Report: Number of executions decline in 2016

A gurney in the San Quentin State Prison in the United States on which prisoners are restrained during an execution by lethal injection. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Wikipedia/Public Domain)

ATLANTA — The number of people executed in the United States in 2016 fell to an historic low, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

There were 20 executions in 2016, the fewest since 1991. In addition, there were an estimated 30 death sentences handed down in 2016, down 39 percent from the record low set a year earlier.

“States imposed the fewest death sentences in the modern era of capital punishment, since states began re-enacting death penalty statutes in 1973,” the organization said in its year-end 2016 report.

“The numbers continued to demonstrate the geographic isolation of the death penalty and its disproportionate overuse by a handful of jurisdictions,” the group said. “The number of state and federal jurisdictions imposing death sentences fell by more than half, from 60 counties and the federal government in 2012, to only 27 counties this year.”

Georgia saw the most executions of any state in 2016 with nine. That nearly doubled the five executions in The Peach State in 2015.

Meanwhile, Texas saw seven executions in 2016. That was almost half as many as the 13 executions the Lone Star state had in 2015.

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