Deep in the bowels of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, the execution chamber is a stark and sterile place. The area is small. One room is curtained off for media and other witnesses; another for prison staff and the executioner, and the third room, complete with a hospital bed, is where the condemned go to die. Right now, the chamber is empty. It hasn’t been used much, since the state tried unsuccessfully to execute Richard Glossip, earlier this year. But for years, the chamber was busy. Since 1915, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has killed a total of 191 men and three women. Most of thoseRead More →

By Randy Coyne, National Board Representative Presently, 36 states (including Oklahoma) and the federal government are in the execution business. All of these jurisdictions (save one) use lethal injection as the primary method of killing prisoners sentenced to death. Other apparently lawful execution methods include hanging, electrocution, and death by firing squad. During the past year, Oklahoma prison officials have killed twice. On August 21, 2007, officials at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester lethally injected Frank Duane Welch for the 1987 murder of Jo Talley Cooper, a 28-year-old Norman woman. And on June 17, just two months after the Baze Supreme Court decision, TerryRead More →

By Tamya Cox, Program Director The second session of the 51st Oklahoma Legislature ended on May 23. Like many sessions before, many appropriation bills were passed and little policy was made. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma had great hopes for this legislative session; it was our mission to be proactive and support bills that preserved civil liberties. Senator Harry Coates, R- Seminole, introduced a bill that would have repealed the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act or more commonly known as 1804. Representative Mike Shelton introduced HB 2865, a bill that would notify individuals when their right to vote has been restored. Unfortunately,Read More →