Report: executions drop in the U.S.

Those who oppose capital punishment got some encouraging news this week.

Details, from the Associated Press:

The number of executions in the United States dropped 12 percent in 2010, and the number of people sentenced to die is nearing historic lows, a report from an anti-capital punishment group says.

The Death Penalty Information Center attributed the reductions to changing attitudes toward capital punishment, but acknowledged there have also been problems with the availability of chemicals used in lethal injections.

“Whether it’s concerns about the high costs of the death penalty at a time when budgets are being slashed, the risks of executing the innocent, unfairness, or other reasons, the nation continued to move away from the death penalty in 2010,” said Richard Dieter, the center’s executive director and author of the report.

The group counted 46 executions in Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, Utah and Washington in 2010. That’s fewer than in 2009, when there were 52 executions in 16 states.

Tennessee, South Carolina, Indiana and Missouri did not execute anyone in 2010, but did so in 2009.

The center’s 2010 numbers are through December 20. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has similar figures, counting 45 executions between January and November 30, 2010. Thirty-five states have the death penalty.


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