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Kentucky Getting Ready to Execute Again

UPDATED FEBRUARY 17; SEE LIST OF SUGGESTED COMMENT TOPICS BELOW

The Coalition has learned that the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) is getting ready to execute again and has issued its new administrative regulation governing how the state will carry out its deadly practice. However, before the new administrative regulation  becomes effective the Department must allow a time for public comment.

To fulfill the law, DOC has scheduled a public hearing on the administrative regulation for February 22 at 9:00 a.m. at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, Room C118, 200 Mero Street in Frankfort. All those wishing to speak at this important hearing need to notify the agency by this Thursday, February 15, of their intention to be heard.

Those who cannot get to Frankfort to speak may submit written comments about any aspect of the regulation. All written comments must be submitted by February 28.

Send your intention to speak at the hearing or any written comments you have to AMY V. BARKER, ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL, JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY CABINET, 125 HOLMES STREET, FRANKFORT, KY 40601. You may also email your intent to speak or your comments to justice.regscontact@ky.gov. To fax this information use this number: (502)564-6686. The office number is (502)564-3279 if you have questions.

Anyone can comment on any aspect of the material in this document. However, do not do the following: argue the merits of the death penalty. All comments that simply argue the merits of having a death penalty will be disregarded.

You do not have to live in Kentucky to comment, so if you want to send this to friends, family and others living elsewhere who would comment, please do. The Department has to accept all comments related to the regulation, even if people are repeating what others have written. The more comments received, the longer it takes for the Department to respond appropriately as it is requred by law to do. Delays like this mean that putting prisoners to death is also delayed.

If you comment, please, after sending in your comments to the Department, email a copy of what you said to the Coalition at kcadp3092@gmail.com. We will collect these and give them to attorneys who are representing death row inmates for their expected challenge to the regulation.

Here is the link to the proposed regulation. Remember, you can comment on as many parts of it as you like and you can share this link with others and ask them to comment by the February 28 deadline.

UPDATE: Here are some suggested areas of concern that readers may wish to use in responding to the Department of Corrections and the proposed regulation:

  • The protocol does not provide an opportunity for people sentenced to death to speak at the public hearing. Kentucky law mandates that “each person who wishes to offer comment” should be given an opportunity to speak. The people who will be most affected by the protocol should have the opportunity to comment on it.

  • The protocol prohibits media interviews with the condemned person on the day of the scheduled execution. The condemned person has the right to talk to the public about the process and the public has the right to gain information about the process through the media.

  • The protocol does not guarantee legal visits before 7:30 a.m. or after 2:30 p.m. before the day of the scheduled execution. During that critically important time, the condemned person must have more extensive access to counsel.

  • The protocol prohibits family and friends from visiting the condemned person on the day of the scheduled execution. The condemned person should be permitted to see their family and friends, and have contact visits with them, on that day.

  • The protocol prohibits family and friends from bringing any item to visits with the condemned person after the governor signs the execution warrant, which is usually 22 to 30 days before the scheduled execution. This prohibition stops family and friends from bringing even photographs to those visits.
  • The protocol allows the Warden to limit the condemned person’s clothing to one pair of underwear, one shirt, one pair of pants, and one pair of socks, once the execution date is set. Condemned people should not be forced to wear the same unwashed underwear and socks for 22 to 30 days or more.
  • The protocol prohibits the condemned person’s minister of record from visiting them during the two hours before the scheduled execution. For the death-sentenced people who want access to a spiritual advisor, they should be permitted access much closer to the scheduled execution.

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