2016 Saw Major Decline In Death Penalty Use

(Credit: OFFSTOCK/Shutterstock)
(Credit: OFFSTOCK/Shutterstock)

The year 2016 marked a major decline in the number of executions and sentences to capital punishment in the United States, a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center says. Georgia had nine executions, Texas seven, Alabama two, and one each in Missouri and Florida, the report said.

The year 2016 marked a major decline in the number of executions and sentences to capital punishment in the United States, a new report says.

Last year there were 20 executions in the U.S., the lowest level in 25 years. The peak was in 1999, when 98 persons were executed.

Thirty death sentences were imposed in 2016, the lowest since the death penalty was reinstated in 1973. In 1996, death penalty sentences peaked at 315.

“America is in the midst of a major climate change concerning capital punishment. While there may be fits and starts and occasional steps backward, the long-term trend remains clear,” Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said on December 16.

“Whether it’s concerns about innocence, costs, and discrimination, availability of life without parole as a safe alternative, or the questionable way in which states are attempting to carry out executions, the public grows increasingly uncomfortable with the death penalty each year,” Dunham said.

Georgia had nine executions, Texas seven, Alabama two, and one each in Missouri and Florida, the report from the Death Penalty Information Center said.

The report charged that those executed in 2016 largely represented defendants with mental health problems, inadequate legal representation, or insufficient judicial review.

Sixty percent of the 20 people executed last year showed “significant evidence” of mental illness, brain impairment or low intellectual functioning.

The popularity of the death penalty also hit new lows.

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SOURCE: Crux

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