The Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) is getting ready to execute again and has issued a draft administrative regulation governing how the state will carry out the death penalty.

However, before the new administrative regulation becomes effective the Department must allow a time for public comment. All written comments must be submitted by February 28.

Your comments may be emailed to justice.regscontact@ky.gov.   Anyone can comment on any aspect of the material in this document. However, we’ve been told all comments that simply argue the merits of having a death penalty will be disregarded.

The proposed regulation is filled with problems. We suggest you choose any one of these, several of them or all of them to comment on and send to DOC before February 28. Your comments will have an impact on the next draft of the proposed regulation which will be presented to lawmakers for approval.

Here are the suggested areas of concern for comment:

  • The protocol does not provide an opportunity for people sentenced to death to speak at the public hearing. Kentucky law mandates that “each person who wishes to offer comment” should be given an opportunity to speak. The people who will be most affected by the protocol should have the opportunity to comment on it.
  • The protocol prohibits media interviews with the condemned person on the day of the scheduled execution. The condemned person has the right to talk to the public about the process and the public has the right to gain information about the process through the media.
  • The protocol does not guarantee legal visits before 7:30 a.m. or after 2:30 p.m. before the day of the scheduled execution. During that critically important time, the condemned person must have more extensive access to counsel.
  • The protocol prohibits family and friends from visiting the condemned person on the day of the scheduled execution. The condemned person should be permitted to see their family and friends, and have contact visits with them, on that day.
  • The protocol prohibits family and friends from bringing any item to visits with the condemned person after the governor signs the execution warrant, which is usually 22 to 30 days before the scheduled execution. This prohibition stops family and friends from bringing even photographs to those visits.
  • The protocol allows the Warden to limit the condemned person’s clothing to one pair of underwear, one shirt, one pair of pants, and one pair of socks, once the execution date is set. Condemned people should not be forced to wear the same unwashed underwear and socks for 22 to 30 days or more.
  • The protocol prohibits the condemned person’s minister of record from visiting them during the two hours before the scheduled execution. For the death-sentenced people who want access to a spiritual advisor, they should be permitted access much closer to the scheduled execution.

Your comments may be emailed to justice.regscontact@ky.gov through Wednesday, February 28th.

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