Death Penalty States 2019
The death penalty – or capital punishment – is a government-sanctioned punishment for committing a crime. If someone is convicted and given the death penalty, that person will be executed, or put to death, as a punishment for that crime.
Only people that are convicted of committing capital crimes and offenses are eligible to receive the death penalty. Crimes that fall into this category include murder, espionage, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and treason.
A person that has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to the death penalty is sent to death row. This is a part of a prison where inmates awaiting execution are housed. In most cases, a convict may sit on death row for several years during the habeas corpus and appeals processes.
The death penalty is a controversial topic. Many opponents of capital punishment feel that it is morally wrong, some think that it is influenced by racial bias, and others believe that keeping prisoners in limbo for years on Death Row has adverse effects on mental health.
In the United States, the death penalty is legal in 30 states. It is the only western state and just one of 54 worldwide to use capital punishment. The states that have the death penalty include:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
A total of twenty states – plus Washington D.C. – have abolished the death penalty. The first state to do this was Wisconsin, which made the punishment illegal in the year 1853. Most recently, Washington, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, and Illinois have all abolished capital punishment.