DNA technology – and the number of people it's freed from death row - has made the death penalty a hot issue again. Ongoing debates over death penalty include: its effectiveness as a form of deterrence, the extent to which is should be used with cases involving the insane, mentally handicapped, or juveniles, and whether its costs are worth it.
Note on sources: almost all facts come from the Sourcebook, a huge store of facts pulled together by the University of Albany with the support of the Department of Justice.
Number of Americans on death row:
- 3,254 (2005) (DOJ - pdf).
Number sentenced to death each year
source: DOJ - pdf
Number executed each year
Crimes committed by those on death row:
- Since 1965, all executions have been for murder convictions.
Number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters (average each decade):
- 90's: 19,221 a year (DOJ) (less than 68/100,000 people);
- 80's: 20,643 a year (DOJ) (less than 83/100,000 people);
- 70's: 19,806 a year ('72 - '79) (DOJ) (less than 87/100,000 people).
Other resources for info on the death penalty:
Death Penalty Information Center
- research and information source that claims to have no position on the death penalty, although its critics say it is anti-death penalty
ProDeathPenalty.com - just as their name says
A Washington Post article on how capital punishment is going out of style
- A New York Times article on a series of new economics studies that suggest frequent use of the death penalty is a deterrent and can save lives.
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