The VICE Guide to Right Now

Oklahoma Will Not Execute Another Prisoner This Year

The state will hold off on capital punishment pending an investigation into the use of lethal-injection drugs.

by River Donaghey
Oct 16 2015, 8:30pm

Oklahoma state capitol photo via Flickr user Steve

Read: Maybe It's Time To Stop Letting States Experiment with Secret Death Drugs

Oklahoma will hold off on executions at least until 2016 as the state attorney general's office investigates the use of incorrect lethal injection drugs, the Associated Press reports.

The inquiry was launched after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections received potassium acetate for the execution of Richard Gossip in September, instead of potassium chloride—one of the drugs approved to be part of a lethal, three-drug cocktail. Oklahoma's governor called off Gossip's execution right before it was to take place upon learning about the mix-up.

An autopsy showed Oklahoma made that same mistake during the execution of death-row inmate Charles Warner last January. According to the AP, vials containing potassium acetate were used to fill syringes labeled potassium chloride—which is, well, pretty damn disturbing.

The state attorney general will not request another date of execution until at least 150 days after the investigation is resolved and the findings made public, according to court papers filed Friday. Until then, capital punishment is off the table.

In more vaguely encouraging death penalty news, Virginia has decided to relax the rules for death-row inmates when it comes to family visitations and socializing. They will now have access to a recreation room with TV and games to play with other inmates, and will be able to have physical contact with their loved ones.

Inmates were previously only able to visit with family through a sheet of glass.