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The death penalty has long been a topic of heated debate, but it has once again been brought to the attention of Americans as a man was put through the 'worst botched execution'.

The death penalty has long been a controversial issue.

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But the latest news on the subject has got the internet debating once more.

The death penalty has been a part of the US justice system for centuries...

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And the penalty, which is often referred to as capital punishment, has been in action since approximately 1608... yep, it's really that old.

But it's not currently legal in every state.

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And as the years have gone on, it's become more and more of a controversial and taboo subject.

Many U.S states have now abolished the death penalty for a number of reasons...

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Including the risk factors of executing an innocent person, the fact it doesn't prevent future crimes, and the fact that it is both discriminatory and can be used politically, as per Amnesty.

Organizations such as Amnesty have been fighting for decades to have the death penalty abolished entirely...

And they have been trying to expose and hold to account governments that continue to use the punishment.

Many find the death penalty totally barbaric.

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When questioned philosophically, it's difficult to justify the state killing its citizens.

But it seems there are other states who are nowhere near this much-needed progress.

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Including South Carolina.

South Carolina involuntarily halted executions thanks to a shortage of the drugs required for lethal injection.

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Nevertheless, recently Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed a controversial bill into law.

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But the latest law signed by McMaster now means prisoners can be executed either by electric chair or firing squad - both of which seem far more brutal and inhumane.

People were not happy.

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Campaigners argued that many of those executed over the last few years were killed despite suffering from serious mental and physical illnesses...

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Which should have rendered the death penalty an unconstitutional punishment.

And some states have made huge progress in this field.

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Recently, history was made by Virginia being the first-ever southern state to abolish the death penalty.

People were overjoyed by the news, to say the least...

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And many are even calling for the abolishment to be nationwide.

Virginia is now the twenty-third state to abolish the death penalty.

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And many are hoping for other Southern states to follow suit.

"The families and loved ones of victims are owed closure and justice by law. Now, we can provide it," McMaster said on Twitter in regards to adding firing squad to the list of executions.

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This now means executions can resume, having been paused since 2011.

This news has been highly criticized by many.

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"These are execution methods that previously were replaced by lethal injection, which is considered more humane, and it makes South Carolina the only state going back to the less humane execution methods," Lindsey Vann of Justice 360 told the Associated Press.

However, the lethal injection still has its issues.

Different drugs are used in different states, however, there seems to be a huge number of botched cases in relation to the lethal injection, including missed veins, burning skin and long death times.

In Arizona a death row inmate was put through what has been considered the 'Worst Botched Execution'.

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Which left the inmate gulping and gasping for air two hours after the initial drug concoction was put into his system.

The inmate's drawn-out death was the third highly problematic prisoner execution in the US in 2014, after Dennis McGuire in Ohio and Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma.

Both being major people referenced for the abolishment of the death penalty.

Dennis McGuire was used like a guinea pig, taking him 27 minutes to die from lethal injection.

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The syringe contained an untested concoction of midazolam and hydromorphone. Due to shortages of Midazolam, many states have been using unpracticed, often experimental combinations of drugs in order to carry out the sentence.

Clayton Lockett's execution was also excruciating to receive and to watch.

He was administered an untested mixture of drugs that had not previously been used in the US legal system, that caused him to have a heart attack whilst strapped down, which killed him.

The Arizona inmate was called Joseph Wood, and his death is being criticised as he reportedly snorted and gulped 600 times during the painful and drawn-out end of his life.

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As per the Daily Star: "But by the time he finally died, the murderer had been injected with 750mg each of midazolam, a sedative and hydromorphone, a narcotic, 15 times the amount called for in the state's execution protocol."

Why now?

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Though Wood was executed in 2014, there has been an enquiry into his death, which is now being deemed as torturous and unconstitutional as he may have endured a level of distress prohibited by the US constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment".

There has been little sympathy towards the murderer

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Charles Ryan, the Arizona prison department's director, rejected claims that the execution was botched and said that the prison's medical team verified several times that Wood was "comatose and never in pain".

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But Dale Baich, one of Wood's attorneys, said: "I've witnessed a number of executions before and I've never seen anything like this."

Wood was convicted of killing his estranged girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father Eugene Dietz in Tucson, Arizona, on August 7, 1989.

He shot the pair after Debra tried to end the relationship.

What do you think?

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