Facts About the Death Penalty

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Globally, 139 countries have agreed to abolish the death penalty as reported by Amnesty International.  In 2010, Gabon abolished the death penalty for all crimes.  In 2010, 23 countries executed 527 prisoners, and 2,024 people were sentenced to death in 67 countries.  Currently, more than 17,000 people are under a sentence of death globally.

Fact 1. Since 1976, 1,317 people have been executed in the United States.  740 of these people were white, 452 black, 101 Hispanics, and another 24 were other races.

Fact 2.  In regards to the odds of a death sentence, it was found that in Louisiana the odds of a death sentence were 97% higher if the victim was a white as compared to a black. A Californian study has found that those who killed whites were three times more likely to be sentenced to death.

Fact 3.   Since 1973, more than 130 people have been released from Death Row with evidence of innocence.

Fact 4.  In regards to mental disabilities, in 2002, the Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to execute defendants with mental retardation.

Fact 5.  In regards to women on Death Row, there were 61 women facing execution as of April 1, 2012, which accounted for less than 2% of the total Death Row population. Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed. This constitutes less than 2% of the total Death Row population.

Fact 6. The death penalty does not act as a deterrent to murder. This is the opinion of the country’s top, academic, criminological societies.

Fact 7. In regards to the types of executions, a total of 1,143 convicts have been executed using lethal injection, 157 by electrocution, 11 by the gas chamber, 3 by hanging, and 3 by the firing squad.

Fact 8.  Studies in California have indicated that the cost of the death penalty since 1978 has been over U.S. $4 billion. The study included: pre-trial and trial costs, automatic appeals,  and state habeas corpus petitions, costs of federal appeals, and costs of incarceration on Death Row.

Fact 9. Surveys indicate that 39% of people opt for alternatives to the death penalty, such as, life without parole and restitution, life with parole 9%, life without parole 13%, and those opting for the death penalty constitute 33%.

Fact 10. Countries which have the death penalty imposed for drug offenses, include China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

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