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Lethal Injections accomplished with The Shield Statute

Electric Chair with firing squad and lethal injection as options


South Carolina Now Prepared to Carry Out Death Penalty by Lethal Injection

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster and the S.C. Department of Corrections informed the S.C. Supreme Court today that the department is now prepared to carry out executions by lethal injection.

"Justice has been delayed for too long in South Carolina," said Governor Henry McMaster. "This filing brings our state one step closer to being able to once again carry out the rule of law and bring grieving families and loved ones the closure they are rightfully owed.”

Since taking office in 2017, Gov. McMaster has been calling on the General Assembly to pass a Shield Statute, echoing points S.C. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling has made throughout his tenure at SCDC.

The S.C. General Assembly passed legislation this year to enact the Shield Statute, which protects, among other things, the identity of individuals or entities involved in the planning or execution of a death sentence. After Gov. Henry McMaster signed the Shield Statute into law on May 12, the department continued its previous efforts to secure the drugs with the new shield provision.

In doing so, SCDC made more than 1,300 contacts in search of lethal injection drugs. Those inquiries included drug manufacturers, suppliers, compounding pharmacies, and other potential sources.

As a result of those efforts and the Shield Statute, SCDC was able to secure pentobarbital for carrying out an execution by lethal injection under a one-drug protocol.

The department’s lethal injection policy has been revised to provide for the use of a one-drug protocol. The new protocol is essentially identical to protocols used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and at least six other states. Courts have upheld the use of this drug against constitutional challenges.

South Carolina law specifies the electric chair as the default method of execution while giving inmates the option of choosing death by firing squad or lethal injection if those methods are available. All three methods outlined in law are now available to carry out a death sentence.


The Shield Statute, WHY? here.


South Carolinians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Speaks Out Against Imminent Threat of Executions

Today, Governor Henry McMaster’s Office sent out a press release saying the SC Department of Corrections (SCDC) is now prepared to resume executions once again by lethal injection

A Statement from Executive Director Hillary Taylor:

“SCADP is deeply disturbed that South Carolina is on the precipice of restarting executions. We maintain that the death penalty is not ‘justice,’ as Governor McMaster proclaims. It is an outdated system of punishment that our economy is opting out of, as shown by the fact that SCDC made more that 1300 contacts in search of lethal injection drugs. If our market wanted executions to take place, SCDC would have secured the drugs instantly. Instead, multinational, FDA-affiliated pharmaceutical companies actively speak out against the practice of lethal injection. Investing in the death penalty will only harm future economic prospects in South Carolina, not help them. Our government officials should be mindful of this, lest they gain a reputation of ‘going behind companies backs.’ 

“Of all the execution methods, lethal injection has the highest rate of “botched” executions. And under South Carolian’s new secrecy law, it is unlikely that our court or Legislature will be able to adequately investigate or demand accountability for botched executions. Even so, regardless of the execution method, the death penalty does nothing to deter, prevent, or address the problem of violence in South Carolina. Killing the state’s 36 condemned people who are already behind bars does nothing to make us safer. Instead, it perpetuates the trauma of violence. Resuming executions will only create more injury for victim families, corrections officers, and those whose loved ones are sentenced to death by SCDC.

“SCADP remains committed to opposing premeditated, state-sponsored murder in South Carolina. The death penalty will continue to disproportionately affect individuals who are impoverished, have Black and Brown skin, receive inadequate legal representation, and suffer from persistent mental health issues. Our message remains consistent: if the state of South Carolina wants to create true community safety and healing, our limited taxpayer dollars would be better spent on effective violence prevention programs, including child abuse prevention, mental health care, treatment for substance use, and community violence interruptors.”


South Carolinians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (SCADP) is a state-wide non-profit organization working to abolish the death penalty and catalyze criminal justice reform in South Carolina.