Electric chair, a humane form of execution? - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Electric chair, a humane form of execution?

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TYLER (KYTX) - The medication used in lethal injections is either running low, or has completely run out in different parts of the country. Just days ago Tennessee's governor announced that the state will begin using the electric chair if its supply runs out.

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey tackles the controversy..."How humane is death by electrocution?"

It's a scene often played out in movies, the condemned is taken to the electric chair and put to death.

"The thing about electric current, is it has to go across your heart to kill you. It can burn you at high voltages or high currents," said Tyler neurologist George Plotkin.

Since the late 20th century, the practice of execution by death has gone down. However, lethal injections is taking it's place.

"I'm against capital punishment, I don't' believe it works, it's not a deterrent to crime," said Randy Rietman.

"I think it's inhumane and I'm not for capital punishment," said Mandy Rietman.

Earlier this week, Tennessee's governor signed a bill allowing the electric chair to be used in the event that the drugs used in executions runs out.

Running out of the lethal drugs is something penal systems across the country is facing after the Danish manufacture cut off supply to the US last year.

"When you see that on the movie and they're tensing all up, is that in pain," asked CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey. Plotkin said,"No that's an electric response."

Plotkin has worked with quite a few people who've been injured by electric shock.

"What the electric current does, is it stops your heart from beating, that's how it kills you, it looks horrible, it is not."

He said instead of questioning the use of the electric chair, the debate should center around the need to have a death penalty. He said, that's a decision the government, not a doctor, will have to make.

Others may see it differently.

"Preserve life and let that be in God's hands," said Mrs. Rietman.

Earlier this month, a scheduled Texas execution was stayed, following a botched execution in Oklahoma. Texas officials say, the  Oklahoma incident didn't play a role in the decision.

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