Which US States Still Have Capital Punishment, and Who Uses It the Most?

George J. Ziogas

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, remains a controversial topic in the United States. While some argue that it serves as a just punishment for heinous crimes, others argue that it’s ineffective, costly, and inhumane. Despite this ongoing debate, capital punishment remains legal in some states, and those states continue to execute people on death row.

Currently, 27 states in the US still allow capital punishment, while 23 have abolished it. The states that allow the death penalty are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

Texas is widely known as the state that carries out the most executions, with a total of 578 since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. However, the state has recently been surpassed by Oklahoma, for per capita state execution rates. Other states that have executed a significant number of people include Virginia, Florida, and Missouri.

It’s worth noting that the use of the death penalty varies widely among the states that allow it. Some states use it frequently, while others rarely use it. For example, Texas has executed over five times as many people as Virginia, despite Virginia having a larger population. Additionally, some states haven’t executed anyone in years, despite having people on death row. For instance, Wyoming has not executed anyone since 1992, and Idaho has not executed anyone since 2012.

The use of capital punishment is also influenced by factors such as race and socioeconomic status. Studies have shown that people of color are more likely to be sentenced to death than white people, and that people who can’t afford a good defense are more likely to receive the death penalty than those who can. These issues continue to fuel debates about the fairness and effectiveness of the death penalty.

Twenty seven states in the US still allow capital punishment, and the use of the death penalty varies widely among those states. Texas has executed the most people, but Oklahoma has recently surpassed it per capita. The use of the death penalty is influenced by various factors, including race and socioeconomic status, which continue to raise questions about its fairness and effectiveness.

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