Attorney General William Barr has ordered the reinstatement of the federal death penalty after a 16-year pause, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
Barr also directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates convicted of murder, the Justice Department said in a news release.
The executions are slated to take place in December 2019 and January 2020.
“Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” Barr said in a statement.
“The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” he added.
The last federal execution occurred in 2003.
There are currently 62 inmates on federal death row, according to a list compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit.