The Guardian

Oklahoma proposes nitrogen gas as method for execution

Execution+chamber+in+the+Oklahoma+State+Penitentiary.+Photo+Credit%3A+Sue+Ogrocki%2C+Associated+Press
Execution chamber in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Photo Credit: Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press

Execution chamber in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Photo Credit: Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press

Execution chamber in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Photo Credit: Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press

Sarah Cavender, News Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On Wednesday Mar. 14, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced plans to implement the use of nitrogen gas in executions of death row inmates within the state.

The decision comes after several years of controversy regarding the lethal injection method, which is considered by some to be inhumane. If the plan is approved by state and federal courts, then Oklahoma would become the first state to execute prisoners using the nitrogen gas method.

Oklahoma has also been unable to require the drugs needed for executions via lethal injection, according to a press release from the Oklahoma State Attorney General office.

Under most circumstances, nitrogen gas is not poison; however, breathing it in staves the body of oxygen. The chemical would be administered through a mask placed over the prisoner’s nose and mouth to flood the lungs with nitrogen, according to a report from The New York Times.

“Executions are the most profound application of state power,” Hunter said. “I believe in justice for victims and their families, and in capital punishment as appropriate for dealing with those whose commit these crimes. Using an inert gas will be effective, simple to administer, easy to obtain and requires no complex medical procedures.”

Oklahoma currently has 49 inmates on death row, according to The New York Times.

Ohio performs executions through lethal injection. There are currently 27 inmates on death row, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

In total, there are 31 states in the U.S. that have legal death penalties; lethal injection is the primary method of execution across the country.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
Wright State University
Oklahoma proposes nitrogen gas as method for execution