Capital punishment in Utah – level 3

17-03-2015 15:00

Lawmakers in Utah have voted to bring back executions by firing squad if lethal injections are not readily available.The news comes as a number of US states struggle to obtain lethal injection drugs amid a nationwide shortage and concerns over their effectiveness.

European manufacturers have refused to sell the concoctions to US prisons and corrections departments over opposition to the death penalty. Many states have been led to consider alternative methods as supplies dwindle.

Texas is said to have only enough drugs on hand to perform two more executions while the head of Utah’s prison system has said the state does not currently have any. Supporters of the legislation say three states – Oklahoma, Ohio and Arizona – recently carried out lethal injections that led to inmates’ physical distress and drawn-out deaths. They claim death by firing squad is more humane.

Opponents, however, say it’s a cruel holdover from the state’s Wild West days and will earn it international condemnation. If approved by Governor Gary Herbert, the move would make Utah the only state in the country to permit the practice. It used firing squads for decades before adopting lethal injections in 2004.

Difficult words: execution (when somebody is killed as a punishment), firing squad (soldiers who shoot prisoners to kill them), lethal (deadly), readily (quickly and easily), struggle (to have problems with doing something), obtain (to get), shortage (when there’s not enough of something), concoction (a mixture of something), dwindle (to become less and less), drawn-out (too long), claim (to say), holdover (something from the past), condemnation (strong disagreement).



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