Black Prisoners Face Higher Rate of Botched Executions, Study Finds


Black Prisoners Face Higher Rate of Botched Executions, Study Finds

**Black Prisoners** face a higher rate of botched executions, according to a new study released by an anti-death-penalty group. The report suggests that the lethal injections of Black people have been botched more than twice as often as those of white prisoners.

Quick Facts

  • Clayton Lockett’s botched execution in Oklahoma in 2014 led to an overhaul of the state’s execution protocols and a temporary halt in carrying out the death penalty.
  • Racial disparities in the U.S. judicial system’s administration of the death penalty have been well-documented, with a higher proportion of Black people on death rows compared to their share of the population.
  • The report concludes that 37 out of 465 executions of Black people were botched, compared to 28 out of 780 of white people, making the botched rate for Black prisoners more than twice as likely as for white prisoners.

As Clayton Lockett lay on an execution table in Oklahoma in 2014 awaiting his death, medical officials struggled to gain access to a vein to administer a lethal injection. The execution was called off, but most of the drugs had already been injected, leading to Mr. Lockett’s death on the table about 20 minutes later.

The new report, released by Reprieve, a human rights group opposing the death penalty, adds to previous research on racial disparities in the U.S. judicial system. It found that the likelihood of a botched lethal injection is also higher for Black people on death row.

The report’s authors and other experts encourage further research to understand the reasons behind the racial disparity in botched executions, as well as the lack of transparency in capital punishment that hinders attempts to address the issues.