cocktails required to carry out lethal injections in death penalty states across the nation, Arkansas and other states are being forced to hold onto their death penalty inmates until the proper drugs can be obtained.
As a result, Arkansas is set to execute eight death row inmates in just ten days after receiving a 100-vial supply of potassium chloride, one of the three required drugs needed for lethal injection in the state.
The eight inmates will be executed in April, shortly before another of the drugs, midazolam, expires at the end of the month.
The executions are the first to be carried out by the state since 2005, but it appears that Governor Asa hutchinson was determined to make use of the execution drugs the state has on hand.
The third drug needed for executions in the state will expire March of 2018.
Many have objected to Arkansas’ laws regarding the death penalty, especially the portion of the law that allows the state to keep the identity of its drug suppliers hidden. As we have seen in other states, Arkansas’ newly-acquired potassium chloride may very well have been imported from another country and may be wholly unsuitable for use in an execution cocktail.
As other states face shortages of these execution drugs, the possibility of states going outside reputable dealers increases. Arkansas is hoping to avoid further questions by killing eight of its inmates in quick succession.