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TN Law Reinstates the Electric Chair

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TN Law Reinstates the Electric Chair

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects its citizens from cruel and unusual punishments.  Capital punishment has been carried out in the past by hanging, firing squad, and more recently, the electric chair and lethal injection.  The majority of states either repealed the laws allowing hanging/firing squad/ electric chair or do not use them.  On May 22, 2014, Tennessee lawmakers signed a bill which brings back the electric chair, where lethal injection isn't available.  This is in response to two factors.  First, problems have occurred when trying to carry out the capital punishment of lethal injection, where inmates haven't died, have experienced much pain, or needed more of the drugs to kill them, prolonging their death.  Second, lethal injection drugs have become scarce due to a European boycott.  Opponents have also called the lethal drugs problematic, due to the lack of quality control of the drugs.  Ignoring the first question of whether or not the death penalty should exist and/or should be enforced, the question is: Is the electric chair humane enough (ie: not cruel and unusual) that is should be used in the event that lethal injection is unavailable? Is this any more or less humane than firing squad, hanging, or even in France, beheadings?  Based upon the amount of problems with the electric chair: people not dying, extreme pain, and the horror of being electrocuted, Tennessee should consider changing the law to allowed firing squads, as well.  If inmates are sentenced to die, it is least inhumane to allow them the choice as to the methodology, and to decide as to which they believe is least cruel and unusual for them.

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