Former head of Oregon prisons wants to witness dismantling of the death chamber
Reacting to Governor Kate Brown’s commutation of all death row sentences, the man who oversaw Oregon’s last two executions– wants to witness the dismantling of the death chamber he built.
In the mid-1990’s, Oregon Superintendent of Prisons, Frank Thompson, was charged with constructing the room where convicted people would die by lethal injection. At the time he supported the death penalty, but says the task was daunting.
“I had to identify the person who would administer the lethal drugs in the state of Oregon. Can you imagine trying to find out who would be willing to do it?”
Thompson’s position began to change in 1996 when he saw the heavy impact the execution program had on his staff. The last person put to death in Oregon was under his watch in 1997. He left the position the next year.
Thompson is now 79 years old and wants the death penalty repealed. And as for the execution chamber he had built in the state penitentiary? “I would love to be a part of its dismantling.”
"The Death Penalty is simply a bad public policy on many levels. It does a disservice to everyone it touches, including the state workers in our corrections department whose job it is to carry out executions. No employee of the state should have to take on the burdens that come with killing a defenseless human being.