Alan Cai

Lethal Injections Gone Awry: Unmasking America’s Capital Punishment System
Public Policy
Volume 7 | Issue II | June 2023
Noble and Greenough School ’24
Massachusetts, USA
Harvard University ’28
I have always been interested in history, politics, and current events. I participate in Model United Nations, judge debates, and run a current events publication, the Common Forum, as the editor-in-chief. In recent years, I found a growing interest in the death penalty, specifically when President Trump resumed federal executions in 2020, following a long pause in federal executions. During this time, I followed the reporting of these executions live on Twitter. As I learned more about the death penalty, I found out about the increase in botched lethal injections in recent decades, significantly impacted by the adoption of new lethal injection drugs. In my sophomore year, I spent months researching botched lethal injections before writing a research paper on the topic. I continued to revise and edit my paper, almost doubling the number of sources and adding new pieces of evidence while incorporating a brand-new section on state secrecy laws before the paper was finally accepted for publication at The Schola. Throughout my work, my passion for the topic motivated me to continuously improve my paper, and to delve deeper into the topic, as well as related areas. During my writing process, I uncovered and learned a great deal about the variety of issues plaguing the capital punishment system, including politics, secrecy laws, and experimental execution drugs. I expect my paper to shine a light on an often obscure, or even uncomfortable topic. I hope that my paper provides an illuminating insight into important issues in our government that we may feel uncomfortable confronting, due to the crimes of the prisoners affected, or the disturbing and highly unsettling nature of the death penalty and botched executions.
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