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Indiana Judge Orders BOP To Implement COVID-19 Safety Measures Before Carrying Out Executions

United States Penitentiary Terre Haute

(Adam Pinsker, WFIU/WTIU News)

An Indiana district judge ruled the Bureau of Prisons must follow specific COVID-19 precautions before carrying out additional federal executions.

Lisa Montgomery, Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs are scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana between Jan. 12 and 15.

Eight members of the execution team that helped carry out the Dec. 10 lethal injection of Orlando Hall contracted the coronavirus, along with Hall’s spiritual advisor.

"Performing further executions as planned, without additional precautions, substantially increases the risk of [more prisoners at Terre Haute] contracting COVID-19,” said Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, the Chief Judge for Indiana’s Southern District Court. 

Magnus-Stinson’s ruling ordered the BOP to enforce mask requirements for all participants in the execution process.

It also requires contact logs for all FCC Terre Haute staff members involved in any execution who have close contact—within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes over the course of a 24-hour period—with any other person during execution preparation, during an execution, or during the post-execution process.

The order mandates staff members on the execution team will have to be tested daily for two weeks following an execution, and contact tracing must be conducted for any staff member who tests positive during that time frame.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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