NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Executions And Death Sentences Trailing Off

December 22, 1998

Juries are handing down fewer death sentences and states are performing fewer executions.

  • U.S. executions dropped 8 percent this year -- to 68 from 74 in 1997.
  • Almost half of all executions took place in two states -- Texas and Virginia.
  • Death sentences imposed by juries declined 15 percent this year -- the first drop since 1990.
  • Nearly 80 percent of the executions took place in the South.

Twenty people were executed in Texas this year, compared to 37 last year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

A national public opinion poll commissioned by the Associated Press last January found 74 percent of respondents favored the death penalty.

Source: Richard Willing, "Executions and Death Sentences Down in 1998," USA Today, December 21, 1998.


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