Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Washington ranks in the middle nationally on executions

by Henry Apfel April 3rd, 2012

According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington is ranked twenty-fourth among U.S. states in the number of inmates it executed during the years 1930-2010, at 52. However, very few prisoners have received the death penalty in recent years; Washington has executed only five inmates during the years 1977-2010, 22nd of 50 in that time. Texas ranked first, having executed 761 inmates since 1930, and 464 between 1977 and 2010. Data on all 50 states is immediately below, in our visualization based on the BJS report.



Follow the red and blue lines closely with your mouse, to see data on all 50 states.
Source: The Bureau of Justice Statistics


According to a 2008 report by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute on the costs involved in capital-eligible cases in Maryland, cases in which the death penalty was not sought cost on average over $1.1 million. Cases in which the death penalty was unsuccessfully sought cost on average $1.8 million, while cases in which the death penalty was successfully sought cost an average of $3 million.

A bill to abolish the death penalty in Washington, SB 5456, was introduced last year in the state legislature and reintroduced this year, but failed to advance.

Internationally, the death penalty is still very common, according to a recent report from Amnesty International summarized in The Guardian. Amnesty estimates that China alone executes thousands yearly, although exact statistics are difficult to find. China, North Korea, Yemen, Iran and the United States conduct the greatest number of executions. The United States remains the only G8 nation with a death penalty. In total, according to Amnesty, 139 countries still retain a death penalty and last year, at least 676 executions were carried out by nations other than China, roughly half of which were conducted in Iran.

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