On federal death row, inmates talk about Biden, executions

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FEDERAL DEATH CHAMBER

FILE – This March 22, 1995, file photo shows the interior of the execution chamber in the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. Executioners who put 13 inmates to death in the last months of the Trump administration likened the process of dying by lethal injection to falling asleep, called gurneys “beds” and final breaths “snores.” But those tranquil accounts are at odds with AP and other media-witness reports of how prisoners’ stomachs rolled, shook and shuddered as the pentobarbital took effect inside the U.S. penitentiary death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana. (AP Photo/Chuck Robinson, File)

CHICAGO (AP) – Inmates on federal death row tell The Associated Press that a leading topic of conversation through air ducts they use to communicate is whether President Joe Biden will keep a campaign pledge to halt federal executions.

Biden hasn’t spoken publicly to that question since taking office four days after the Trump administration executed the last of 13 inmates in a six-month period. Biden’s silence has the condemned inmates on edge. Some of the inmates worry that political calculations may lead Biden to back off any far-reaching action, such as commuting their death sentences to life. Others think the president may take no action at all.

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