"Oklahoma prisons director: Agency to get new equipment for executions, tool to find vein," is the AP report filed by Tim Talley, via the Republic.
Oklahoma is renovating its death chamber and buying new equipment for executions, including a tool to allow staff to more easily find suitable veins for lethal injections after a troubled execution in April, the director of the state Department of Corrections said Monday.
Director Robert Patton said state prison officials began reviewing Oklahoma's execution guidelines immediately after the April 29 execution of Clayton Lockett, who writhed and moaned before he was declared dead 43 minutes after his execution began. He said the agency intends to have new guidelines and equipment in place in time for the state's next scheduled execution on Nov. 13.
"We are working very hard to get the protocol done," Patton said.
"It is our intention to adopt all of the recommendations from the report that are within our authority," Patton said. A recommendation that Oklahoma hold executions at least seven days apart cannot be adopted by the agency because it's up to the courts to set execution dates, he said.
Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has said she wants the new guidelines implemented before the state conducts another execution. Patton said he will inform Fallin if new procedures aren't in place or training isn't done before the next scheduled execution, on Nov. 13.
Dale Baich, an attorney who represents a group of Oklahoma death row prisoners, issued this statement in response to the Department of Corrections press conference:
"The execution of Mr. Lockett represented multiple foundational failures of leadership, at varying levels, including the systematic lack of transparency which has marked this execution since before it began. Any changes to the protocol will need to be carefully studied to determine if the many problems identified by the DPS review are appropriately addressed. Additionally, the larger issue of how so many things could go wrong at once must be addressed. Any changes to the current protocol should be part of the review by the federal court in the
Madeline Cohen, an attorney for Charles Warner, who has a November 13, 2014 execution date, issued this response:
“Clayton Lockett's botched execution took place in a rushed atmosphere, as DOC repeatedly changed its protocol in the weeks and days leading up to the execution. According to Director Patton, DOC intends to once again undertake extensive changes to its execution procedures under pressure to carry out a scheduled execution just two months from now. If Oklahoma is serious about ensuring that executions meet constitutional requirements, then it should obtain an additional stay of Charles Warner's execution, as well as all scheduled executions, until all necessary protocol changes, infrastructure modifications, and staff retraining have been developed, implemented, and subjected to independent scrutiny.”
The Tulsa World reports, "Director says DOC intends to be ready for next scheduled execution." It's by Cary Aspinwall and Ziva Branstetter.
Oklahoma's prison system plans to be ready for three upcoming executions, with an overhaul of the state's protocol and a "major reconstruction" of the death chamber.
Monday's news conference marked the first time Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton has publicly addressed what went wrong since April 29, the night Clayton Lockett's execution went awry at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
"It is the intention of the agency to be ready come Nov. 13," Patton said. That is the date Gov. Mary Fallin chose for the rescheduled execution of convicted killer Charles Warner, who was supposed to die immediately after Lockett.
If DOC's staff needs additional time, a stay of upcoming executions may be requested, he said.
"Oklahoma Corrections Department director says execution protocol will be revised," is by Graham Lee Brewer for the Oklahoman.
The director of the state Corrections Department said Monday he would not call the controversial April 29 execution of murderer Clayton Lockett “botched.”
“I would describe it as concerning,” Corrections Director Robert Patton said. “I would describe it as a need for revision, for review.”
Patton spoke Monday at a news conference to announce Corrections Department plans following the release of an investigative report calling for change to the state’s execution protocol.
The Guardian posts, "Oklahoma to upgrade equipment in time for November executions," by Katie Fretland.
“We are working hundreds of hours since that execution on rewriting this protocol,” Patton said. “We’ve reached out to several states around us … We’ve tried to take best practices from all the states that will talk to us … And I’m very confident moving forward in the process of executing inmates in the state of Oklahoma”.
Patton said the upgrades to the execution chamber will include new communications technology to allow staff to talk with one another, as well as updated medical equipment. He said he plans to be personally inside the execution chamber with “eyes on” future executions.
The department is also planning construction on the execution chamber including lighting, he said.
"OSP death chamber scheduled for remodeling," is by Janelle Stecklein of the CNHI Capitol Bureau, via the McAlester News-Capital.
The changes being made will make executions more “efficient” and “modernize” the chamber, said Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton during a press conference.
"It needed a new coat of paint. It needed some work on the floor. It needed some new equipment. It needed more room back there in the back. Better communication," said Patton, who noted that he wouldn't call the room "outdated or archaic."
In addition, Patton said he will insist on personally being in the death chamber whenever he is available. During Lockett's execution on April 29, Patton sat in the witness viewing area, which he said complicated communication between prison staff in the chamber and the state’s legal representatives off site.
For future executions, phones that were previously located outside the death chamber will be moved into the back of the room where Patton will be. That will allow for “instantaneous” communication, he said.
NBC News posts, "Oklahoma to Upgrade Execution Chamber After Clayton Lockett Death," by Tracy Connor.
Oklahoma's prison chief said Monday that the death chamber is getting a facelift and the execution team will have a new tool to find suitable veins in response to the botched lethal injection of Clayton Lockett. Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton announced the changes five days after a state report declared that an improperly placed intravenous line led to the April 29 debacle that prompted the White House to order a national review of execution protocols.
"Oklahoma is Changing The Way it Carries Out Lethal Injections," is by Josh Sanburn at Time.
Jerry Massie, a spokesperson for Oklahoma’s DOC, said the prison system could not carry out a recommendation calling for only one execution a week because the governor and the courts set those dates. Massie said the DOC would be able to implement the rest of the recommendations without additional costs.
The Oklahoman has compiled a series of Twitter, "Updates from execution protocol news conference."
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show has posted a video clip, "Governor at NBA game on night of botched execution."
Ziva Branstetter, enterprise editor for the Tulsa World newspaper, talks with Rachel Maddow about the discovery that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin was at an NBA game while the state was performing an inept execution.
Earlier coverage of Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett begins at the link.