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Capital Punishment, 1981

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 1982
Publication Series
This report, one in a series published under the National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) program, summarizes data on prisoners under sentence of death in 1981, on prisoners executed since 1930, and on recent trends in capital punishment legislation.

One person was executed in 1981, the fourth since an unofficial 10-year moratorium ended in 1977, and 838 persons were held on death row at year's end, the most since a national count began in 1953. Those sent to death row vs. those removed from death row increased by a 3:1 ratio. For the first time, States were asked whether their laws provided automatic appeal for persons receiving the death penalty. As in past editions, the 1981 report examines death-row inmates by race, age, marital status at time of imprisonment, level of education, legal status at time of arrest, offense, and length of stay on death row. The data include counts of women and Hispanic prisoners and of inmates removed from death row during the year, by method of removal and status at year's end. Updated information on the status of capital punishment legislation for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Federal system is summarized in Appendix I. Other appendixes contain the data tables on which the report is based, facsimiles of the questionnaires used to obtain data from correctional and judicial authorities, and a discussion of the report's methodology. Data were collected and analyzed by the Bureau of the Census under contract to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Date Published: December 1, 1982