By Tommy Nguyen and Kacie Williams
ATMORE, AL – A female journalist reporting on an execution in Alabama was barred from entering the death chamber for her “short skirt,” and another female journalist was subjected to a full-body inspection last week.
Ivana Hrynkiw Shatara, a reporter for Alabama’s news outlet AL.com, arrived at the William C. Holma Correctional Facility to cover the death by lethal injection of Joe Nathan James, Jr.
Before the execution, prison officials subjected female reporters who came as witnesses to the proceeding to a clothing inspection, which led to a female official pulling the reporter aside and informing her that her skirt was too diminutive to meet regulations of the death chamber.
According to news accounts, Shatara attempted to pull the skirt down to her hips to make it longer, but that still did not suffice, and she ended up borrowing a pair of fishing waders from a photographer.
The official then deemed that her open-toe heels did not comply with the prison’s dress code, and Shatara had to return to her car and change into a pair of tennis shoes. Only then was she allowed to enter the chamber, wearing “appropriate” attire for watching a judicial killing.
“I was very overwhelmed at the point, and honestly, I was just so humiliated and mortified”… “I felt embarrassed to have my body and my clothes questioned in front of a room of people I mostly never met,” the reporter said. She insisted that she has never had any issue wearing the same skirt to cover other executions.
Associated Press reporter Kim Chandler was another female journalist pulled aside and subjected to a full-body inspection, in which she was ordered to stand and have the length of her clothing checked. She later tweeted that it was her first time ever having to do this in more than 20 years of covering executions.
After three hours of searching for the vein, the state of Alabama finally conducted the execution on James, Jr., who was sentenced to death by lethal injection for his 1994 killing of 26-year-old Faith Hall.