Washington (Web Desk): The US federal government has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to schedule executions for five federal inmates after the break of 16 years, in the next six months, the Department of Justice announced Barr’s order in a statement on Thursday.
Acting on President Donald Trump's call for tougher penalties on violent crimes, Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to adopt a new lethal injection protocol to clear the way to carry out death sentences.
There were 25 executions in the United States last year, all carried out by state authorities on people convicted on state charges. The government has about 60 people on death row in federal prisons.
But the debate about the methods of execution and controversy over the drugs used, as well as a reticence by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama to carry out death sentences, means that no federal prisoner has been put to death since 2003.
Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to carry out executions using a single lethal injection of the barbiturate phenobarbital, replacing the previous, three-drug cocktails using thiopental.
"Since 2010, 14 states have used pentobarbital in over 200 executions, and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have repeatedly upheld the use of pentobarbital in executions as consistent with the Eighth Amendment" of the constitution, which bars cruel and unusual punishment, the Justice Department said.