The death penalty in the United States of America is a concept that is now somewhat known as an American tradition. However, it has been on a long-term decline, despite the rise in executions in 2018. Capital punishment in the US is practiced in almost all states in the form of lethal injections and electrocuting chairs. In 2018, twenty-five criminals were executed while forty-eight were put on death row or assigned the death penalty. The previous year had twenty-nine executions and thirty-nine death penalties. This is the fourth year where executions are less than 30 and where the death penalty is assigned to less than 50 people. This information has been obtained through a report released by the death penalty information center.
Robert Dunham, the executive director of the death penalty information center, says that the numbers within a year fluctuate which is why it is essential to consider the long term over view. To which he believes that what is being witnessed is the “continuation of the erosion of capital punishment in the United States”.
The figure of executions and the number of people on death row were at their peak in the late 90s. In 1999, there were ninety-eight executions and three hundred and fifteen death penalties in 1996. This was due to the drug epidemic and urban crimes in the US. In comparison to this the numbers are now much lower. Most states still have the option of death penalty sentencing, but only a few resort to it.
Only a few states in 2018 carried out almost half the executions for the US. In California and Ohio there were 5 executions. While Florida and Texas had 7.
Experts believe that with a decline in capital punishment, more and more states will ban it and refuse to practice it. In 2018, Washington became the 20th state to abolish capital punishment by declaring it to be unconstitutional.
Public support for capital punishment has changed since the 1990s. At that time, almost 80 percent of people believed that capital punishment was acceptable and should be given to those who deserve it. However, in 2018, research shows that only 56 percent of Americans support capital punishment while almost 41 percent oppose it. Also, when it comes to the death penalty being applied fairly, almost 49% believe that death penalty is given in fairness while the rest believe it is not. These numbers are very different from what they were in the 1990s.
Both republicans and democrats agree that death penalty is a risky, questionable and guilt inducing decision that people want to move away from. People are now beginning to see that innocents can get targeted within this unfair system and have decided to stop supporting the death penalty to protect them.