Texas ends clergy, spiritual advisers ban in death chamber

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HOUSTON (AP) — Officials have announced that Texas prisons have resumed allowing clergy as well as spiritual advisers in the death chamber, reversing a two-year ban created after the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of an inmate who had argued his religious freedom was being violated because his Buddhist spiritual adviser wouldn’t accompany him.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s ban had been criticized by religious leaders.

The ban followed the high court’s March 2019 ruling staying the execution of inmate Patrick Murphy.

TDCJ spokesman Jeremy Desel says the revised policy “will allow the prison system to carry out its statutory responsibility while still maintaining appropriate safeguards of the execution process.”

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