OR: State does practice lethal injection to prepare for
Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:02
State does practice lethal injection to prepare for possible execution of death row inmate Gary Haugen
Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 By Helen Jung, The Oregonian
State corrections officials today conducted a practice run of a lethal injection at the Oregon State Penitentiary to prepare for the possible execution of death row inmate Gary Haugen.
It occurred on the same day Haugen originally was scheduled to die, but the execution was canceled in June after the state Supreme Court told a judge to first order a mental competency evaluation for Haugen, who wants to waive his appeals.
A hearing is now scheduled Sept. 27, when the judge could reissue a death warrant with a new execution date.
The run-through helps train staff and ensure that they can carry out the execution professionally, said Jeanine Hohn, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. The staff also wants to be prepared for security needs both inside and outside the prison in Salem, where protesters may gather during a real execution, she said.
A staff member was to stand in for Haugen, she said.
Haugen said no one told him ahead of time about the practice run. No one contacted his attorneys or asked them to attend the drill so they could observe and identify problems or issues, he said in a telephone call tonight. A spiritual adviser had not come to his cell as is the procedure, he said.
The Oregonian’s continuing coverage of Gary Haugen, an Oregon death row prisoner, who wants to initiate the execution process. Earlier in the day, a corrections employee threw a notched belt at him, telling him to measure his neck, arms, wrists, ankles and legs, but offered no explanation, he said. The reason, Haugen guessed, was for preparing the straps that will hold him down for the lethal injection.
"Where's the dignity in that?" he said. Prison officials did not following through on their pledges to handle the execution process with respect, he said.
"It needs to be done in not only an ethical way but in a moral and dignified manner," he said.
Haugen has not changed his mind about wanting to go through with the execution, and he said he wants corrections officials to practice to avoid making any mistakes. "At the same time, I want them to be accountable," he said.
Officials decided to go ahead with the run-through because they already were gearing up for the execution, Hohn said, and could use the block of time and resources set up for the Aug. 16 date as a practice.
"I think mentally and emotionally people had been thinking this would be the day for an execution, so we felt this would be a good time to run through the practice," she said.
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