The Great Shame of Texas and the United States

This week in my American Politics class we are covering Civil Liberties, which means we cover the 8th Amendment, and that means that we talk about the death penalty.  Every semester I update these charts with the fresh new executions that have been carried out, and I think about something I heard at an ISA conference awhile ago.  At a panel one presenter confidently asserted that the death penalty was on the way out in the U.S. (and around the world) and would effectively be abolished in less than ten years.    A couple of years ago I genuinely thought the same thing but with the ghoulish means many states have taken to continue to execute people I am not so sure.

total executions

Since 1977 there have been 1,460 executions and almost all of them at the state level.

Executions per US region

Of course executions are not evenly distributed across the country.  They are primarily a phenomenon of the Southern states which account for 82% of all executions and one of those southern states stands out as the most heinous  . . . Texas

Executions in Texas

37% of all executions since 1974 have taken place in Texas.  In my opinion, obviously not something we should be very proud of.

Executions over time

If there is any good news its that executions are on a serious decline.  Since it is becoming more and more difficult for states to procure execution drugs perhaps that panelist at the ISA was right and the death penalty in American (specifically the South and Texas) will effectively be abolished.  Let us hope.

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