USA: a long decline in executions takes a detour

Recent court rulings and start-stop access to lethal drugs push numbers up this year.

For years, the number of prisoners put to death in the United States has been in decline. That is still true, but with a wrinkle: this year will be the first since 2009 in which there were more executions than the year before. The grim milestone will likely be crossed on Wednesday night, when Anthony Shore is scheduled to be executed in Texas. Unless the courts intervene, it will be the 21st execution of the year, one more than last year. Eight others are scheduled through the end of the year.

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