Best of the Week


Breaking news on US ramp-up of federal executions


Reporters Michael Tarm, Chicago; Mike Balsamo, Justice Department, Washington; Jim Salter, St. Louis; and Michael Sisak, New York, have broken exclusives on this year’s resumption of federal executions following a 17-year hiatus, and the accelerated pace of executions during President Donald Trump’s lame-duck period. They have also witnessed every federal execution.

Among their stories:

— The Justice Department considered using firing squads or borrowing electric chairs due to a possible shortage of drugs used for lethal injection.

— The execution team at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where the executions are carried out, was sickened with COVID-19, even as they planned more deaths.

— The initial inmates were white — but now they are mostly minority, likely a political calculation.

— The unusual push forward by the Trump administration, even as the incoming administration opposes the death penalty.

But above all, the AP witnesses have risked their own safety to enter the federal prison in Terre Haute where the coronavirus is raging in order to attend every single execution. The team has been unstoppable, delivering fast, accurate reporting that has made AP the definitive source for news on this topic.

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