“Anybody that thinks that executing somebody is no problem has not been a part of the process.”

Justin JJ” Humphrey (pic­tured), for­mer prison offi­cer and cur­rent chair of the crim­i­nal jus­tice and cor­rec­tions com­mit­tee in the Oklahoma state assembly

An April 28, 2024 report by Ed Pilkington in The Guardian chronicles the trauma experiences by prison officials assigned to carry out executions. Oklahoma correctional officers asked Attorney General Gentner Drummond to slow the pace of executions, citing “lasting trauma,” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and alcohol abuse among staff due to frequent executions in the state. Former corrections director Justin Jones told Mr. Pilkington, “It affects your mental state when it becomes so routine,” to perform executions. When AG Drummond brought the request to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Judge Gary Lumpkin told officials that the correctional staff tasked with carrying out executions need to “suck it up” and “man up.”

The article also quotes Missouri prison officials, more than 60 of whom sought clemency for prisoner Brian Dorsey. Governor Mike Parson rejected their pleas and allowed Mr. Dorsey to be executed on April 9, 2024. Tim Lancaster, a retired corrections officer, said, “You’re working with a prisoner for 10 years, you’ve interacted with them every single day, and you can feel they’ve changed. They’ve really rehabilitated, and that’s the department’s goal – to rehabilitate offenders. … All of a sudden they flip the switch, and now it’s like: ‘OK, we’re going ahead and killing them. There has to be an underlying effect from that, without a doubt.”