DPIC in the Media

For three decades, DPIC has served the media with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center’s reports and press releases are widely quoted and consulted by reporters in the United States and around the globe. The following is a sample of some our most notable recent media coverage:

According to the Death Penalty Information Center’s annual report, 2017 saw the second-lowest number of death sentences since 1972, with 39… These trends mean that the number of people on death row fell for the 17th straight year, from about 2,900 to about 2,800.

- Editorial Board, Washington Post


“There will be times when numbers fluctuate—particularly following historic highs or lows—but the steady long-term decline in the death penalty since the 1990s suggests that in most of the country, the death penalty is becoming obsolete,” said Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

- Lauren Gill, Newsweek


Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that allowing death sentences without a unanimous decision “creates a heightened risk that an innocent person will be sentenced to death.”

- Rick Rojas, New York Times


Colorado’s action exemplifies the trend we are seeing in states across the country, which is a continuing movement away from capital punishment, first in practice, then in law, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a clearinghouse on capital punishment data.

That is not a surprise. Public support for capital punishment has been thinning and is near a generational low. America’s views of criminal justice have experienced a sea change, and in state legislatures, the issue has become increasingly bipartisan.

- David K. Li, NBC News


“Everything that goes wrong in the criminal system goes wrong worse in capital cases,” Dunham said. “Generally speaking, the more high-profile a case is, the more prone it is to government misconduct. There is greater public pressure and greater political pressure to solve the case and to convict somebody. There is greater political gain to a prosecutor who has ambitions beyond his office.”

- Samantha Melamed, The Philadelphia Inquirer


Since the 1970s, more than 160 people sentenced to death have been exonerated across the country, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. That means for every nine executions, one person on death row is exonerated.

“That’s an alarming rate of error,” Dunham said. “If planes crashed with that frequency, you can bet that we would completely re-examine our federal aviation system.”

- Luke Nozika, Kansas City Star


“The long-term trend seems consistent. It looks as though we are going to remain with a comparatively low number of executions and a comparatively low number of new death sentences,” Robert Dunham, the center’s executive director, said.

- Jon Herskovitz, Reuters