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Policy Change Could Cause Rise in Lethal Injection Costs in Va.

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(Image courtesy Associated Press) (Image courtesy Associated Press)
State Senator Scott Surovell State Senator Scott Surovell
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

The cost of carrying out lethal injections in Virginia could go through the roof following a change in policy. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the next execution might rack up a five-figure price tag.
 
Governor Terry McAuliffe and lawmakers addressed the shortage of drug supplies with legislation earlier this year. Ultimately, a secrecy measure was approved in order to conceal the identity of drug makers who are uncomfortable being associated with the execution process.
 
Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell (D-36th District) has been an outspoken critic of this provision and the death penalty in general. He says secrecy leads to price gouging but also, there are now more questions about the safety of the drugs and the transparency of the process.
 
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the cost of lethal injection drugs will go from several hundred dollars to at least $16,500 per execution.
 
“It should not cost this much to find a dose of something to execute a human person...costs probably $100 to euthanize a cat or a dog, but because we're choosing to do this under a veil of secrecy, taxpayers are going to have to pay through the nose for it,” said Surovell.
 
In response to these expensive estimates, the governor's office says there's not many other options.
 
A spokesman for Governor McAuliffe says the only other alternatives would be forcing executions by electric chair or doing away with capital punishment entirely.
 
McAuliffe and many other lawmakers felt defaulting to the electric chair would be inhumane.
 
In the past, Virginia obtained drugs from Texas, but Surovell says there are too many legal issues with that moving forward.
 
No other executions are slated in the immediate future.

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