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On federal death row, inmates talk about Biden, executions

Posted at 6:21 AM, Mar 22, 2021

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. The executions took place after then-Attorney General William Barr resumed the federal death penalty for the first time since the Bush administration in 2019.

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.