Last week, we got the news of yet another botched execution, this time in the state of Arizona. After being given an experimental combination of lethal drugs from an unknown source, Joseph Woods took nearly two hours to die, snorting and gasping for air 660 times. This comes not long after the botched execution of Oklahoma prisoner Clayton Lockett, who writhed in pain for 45 minutes before dying of a heart attack.

Due to a 2011 European Union export ban, U.S prisons are facing growing shortages of the drugs used in lethal injections.  Thus, many state are carrying out medical experimentation on our prisoners - giving them unknown drugs in untested doses with disastrous consequences. Just as methods of execution such as the electric chair, gas chambers and firing squads have been deemed barbaric and discontinued, it is time now for us to also put an end to this government experimentation with human life.

Moreover, it is time for us to abolish the use of capital punishment. State sponsored killings inherently violate our constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and have no place in a country purporting to protect democratic values and respect human rights.

The death penalty is not only uncivilized in theory, but also unfair and inequitable in practice, ineffective and wrought with human error.  People of color, people with mental illness and the poor are disproportionately represented on death row.  Research has shown again and again that capital punishment is not a effective deterrent to violent crime; in fact, according to the FBI, death penalty states actually have the highest murder rates. Most horrendously, innocent people are too often sentenced to death: nationally, one out of every 10 people sentenced to die is later exonerated.  

Joseph Wood’s horrifically botched execution last week was a torturous and shameful 8th Amendment violation. Join us in calling on our government to stop this horrendous experimentation with human life and to end the use of the death penalty.

To take action please click here to sign our petition for a nationwide suspension of all executions.