The state of Arkansas plans to carry out seven executions over 11 days amid pressure to use up their lethal injection drugs before they expire.
The number of executions in a short period of time is unprecedented for the state, which has not carried out executions in 12 years, the Washington Post reported.
But the scheduling of these executions so close together has caused unease for Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), lawsuits from the condemned inmates, and complaints from corrections officers who say the schedule will take a toll on them.
Capital punishment advocates in the state argue that delaying the executions denies justice to the families of the victims, while civil liberties advocates say that rushing to execute the condemned inmates is a form of “torture and injustice”— not just for the inmates, but for the corrections officers who have to deal with up to two executions per day.
Hutchinson said he is caught in a difficult situation having to not only schedule the executions, but do so before the state’s supply of the sedative midazolam runs out.
“It’s not my choice,” Hutchinson said at a news conference. “I would love to have those extended over a period of multiple months and years, but that’s not the circumstances that I find myself in.”
Officials say the state’s supply of midazolam will expire by the end of April.
“It is uncertain as to whether another drug can be obtained, and the families of the victims do not need to live with continued uncertainty after decades of review,” Hutchinson said in a statement.