MONTGOMERY — Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), John Hamm, yesterday said that the protocol for execution by nitrogen is almost complete. Alabama has been in the process of developing the protocol for the execution method for several years.
Hamm was asked by the AP where ADOC is in the process of finalizing the protocol.
“We’re close. We’re close,” he stated.
The commissioner believes that proscribed protocol will be finished close to the end of 2023.
The next step after the protocol has been finalized will be the process of litigation over the new method of execution. This will have to take place before Alabama can use the nitrogen for capital punishment.
In 2018, Alabama lawmakers passed legislation that made nitrogen hypoxia a new, legal form of execution. Proponents of the legislation believed it was needed due to lethal injection drugs becoming more difficult to find. Critics of the form of execution believe that it hasn’t been tested and it is a dangerous experimentation.
The legislation gave prisoners on death row in the state a small amount of time to choose death by nitrogen, rather than lethal injection.
Several Alabama death row prisoners have now selected nitrogen hypoxia as their form of execution.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.