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Death Penalty States 2022

The death penalty – or capital punishment – is a government-sanctioned punishment for committing a crime. A person convicted and given the death penalty will be put to death as a punishment for that crime.

Only crimes deemed capital 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. Nobody has been executed for a crime other than homicide since the Supreme Court re-instituted the death penalty in 1976. However, twenty-seven states allow for a person to be convicted of murder if they are involved in a crime involving loss of life, even if they were not directly responsible for the death.

A person convicted of a crime and sentenced to death is sent to death row, where inmates awaiting execution are housed. In most cases, convicts remain on death row for several years during appeals. According to a 2020 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, the average time between conviction and execution is 18.9 years.

The Death Penalty Divide

A Supreme Court ruling in 1972 banned the death penalty in the United States, ruling that the punishment, as applied, was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Today, the United States is divided when it comes to capital punishment. Twenty-four states allow the death penalty. Twenty-three states have abolished capital punishment altogether. Three states, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, have governor-issued moratoriums in place, halting executions in the state.

Of those states to have abolished the death penalty, Wisconsin was the first- having made capital punishment illegal in 1853. Virginia officially abolished the death penalty as of July 1, 2021, making it the most recent state to abolish it.

On average, 26.3 people have been executed annually since 2000. Overall, executions are on the decline. In 2000, eighty-five inmates were executed across the country; in 2020, that number was seventeen.

States with the highest rates of execution

Texas leads the nation in executions, having put 574 inmates to death since 1976. On average, Texas executes 12 inmates annually, over four times more than the second-most state. Several factors lead to the higher use of the death penalty in Texas. The state lacks a public defender system for indigent convicts and relies on elected appellate judges, both factors that lead to higher levels of capital convictions. Furthermore, Texas inmates spend 40% less time on death row, an average of 11 years, prior to execution. As of June 2022, there are 194 inmates on death row in Texas.

Oklahoma has executed 116 individuals since 1976, an average of 2.5 executions yearly. As of June 2022, there are 43 inmates on death row in Oklahoma.

Virginia is the most recent state to abolish the death penalty, outlawing the punishment in July 2021. Before the abolition, the state had executed 113 people between 1976 and 2017, when the last execution took place.

Florida has executed 99 convicted people, including notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, since 1976. The state has the highest rate of new capital punishment convictions and the second-largest death row roster, with 303 inmates currently awaiting execution as of June 2022. Florida is also the most recent state to ban the practice of putting death row inmates into solitary confinement upon arrival at a correctional facility.

Missouri has executed 92 people since 1976. There are currently forty individuals awaiting punishment on Missouri's death row.

While California has executed thirteen people since 1976, and nobody since 2006, the state has the nation's largest death row roster, with over 600 inmates currently sitting on death row. Governor Newsom, who instituted a moratorium on executions in 2019, is working to dismantle the death row system and has plans to mainline these inmates into general population prisons.

Ten States with Most Executions in the United States

Here are the ten states with the most executions since 1976. These ten states account for 84% of the executions in the country in that time. Texas (574) Oklahoma (116) Virginia (113) Florida (99) Missouri (92) Georgia (76) Alabama (69) Ohio (56) North Carolina (43) South Carolina (43)

Here are the 10 states with the most executions since 1976:

  1. Texas (574)
  2. Oklahoma (116)
  3. Virginia (113)
  4. Florida (99)
  5. Missouri (92)
  6. Georgia (76)
  7. Alabama (69)
  8. Ohio (56)
  9. North Carolina (43)
  10. South Carolina (43)

Death Penalty States 2022

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Death Penalty States 2022

State Death Penalty Law Status Death Penalty Abolished Death Row Pop. Executions Before 1976 Executions Since 1976 Last Execution
TexasActive2197555742022
OklahomaActive471321162022
VirginiaInactive2021312771132017
FloridaActive348348992019
MissouriActive24285922022
GeorgiaActive49950762020
AlabamaActive177708692022
OhioActive140438562018
North CarolinaActive144784432006
South CarolinaActive40641432011
ArizonaActive120104392022
ArkansasActive32478312017
LouisianaActive69632282010
MississippiActive43351222021
IndianaActive8131202009
DelawareInactive201624162012
CaliforniaMoratorium740727132006
TennesseeActive54335132020
IllinoisInactive2011348121999
NevadaActive7461122006
UtahActive84362012
MarylandInactive201330952005
South DakotaActive21552019
WashingtonInactive2018810552010
NebraskaActive123442018
IdahoActive82632012
KentuckyActive3042432008
MontanaActive27132006
PennsylvaniaMoratorium152104031999
OregonMoratorium3112221997
ColoradoInactive2020310111997
ConnecticutInactive201212612005
New MexicoInactive20097312001
WyomingActive12211992
AlaskaInactive1957121950
HawaiiInactive1957491944
IowaInactive1965451963
KansasActive10571965
MaineInactive1887211885
MassachusettsInactive19843451947
MichiganInactive1846131830
MinnesotaInactive1911661906
New HampshireInactive20191241939
New JerseyInactive20073611963
New YorkInactive200711301963
North DakotaInactive197381905
Rhode IslandInactive1984521845
VermontInactive19871954
West VirginiaInactive19651551959
WisconsinInactive185311851

Death Penalty States 2022