Death Row Inmates in South Carolina Can Die Now By Firing Squad If They Want

Death row inmates in South Carolina can choose to die by firing squad execution if they choose. This was contained in a release signed by the South Carolina Department of Corrections and sent to Attorney General Alan Wilson. A total of $53,600 has been spent to modify the chamber at Broad River Correctional Institution, where the executions will take place.

According to the release, an inmate who chooses to be executed by firing squad will have a hood placed over his head and strapped to a chair. He will be allowed to make a final statement. Three firing squad members will aim their rifles at his heart from an adjoining section and shoot. Witnesses to the execution will not see the firing squad members from their section, which is divided by thick glass.

Only volunteers from the Department of Corrections will be permitted to be members of the firing squad – and they must meet stringent conditions.

Death by the electric chair was the major means of official executions in South Carolina for several years. In May 2021, Gov. Henry McMaster signed a law that stipulated that the electric chair is the major means of execution but lethal injection or firing squad remains an option where possible.

Most states in the United States use lethal injections for executions. But the rarity of the required drugs for the injections and the problems associated with administering them have made various states pause executions. Executing death row inmates had been suspended in South Carolina since 2011 when the lethal injection was last used.

The Department of Corrections said 35 men on death row are currently awaiting execution in South Carolina.