Across the United States, the death penalty continues to fall out of favor with Americans in general and with juries.
A majority of Americans choose life!
Since 1985 the Gallup poll has asked a question about whether the death penalty or life in prison without parole “is the better penalty for murder”. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans, 60%, chose life in prison without parole compared to 36% for capital punishment.
Juries and legislators are choosing life also.
More states are choosing to end the death penalty. New Hampshire abolished in 2019, making it 21 states without capital punishment. Four additional states have a moratorium on executions.
There were 34 new death sentences compared to the high of 315 in 1996. 2019 was the fifth year in a row where there were less than 30 executions and 50 new death sentences.
Kansas marked another year without a death sentence. The last was in 2016. Kansas has not had an execution since 1965.
Why are people rejecting the death penalty?
The reasons more and more people are rejecting the death penalty are echoed in this quote in the letter by 175 murder victim family members to President Trump and Attorney General Barr on the plan to resume federal executions:
“….“The death penalty does not prevent violence. It does not solve crime. It does not provide services for families like ours. It does not help solve the over 250,000 homicide cold cases in the United States. It exacerbates the trauma of losing a loved one and creates yet another grieving family. It also wastes many millions of dollars that could be better invested in programs that actually reduce crime and violence and that address the needs of families like ours.” – 175 victims’ family members, in a letter to President Trump and Attorney General Barr
Want to know more?
To read more about the US death penalty in 2019 or see some additional interesting graphics on various aspects of the report, see “The Death Penalty in 2019: Year End Report” by the Death Penalty Information Center.