News Briefs: Use of capital punishment on the decline

Published January 2010 Vol. 14 Issue 1

Fewer death sentences were issued in 2009 than any year since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, according to a year-end report released by the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit, nonpolitical group that provides facts and analysis, as well as opposition to the practice of capital punishment.

The number of death sentences in the U.S. has been on the decline for the past seven years. Eleven states, including Colorado, considered abolishing the death penalty in 2009. With many states facing severe budget issues, the cost of capital punishment has become increasingly important. Even Texas, which traditionally tops state lists for both number of executions and number of death sentences issued, has seen a decrease in the use of the death penalty over the past decade.

Since 1973, over 100 people facing death sentences have been exonerated.

-- Sarah Harvey