16 March 2022 :
The latest edition of "Death Row USA" Drusa has been published. State Death Rows Drop Below 2,400 For First Time Since 1990.
The report, “Death Row USA Winter 2022”, is updated to January 1, 2022.
The number of people sentenced to death or facing continuing jeopardy of execution in pending capital retrial or resentencing proceedings in U.S. states has dropped below 2,400 for the first time since 1990.
In its Winter 2022 edition of Death Row USA (DRUSA), LDF reported that the number of people on state death rows or facing possible capital resentencing in state courts across the United States had fallen to 2,388 as of January 1, 2022, down from 2,406 on October 1, 2021. That matched the total facing active death sentences or possible capital resentencings in state courts in September 1990, the last time LDF reported fewer than 2,400 people facing continuing jeopardy of death in U.S. state courts.
With 48 people on U.S. federal or military death rows, LDF reported 2,436 people on U.S. death rows or facing jeopardy of being resentenced to death as of January 1, 2022. That total was down by 92 from LDF’s Winter 2021 report and was the lowest total since January 1991 when 2,412 people were on U.S. state or federal death rows or faced jeopardy of being resentenced to death. Death row peaked at 3,717 in the July 2001 DRUSA report and has declined by 1,281, or 34.5%, since then. Death row has declined in size in the United States every year for the past 21 years.
LDF found that the capital convictions or death sentences of 218 people listed in its report have been reversed, subject to prosecutorial appeal or retrial or resentencing proceedings.
Excluding those individuals, the number of people in the United States facing active death sentences fell to 2,218, from its total of 2,296 in January 2021. Historically, the most likely outcome of a death sentence imposed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court struck down existing capital punishment statutes in 1972 is that the conviction or death sentence will be overturned and the defendant will be resentenced to life imprisonment or less.
LDF reported that 887 people, or 36.4% of those on death row or facing capital resentencing as of January 1, 2022 were in jurisdictions with moratoria on executions. Subtracting those on death row in the moratorium jurisdictions — California, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and the federal civilian death penalty — and those whose death sentences have been reversed, LDF calculated that there were 1,385 currently enforceable sentences. 1,051 death sentences are currently unenforceable, either because the death sentence has been overturned or the prisoner is in a jurisdiction with a moratorium on executions. That total represents 43.1% of all active cases in which a death sentence has been imposed.
California’s death row declined to 692 prisoners but remained more than double the size of death row in any other state. It was followed by Florida (330), Texas (199), and Alabama (170). Nationwide, 42.4% of death-row prisoners were white, 40.1% were Black, 13.8% Latinx, 1.9% Asian, and 1.0% were Native American. Among states with at least 10 prisoners on death row, Texas (73.4%), Louisiana (72.6%), California (67.1%), Nebraska (66.7%), and Mississippi (62.2%) were the states with the highest percentage of individuals of color on death row. Two percent of all death-row prisoners are women.