Countries With Death Penalty 2020

The death penalty is one of the most controversial topics around the world, and it is a discussion that is constantly up for debate. From an ethical standpoint, the death penalty, or capital punishment, is wrong. You could try to look at the circumstances from a moral standpoint, but whether or not someone deems the death penalty as being morally acceptable depends on one’s moral code. Often, politics get wrapped up into the conversation on capital punishment, which just further complicates the discussion.

The fact that the death penalty is legalized as a form of ultimate punishment for heinous crimes in these countries does not mean that everyone who resides in the applicable countries -- nor the government officials who make decisions about subjects like the death penalty -- are in support of capital punishment. Whether or not you agree with the death penalty as a consequence for serious criminal activity, capital punishment remains legal in fourteen countries around the world.

The fourteen countries that have legalized and retained the right to execute criminals for their crimes include…


The Chinese government operates in an unusual and interesting way when it comes to capital punishment. Unlike places like the United States where death penalty cases are made public and execution dates are announced, China has a rule that states that all death penalty executions must remain absolutely private and confidential. They are deemed a secret, and even the families of those who are put to death do not know about the execution until after it has occurred.

Also, China still has firing squads as a tactic for carrying out the death penalty. Many prisoners on the Chinese version of Death Row are shot in the head by way of gunfire. This method is quite unheard of, as it is seen as being incredibly unethical and One could argue that the entire process of punishing criminals for their mistakes by taking their lives from them is unethical as it stands, but being shot in the head point blank takes the lack of ethical practices a step further. The one other form of execution that Chinese officials can legally invoke is death by lethal injection.

The Chinese judicial system has ruled that all cases where the death penalty is involved must be treated as secrets. No one can know that the act is being carried out beforehand, and it is very rare for any news coverage to report on the executions after the fact either. The most shocking truth about Chinese executions is the fact that a couple thousand death penalty executions are carried out over the course of one year. That comes out to approximately five and a half executions per day for three hundred sixty-five days in a row.


Japan carries out Death Row executions in a similar manner to China in the sense that Japanese officials do not inform anyone of the pending execution dates. However, the distinguishing factor that differentiates Chinese executions from those in Japan is that Japanese officials do not even let the inmate know that their execution dates are on the horizon. Instead, prison officials surprise inmates about one hour prior to the time that the execution is set to take place.

The only method of execution in Japan is by hanging, and prisoners are blindfolded, as well as adorned in a hood, before the trap door is released and the inmate is executed. Japan has killed twenty-four Death Row inmates between 2012 and 2016. Once an inmate has been executed, Japanese prison officials inform the public of the execution that just took place.

Except for very rare situations, most cases of the death penalty in Japan involve multiple murders. A few times, inmates who have killed no more than one person were executed as a result of the homicide for which they were found guilty, but again, this outcome is usually reserved for criminals who have committed multiple murders.

South Korea

South Korea is one of the fourteen countries that still reserves the right to execute criminals who have committed crimes deemed worthy of a death sentence. South Korean officials execute people who have earned the death penalty by hanging them with a rope. This is the only method of execution in the Asian country of South Korea.

However, if a criminal has been found guilty of carrying out a military offense, then they are subjected to death by way of a firing squad. This is a very violent tactic, and for that reason, it is often not even considered as a viable execution method. However, South Korea, like China, continues to execute criminals with gun shots. The difference between South Korea and China is that South Korea reserves a firing squad as an excessive punishment for people who have committed criminal activity that affected the country's military in some way or another.

The number of people on Death Row in South Korea is currently sixty-one people. Interestingly enough, despite the fact that there are over sixty people sitting on Death Row in South Korea, the last execution took place back in December of 1997. However, that is not the most recent date of someone who has died on Death Row. Ten people in total have either died by suicide or from an illness they contracted in the jails of South Korea.

The United States

Thirty of the fifty states in the USA have legalized the death penalty, and these executions are carried out by the government on a state level. The federal government also participates in capital punishment when necessary.

There are thousands of inmates currently on Death Row in the United States. Twenty-five individuals convicted of criminal activity and sentenced to death were ultimately executed in 2018, even though forty-two inmates had death sentences looming over their heads. The death penalty was reenacted in the US back in the year 1976, and ever since, the US has been responsible for about 1,493 deaths as a result of capital punishment sentences. As of 2019, sixty-three people are currently sitting on Death Row in America.

There are five different methods of executing Death Row inmates in the US, including lethal injection, hanging, electrocution, lethal gas, and firing squads. The most common way of carrying out an execution in the United States is lethal injection, followed by electrocution, lethal gas, hanging, and firing squads -- in that order.

Countries With Death Penalty 2020