Catholic Culture Overview
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Legal executions down in US for 2016

January 06, 2017

The number of legal executions in the US dropped to 20 in 2016: the lowest number in the past 25 years.

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Two states, Georgia and Texas, accounted for most of the executions carried out in 2016, with nine and seven respectively. Only five states put a convict to death.

The number of executions in the US rose during the 1990s, reaching a peak of 98 in 1999. Since that time the number has trended downward.

There were 30 people sentenced to death in the US in 2016; that too was the lowest number in recent years.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 07, 2017 5:09 AM ET USA

    Still some way to go before we get down to the average number of executions per year conducted under the auspices of the Spanish Inquisition during its lifetime. I would say that the number of U.S. executions last year virtually fulfills in a quantitative sense St. JPII's guidance that capital punishment be "very rare:" 20 executions from an incarcerated population of 2.2 million equals less than 0.001%. In mathematical terms, this value is nearly "vanishingly small."