Electric Chair May Return to SC After 10-Year-Hiatus

SC is pushing the return of the execution method for death row inmates

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Eugenio Guardascione, Contributor

South Carolina is dusting off the electric chair once again, after a decade of not putting inmates to death.

A house of committee voted 7-14 on February 23 to make electrocution the default method of execution (Fox). The bill is now on the house floor while a similar bill remains on the senate floor.

As of now, inmates have the choice as to how they will be sentenced to death, either via lethal injection (which is the default method) or by electrocution. Since the state doesn’t have the drugs necessary for the injection, South Carolina is under a “de facto moratorium on the death penalty” (Fox).

The last time someone was put to death in South Carolina was nearly 10 years ago, and the states supply of lethal injection drugs has long since expired, ever since 2013, according to the Death Penalty information center (Newsweek). During the decade before that, the state had executed 17 individuals (Fox).

Inmates are now reaching the end of their appeals, but prison officials have stated that they are being postponed. Governor Henry McMaster has asked lawmakers to find a way to restart the death penalty in his state of the state speech last month (Fox). 

South Carolina lawmakers have tried and failed many times in bringing back executions over the past few years. There have been bills that shielded the names and information on companies that provide lethal injection drugs from the public and bills supporting other methods of execution such as the previously mentioned electrocution and even a firing squad (Fox).

Prosecutors have also halted with death sentences, as only three new inmates have ended up on death row in the past decade.

South Carolinas push to bring back the electric chair however, sparks conflict with Virgina, who recently passed a bill to abolish the death penalty (NewsWeek).