Most U.S. Adults assistance the death penalty for civilization convicted the murder, according to an April 2021 Pew Research center survey. In ~ the same time, majorities think the fatality penalty is not used in a racially neutral way, does not deter world from committing significant crimes and does no have sufficient safeguards to prevent an innocent human being from gift executed.

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Use that the death penalty has gradually declined in the United states in current decades. A growing variety of states have actually abolished it, and death sentences and also executions have become less common. But the story is not one of continuous decline throughout all levels of government. When state-level executions have actually decreased, the federal federal government put more prisoners to fatality under president Donald Trump 보다 at any point since the U.S. Can be fried Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

As discussions over the death penalty proceed in the U.S., here’s a closer look in ~ public opinion top top the issue, as well as crucial facts around the nation’s use of resources punishment.


This Pew research study Center evaluation examines publicly opinion around the death penalty in the joined States and also explores how the nation has used resources punishment in current decades.

The publicly opinion result cited here are based mainly on a Pew Research facility survey that 5,109 U.S. Adults, carried out from April 5 to 11, 2021. Everyone who took component in the survey is a member the the Center’s American fads Panel (ATP), an online survey panel the is recruited through national, random sampling that residential addresses. This means nearly all U.S. Adults have actually a opportunity of selection. The inspection is weighted to be representative that the U.S. Adult populace by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read much more about the ATP’s methodology. Here are thequestions usedfrom this survey, in addition to responses, and itsmethodology.

Findings around the management of the fatality penalty – consisting of the variety of states with and also without capital punishment, the annual variety of death sentences and also executions, the demographics the those on death row and also the average amount that time spent on death row – come from the death Penalty information Center and the bureau of justice Statistics.


Six-in-ten U.S. Adults strongly or somewhat favor the death penalty because that convicted murderers, according to the April 2021 survey. A similar share (64%) to speak the fatality penalty is morally justified as soon as someone commits a crime like murder.


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Support for resources punishment is strongly connected with the check out that that is ethically justified in details cases. Nine-in-ten the those that favor the death penalty speak it is ethically justified once someone commits a crime favor murder; only a 4 minutes 1 of those who oppose funding punishment view it as ethically justified.

A bulk of Americans have concerns around the fairness of the fatality penalty and whether the serves as a deterrent versus serious crime. More than half of U.S. Adult (56%) say Black world are much more likely than White world to be sentenced to fatality for committing comparable crimes. About six-in-ten (63%) speak the death penalty does not deter civilization from committing serious crimes, and almost eight-in-ten (78%) say over there is some hazard that an innocent human being will be executed.

Opinions about the death penalty differ by party, education and race and ethnicity. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are much much more likely than Democrats and also Democratic leaners to donate the death penalty because that convicted murderers (77% vs. 46%). Those with much less formal education and learning are also an ext likely to support it: roughly two-thirds the those with a high institution diploma or much less (68%) donate the fatality penalty, contrasted with 63% of those with some college education, 49% the those v a bachelor’s degree and 44% of those v a postgraduate degree. Majorities the White (63%), eastern (63%) and Hispanic adult (56%) support the fatality penalty, yet Black adults space evenly divided, v 49% in favor and 49% opposed.

Views of the fatality penalty differ by religious affiliation. about two-thirds that Protestants in the U.S. (66%) favor funding punishment, though assistance is much greater among White evangelical Protestants (75%) and also White non-evangelical Protestants (73%) 보다 it is amongst Black Protestants (50%). Approximately six-in-ten Catholics (58%) likewise support funding punishment, a figure that has 61% of hispanic Catholics and 56% of White Catholics.


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Opposition to the death penalty additionally varies amongst the religiously unaffiliated. Approximately two-thirds that atheists (65%) protest it, together do much more than fifty percent of agnostics (57%). Amongst those that say their religious beliefs is “nothing in particular,” 63% support resources punishment.

Support because that the fatality penalty is consistently greater in online polls 보다 in phone call polls. survey respondents periodically give various answers depending on how a poll is conducted. In a series of at the same time Pew Research facility surveys fielded online and on the phone in between September 2019 and August 2020, Americans repeatedly expressed much more support for the fatality penalty in a self-administered online format than in a inspection administered ~ above the phone by a live interviewer. This sample was more pronounced among Democrats and also Democratic-leaning independents than among Republicans and GOP leaners, follow to an analysis of the inspection results.

Phone polls have displayed a long-term decrease in public assistance for the death penalty. In call surveys performed by Pew research study Center between 1996 and also 2020, the share of U.S. Adults who favor the fatality penalty dropped from 78% come 52%, when the re-publishing of americans expressing opposition increased from 18% to 44%. Call surveys performed by Gallup discovered a comparable decrease in assistance for funding punishment during this time span.

A bulk of states have actually the death penalty, however far fewer usage it regularly. as of July 2021, the fatality penalty is authorized by 27 states and also the federal government – consisting of the U.S. Room of Justice and the U.S. Armed forces – and prohibited in 23 states and also the ar of Columbia, follow to the fatality Penalty details Center. But even in countless of the jurisdictions the authorize the fatality penalty, executions space rare: 13 of these states, together with the U.S. Military, haven’t carried out one execution in a te or more. That consists of three states – California, Oregon and also Pennsylvania – whereby governors have enforced formal moratoriums top top executions.


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A growing variety of states have done away with the death penalty in recent years, either through regulation or a court ruling. Virginia, which has carried out more executions than any type of state except Texas since 1976, abolished resources punishment in 2021. It adhered to Colorado (2020), new Hampshire (2019), Washington (2018), Delaware (2016), Maryland (2013), Connecticut (2012), Illinois (2011), new Mexico (2009), brand-new Jersey (2007) and brand-new York (2004).

Death sentences have steadily lessened in recent decades. There to be 2,570 civilization on fatality row in the U.S. In ~ the finish of 2019, down 29% native a height of 3,601 at the end of 2000, according to the office of righteousness Statistics (BJS). New death sentences have also declined sharply: 31 civilization were sentenced to fatality in 2019, far listed below the much more than 320 who received death sentences every year in between 1994 and 1996. In current years, prosecutors in part U.S. Cities – consisting of Orlando and also Philadelphia – have vowed no to look for the death penalty, citing involves over that application.

Nearly every (98%) that the people who were on fatality row at the finish of 2019 to be men. Both the mean and also median age of the nation’s death row population was 51. Black detainees accounted because that 41% of fatality row inmates, far greater than their 13% re-superstructure of the nation’s adult population that year. White prisoners accounted because that 56%, contrasted with their 77% re-publishing of the adult population. (For both Black and also White Americans, this figures include those who identify as Hispanic. Overall, about 15% of death row prisoners in 2019 determined as Hispanic, follow to BJS.)


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Annual executions are far listed below their height level. Nationally, 17 people were put to fatality in 2020, the fewest because 1991 and far listed below the modern peak that 98 in 1999, follow to BJS and the death Penalty information Center. The COVID-19 outbreak disrupted legit proceedings in lot of the nation in 2020, bring about some executions to it is in postponed.

Even together the overall variety of executions in the U.S. Dropped to a 29-year short in 2020, the federal government ramped up its usage of the fatality penalty. The Trump management executed 10 prisoners in 2020 and another three in January 2021; prior to 2020, the federal government had brought out a complete of three executions due to the fact that 1976.

The Biden management has taken a different approach from the predecessor. In July 2021, Attorney basic Merrick Garland notified a halt in federal executions if the righteousness Department evaluate its policies and also procedures.


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The average time in between sentencing and execution in the U.S. Has increased sharply because the 1980s. In 1984, the average time in between sentencing and execution was 74 months, or a tiny over six years, according to BJS. Through 2019, that number had an ext than tripled come 264 months, or 22 years. The average prisoner awaiting execution at the end of 2019, meanwhile, had spent practically 19 year on death row.

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A selection of factors explain the boost in time invested on death row, including lengthy legal appeals by those sentenced to death and also challenges come the means states and also the commonwealth government carry out executions, consisting of the drugs supplied in lethal injections. In California, much more death row inmates have died from natural causes or suicide than indigenous executions because 1978, follow to the state’s room of Corrections and Rehabilitation.