MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - While many argue that death by electrocution is inhumane, South Carolina lawmakers said other options aren’t available anymore.
The main method of execution in S.C. is lethal injection, but a proposed bill would change that to electrocution.
"For the past probably 10 years, we have had the effect of the death penalty and there are a number of people sitting on South Carolina death row, but no manner or mechanism to carry it out,” said Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.
According to the S.C. Department of Corrections, there are 37 inmates on death row, all set to receive lethal injection. However, Richardson said pharmaceutical companies have stopped supplying the mix of drugs used for that method of execution.
“They’re worried about people that will call them out and protest,” said state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch.
"What they’re doing is saying the electric chair is default and some other manner may be the secondary way,” said Richardson.
In 1972, the United States Supreme Court put an end to death row, saying it was unconstitutional.
"Everybody on death row - federal, state, everywhere else - all of their sentences got commuted to life imprisonment,” Richardson said.
That only lasted about a year, at which time the Supreme Court reversed the ruling. After that, Richardson said many states started using lethal injection because it looked less inhumane. He added if S.C. passes this proposed bill, the nation’s highest court could look into the issue again.
“If the bill passes, if we start using the electric chair again, there will be new rulings from the Supreme Court that will say we’re right back where we were in the 70s,” he said.