It seems that capital punishment in the USA has had its longest time. According to The Guardian this is not due to any significant change of mind, but because the, mainly European, suppliers of the drugs used in lethal injection refuses to supply these drugs to prisons. Pharmaceutical corporations don’t want to be associated with executions, of course for reasons of public relations.
Though lethal injection has championed as being the most humane way executing people, it’s not without controversy. Opponents of lethal injection claim that lethal in injection only masked the suffering of the condemned by paralysing him or her, but does not really render him or her unconscious. Hence lethal injection does cause agonizing pain to executed.
Any way, the number of executions in the US is steadily in decline. Both opponents of the death penalty should not cheer to early. It’s possible that states might switch other possible methods of execution. Though it take a long time to change the death penalty statues, a process that inevitable will ignite the discussion about capital punishment itself.
Opponents of the death penalty often argue that life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is sufficient to protect society from dangerous criminals. With the additional benefit of being able to release those who are wrongly convicted. However it’s far from certain that such a life sentence is actually a more humane punishment than death. Long term prison sentences have severe effects on human psychology, and some researchers even consider imprisonment as a kind of torture.
But there might be a third alternative besides capital punishment and life without the possibility of parole: voluntary execution by nitrogen asphyxiation. Voluntary execution means that a convicted criminal has to decide whether (s)he will spend the remainder of his/her life in prison or that (s)he will be executed. Nitrogen asphyxiation is a cheap, reliable and painless method of execution, originally investigated in animal slaughter.