(The Center Square) — The South Carolina Department of Corrections could soon carry out executions by lethal injection after Gov. Henry McMaster signed a “shield statute” into law and the state has procured the drug needed.
S.120, which McMaster, a Republican, signed in May, prohibits disclosing information about companies or people involved with planning or administering a death sentence. It also exempts the acquisition of drugs, medical supplies and equipment for the death penalty from some state procurement and licensing requirements.
“In light of the protections provided by the shield statute and after making more than 1,300 contacts over the past four months in search of lethal injection drugs, SCDC has now obtained the drugs necessary for carrying out executions by lethal injection,” the agency said in a filing to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
State lawmakers have authorized three methods of execution — lethal injection, electrocution and the firing squad. Under the agency’s new protocol, it would use a single dose of pentobarbital for lethal injections.
“This protocol is essentially identical to the protocol used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and at least six other States,” the agency said in its filing. “On top of this experience in other jurisdictions, the U.S. Supreme Court has observed that it ‘is widely conceded’ that pentobarbital is ‘able to render a person fully insensate and does not carry the risks of pain that some have associated with other lethal injection protocols.'”
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the Palmetto State has carried out 43 executions since 1976 and currently has 37 people on death row. The state’s last execution was in 2011.
In a statement, McMaster said justice “has been delayed for too long in South Carolina.”