The federal government will resume capital punishment after a nearly two-decade freeze and has already moved to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates. Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Thursday to adopt an addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol, which would clear the way to carry out the executions. “Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” Barr said in a press release. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”
All five of the inmates scheduled for execution are convicted murderers, and some were also convicted of rape and torture. The addendum removes the three-drug procedure previously used in executions and replaces it with a single drug, pentobarbital, which has been used by 14 states in executions since 2010.