Executioners doing their jobs should be kept safe

Published 12:00 pm Friday, March 4, 2016

This week the Mississippi Senate approved a measure that is intended to protect the safety of individuals responsible for carrying out executions.

Senate Bill 2237 protects the identities of the state executioner and members of the execution team, and would also keep confidential the names of the local supplier or suppliers of lethal injection drugs located in the state of Mississippi. The bill was drafted by the Attorney General’s Office, and it is part of the Attorney General’s legislative agenda.

We agree with Attorney General Jim Hood — those responsible for carrying out executions should have the right to remain anonymous due to safety.

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“We’ve had honest, hard-working Mississippi residents who have refused to work on the execution team because of fear for the safety of their families and concerns about retaliation inside and outside the prison,” Hood said. “As long as we have the death penalty in Mississippi, we have a responsibility to protect the state employees who assist in carrying out executions. The businesses that agree to supply lethal injection drugs must also be free from the intimidation and strong-arm tactics of some anti-death penalty activists.”

In this case, the potential risk of harm to those who are merely doing their jobs outweighs the public’s right to know. We hope the bill is released from the Senate, where it is being held on a motion to reconsider.