How do you get on death row

Ohio has carried out 53 death sentences since 1976, the last in 2014. After that, the state suspended all scheduled executions because of lethal injection problems during the execution and an unusually long time for the convict to die. Currently, almost 3,000 people are still waiting to be executed in American prisons; the average waiting time on the so-called Death Row is 16 years.

This is also because the execution techniques are controversial and the states are running out of poison for lethal injection. The EU imposed an export ban in 2011. The US pharmaceutical company Pfizer recently announced that it would ensure that none of its products were used in executions. According to the British human rights organization Reprieve, all manufacturers whose agents are approved as a lethal substance by the US Federal Drug Administration are blocking sales for this purpose.

31 US states still allow executions, around half of which are actually still carrying them out. Since the pharmaceutical industry stopped selling, the authorities have postponed more and more executions because the substances were missing. Some states are testing alternative remedies that didn't work as quickly or resulted in symptoms such as feeling like you were burning alive.

Poison from questionable or illegal distribution channels

Oklahoma used a poison made by the Pfizer subsidiary to euthanize animals. In 2014, convicted murderer Clayton Lockett fought 43 minutes after the injection until he died of a heart attack. Afterwards there were violent protests by human rights groups. Authorities later said the needle was not properly inserted into Lockett's vein.

Almost all states are now keeping a secret how they got their poison. Does it come from abroad, from an illegal pharmacy or is it years old and the best before date has expired? Some states use legally questionable or clearly illegal distribution channels. Texas, for example, has secret pharmacies that can bypass drug approval and sell their substances to other states. In 2011, the FDA seized poison reserves from the state of Georgia, which bought the substance from a London pharmacy that ran its business in the office of a driving school.

A majority of Americans are still in favor of the death penalty. But it is probably also due to stories like that of Romell Broom that this majority is getting smaller and smaller.