The Death Penalty in 2006: Year End Report

Posted on Dec 14, 2006

Overview Up

The use of the death penalty in the U.S. continued to decline in 2006, consistent with a pattern over the past six years. Executions dropped to their lowest level in 10 years as many states grappled with problems related to wrongful convictions and the lethal injection process. The number of death sentences and the size of death row are also decreasing. And for the first time, the Gallup Poll reported that more people supported a sentence of life without parole over the death penalty.

In 2006, New Jersey became the first jurisdiction to enact a moratorium on executions through legislation; it appointed a study commission to review its capital punishment system. In Illinois, a moratorium on all executions continued for the seventh year. New York’s death penalty, overturned in 2004, was not reinstated. North Carolina and California, while not halting executions, began legislative studies of their capital punishment systems.