Ohio death row inmates spend 21 years waiting for execution date

Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 7:25 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Ohio’s next execution of a death row inmate was originally on the calendar for exactly three months from now on November 16.

But that date, like so many others, was recently pushed back.

It’s been five years since the state’s last execution.

We found state officials are calling the system “broken” as Ohio’s unofficial death penalty moratorium continues.

The governor keeps pushing back execution dates for death row inmates as the struggle to find the drugs needed for lethal injection stretches on.

122 inmates are currently on death row in Ohio.

19 Investigates found 31 of those inmates are scheduled for execution.

Five of them are from northeast Ohio.

The average time an inmate spends on death row is now 21 years.

Ohio death row inmates are more likely to die from natural causes or suicide than lethal injection.

In the Ohio Attorney General’s most recent Annual Capital Crimes Report, state officials said “It is a system that is not fairly, equally or promptly enforced.”

“Ohio’s residents and their elected leaders should make one of two decisions: Either overhaul the capital punishment system to make it effective, or end it,” the report concluded.

The report cited studies showing it costs at least one million dollars per inmate to keep them on death row, which is much more than the cost of life in prison.

Right now under Ohio law, lethal injection is the only method of capital punishment allowed.

The state is struggling to get the drugs needed from pharmaceutical companies.

19 Investigates reached out to Governor Mike DeWine’s office. A spokesperson said are no updates on the death penalty right now.

Last year, DeWine’s office told us they don’t want to endanger “other Ohioans who rely on the state to provide them with prescription drugs from those same suppliers.”

A bipartisan bill to abolish the death penalty was introduced in the Ohio Senate this year.

We’re continuing to watch if anything new happens at the state legislature.

The death penalty has been abolished in 23 states and the nation’s capital.