Governments Should Not Kill Citizens
When US Governments Kill Their Own Citizens
Some facts about the death penalty in the United States. (Sources: the Death Penalty Information Center and the US Department of Justice.)
Thirty-eight state governments declare themselves "allowed" to kill citizens, although some have not done this for many years.
States that until the recent Supreme Court decision against it, allowed killings of mentally retarded citizens: Alabama, California, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Wyoming, Utah and Virginia.
States that allow executions but had outlawed executing mentally retarded people: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington. The federal government also has prohibited execution of mentally retarded people.
* Illinois Gov. George Ryan in 2000 declared the first state moratorium on the death penalty, citing the release of 13 death row inmates who were found to have been unfairly convicted.
* Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening in May banned executions during his final eight months in office.
* Currently, 18 states plus the federal government forbid killings of mentally retarded citizens. They are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington. New York has a ban except for murder by a prisoner.
* Twelve state governments do not have the death penalty. They are Alaska, Maine, Minnesota, Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota, West Virginia, Iowa, Michigan, Rhode Island, Wisconsin. The District of Columbia also does not have the death penalty.
* Thirty-two states and the federal government have killed 782 citizens between the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 and the end of 2001. (This does not count government killings of people who had not been convicted of a crime.)
* The five state governments that killed the most citizens during that period were Texas, 256; Virginia, 83; Missouri, 53; Florida, 51, and Oklahoma, 48.
* There are about 3,700 prisoners on death row in the United States.
* About 45 percent of death row inmates are white, 43 percent are black, 9 percent are Hispanic and about 3 percent are listed as "other."
* In 2000, the latest year statistics are available, the youngest death row inmate was 18; the oldest was 85.
* Fifty-four women were on death row in 2000, up from 35 in 1990.
Also see Fred Foldvary's editorial on Capital Punishment
Which state governments are morally correct, the ones that kill or the ones that refuse to kill? Why? How does a government acquire a right to do something? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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