Posted on 6/24/19

Capital punishment, also called the death penalty, is legal in 30 states, including Texas. Even more, the Lone Star State, or more particularly Harris County, isnotorious for cracking down exceptionally harsh on capital crimes including murder and homicide. Here are a few statistics and facts about the death penalty that you may not know about this controversial practice.

How Many People Get Executed in the U.S.?

Information from theDeath Penalty Information Center show that 28 people were executed in some eight states between January 18, 2018, and February 28, 2019. In 2018, there were 42 people sentenced to death in the U.S. court system. The death penalty was reinstated in 1976 and 1,493 people have been executed since then. 16 of those deaths were women.

When it comes to juveniles and the death penalty, 22 were executed between 1976 and 2005. Execution for people younger than 15 when they committed the crime has been declared unconstitutional. The same has been declared for execution of mentally challenged and mentally ill defendants.

Death Row by the Numbers


The Criminal Justice Project states that 2,738 people are currently incarcerated and facing future execution. Of those individuals, 55 of them are women. However, not all of those people will actually be executed. Only 10% of the people on death row were executed last year. Clemency, pardons, appeals, and other processes can aid a person in avoiding execution, even after being sentenced to death row.

What is Clemency?

Since 1976, approximately 288 people have received clemency. This is a form of mercy that the state provides via the governor, or federal crimes via the president. While an exoneration or pardon may be part of a clemency, it does not necessarily have to be. Clemency sometimes means that the person will stay in prison, but not face execution. Since 1973, there have been 164 death row exonerations. This means the individuals were absolved of their crime, the convictions reversed, and they were released from prison.

How are Executions Performed?

There are a variety of executions that have been performed legally in recent years. These include:

  • Lethal injection using a group of drugs (this is used in most states, including Texas)

  • Electrocution with an electric chair (used last in Virginia in 2013)

  • A firing squad (used last in Utah in 2010)

  • Hanging (used last in Delaware in 1996)

Execution is an extreme punishment and has long been a source of controversy.For criminals convicted in Texas, the death penalty is a much more serious prospect. Since 1976, Texas has executed more of their prisoners than any other state. Nearly 550 people have been sentenced to death, which his more than one-third of all the sentences in the U.S. Since 1982, this extreme punishment has been handed down to 280 people in Harris County alone and 116 executions have been completed in this one county.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal charges in Texas, it is imperative that you have experienced legal representation on your side. Contact the attorneys atAbel Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

(image courtesy of David von Diemar)

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