Barr directs federal government to resume capital punishment

He orders execution of 5 inmates

By Tammy Kupperman, CNN
Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General William Barr

(CNN) - Attorney General William Barr directed the federal government Thursday to resume capital punishment after nearly two decades and has directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of five inmates after adopting an updated execution protocol.

Barr has directed the head of the Bureau of Prisons to execute "five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society — children and the elderly," according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

At Barr's direction, the Bureau of Prisons has adopted the Federal Execution Protocol Addendum which "replaces the three-drug procedure previously used in federal executions with a single drug—pentobarbital," the Justice Department announced.

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