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Report: The number of prisoners under sentence of death declined for the 20th consecutive year

  • After peaking at 3,601 at yearend 2000, the number of prisoners under sentence of death declined for the 20th consecutive year. 
  • At yearend 2020, the number of prisoners under sentence of death had declined to 2,469, the lowest level since 1991 (2,465 prisoners under sentence of death).
  • The number of prisoners removed from under sentence of death annually has outpaced the number received under sentence of death since 2001. 
  • In 2020, seven states received 14 prisoners under sentence of death, the smallest annual number reported since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated capital punishment statutes in several states in 1972 (see Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972)).

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Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment, 2020 – Statistical Tables (NCJ 302729, BJS, December 2021)

Date Created: December 8, 2021