Sentencing Data

Death Sentences in the United States Since 1977

By State and By Year

SOURCES: 1977-2013 See Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, Capital Punishment Annual Reports (for those persons sentenced to death more than once, only the most recent sentence is counted).

*Sentencing numbers post-2013 based on DPIC research.

Each year, DPIC collects information on the number of death sentences in the United States. We contact state agencies, state death penalty organizations, and death penalty litigators, and review news reports to confirm the numbers. We only count the number of “new sentences,” i.e., we do not recount individuals who were sentenced to death in a previous year, had their sentenced overturned, and were resentenced in the current year. Sentences are only counted when a judge imposes the sentence, even though a jury may have returned a death verdict earlier.

NOTE: The Bureau of Justice Statistics makes revisions to its national annual totals in subsequent reports, but does not provide information on which states’ totals have changed. The totals at the bottom of the chart are the most recent available. There may be a slight discrepancy with the totals at the bottom from the totals based on individual states. The regional breakdowns are based on BJS classifications.


National Death Sentences by Year

(Bureau of Justice Statistics)

YearSentences
197342
1974149
1975298

1976

232

1977

137

1978

183

1979

150

1980

172

1981

223

1982

265

1983

252

1984

286

1985

258

1986

301

1987

288

1988

287

1989

255

1990

250

1991

267

1992

283

1993

290

1994

311

1995

310

1996

315

1997

266

1998

295

1999

279

2000

223

2001

153

2002

166

2003

151

2004

138

2005

140

2006

123

2007

126

2008

120

2009

118

2010

114

2011

85

2012

82

2013

83

2014

73

2015

49

2016

31

2017

39

2018

42

TOTAL

8,700