The US President Mr. Joe Biden has ordered a halt on federal executions resumed in 2020 under the Trump administration.
The Trump administration undertook 13 federal executions during his final months in office, before Trump, the last execution occurred 17 years ago during the Bush Administration.
President Biden, who appointed Merrick Garland, as the US government’s attorney general, however, suspended the executions while Garland also ordered a review of the rules around the death penalty.
The attorney general also ordered officials to review the drugs administered during lethal injection amid reports that prisoners may have experienced severe pain while dying.
In issuing the moratorium, Garland cited the disproportionate number of racial minorities who are sentenced to capital punishment.
“The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in the federal criminal justice system is not only afforded the rights guaranteed by the constitution and laws of the United States, but is also treated fairly and humanely.
“That obligation has special force in capital cases.”
Currently, there are about 50 people on federal death row, according to the non-partisan Death Penalty Information Center.
Trump’s attorney general William Barr, had ordered executions to resume in 2020 arguing that the federal government owed “the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system”.
The majority of US executions are administered by states, where some 2,500 prisoners are on death row. Texas leads the country with 570 executions since 1976.