Death Sentencing Rates

Sentencing Data

Death Sentencing Rates

Death Sentencing Rate by State

The Death Sentencing Rate is the ratio of death sentences in a state between 1977 and 1999, and the number of murders in that state during approximately the same period.

StateDeath Sentence RateNumber of
Death Sentences,
1977-99
Murders With
Known Offenders,
1976-98

Nevada

0.060

124

2,072

Oklahoma

0.051

257

5,020

Delaware

0.048

30

626

Idaho

0.047

36

773

Arizona

0.043

213

5,007

Alabama

0.038

311

8,190

Mississippi

0.035

144

4,122

Florida

0.034

735

21,837

Ohio

0.028

285

10,142

North Carolina

0.026

327

12,463

Pennsylvania

0.024

316

13,095

Missouri

0.024

158

6,679

Nebraska

0.023

19

831

Georgia

0.022

243

10,912

Oregon

0.022

46

2,132

National Average

0.022

Texas

0.020

776

37,879

Tennessee

0.020

156

7,690

Arkansas

0.020

90

4,523

Illinois

0.019

274

14,710

Utah

0.018

19

1,080

South Carolina

0.016

138

8,451

Indiana

0.016

84

5,289

Louisiana

0.016

158

10,146

Kentucky

0.014

68

4,863

California

0.013

652

49,943

Virginia

0.013

119

9,235

New Jersey

0.010

48

4,710

Washington

0.009

34

3,628

New Mexico

0.008

12

1,480

Maryland

0.007

47

6,606

Colorado

0.004

13

3,256

NOTE: Data are for the 31 states with more than 10 death row enrollees from 1977 through 1999. Death row data are based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics capital punishment data. Murder data are based on the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Reports for 1976–1998, except for a later starting year for three states, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oregon, in which post-Furman death penalties became effective after 1977. The death sentence rate is the number of death sentences divided by the number of murders with a known offender.

SOURCE: John Blume, Theodore Eisenberg, and Martin T. Wells, “Explaining Death Row’s Population and Racial Composition,” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, 165-207, March 2004


Death Sentences Per Capita by State

StatePopulation as of 2010Cumulative Death Sentences 1977 through 2013Death Sentences per Capita (x 10,000)

1. Alabama

4,779,736

457

0.956

2. Oklahoma

3,751,351

309

0.823

3. Mississippi

2,967,297

174

0.586

4. Nevada

2,700,551

151

0.559

5. Delaware*

897,934

47

0.523

6. Florida

18,801,310

941

0.500

7. Arizona

6,392,017

303

0.474

8. North Carolina

9,687,653

447

0.461

9. South Carolina

4,625,364

194

0.419

10. Arkansas

2,915,918

118

0.404

11. Texas

25,145,561

958

0.380

12. Louisiana

4,533,372

161

0.355

13. Missouri

5,988,927

197

0.328

14. Pennsylvania

12,702,379

375

0.295

15. Ohio

11,536,504

331

0.286

16. Tennessee

6,346,105

174

0.274

17. Idaho

1,567,582

42

0.267

18. California

37,253,956

922

0.247

19. Georgia

9,687,653

234

0.241

20. Illinois*

12,830,632

304

0.236

21. Kentucky

4,339,367

85

0.195

22. Oregon

3,831,074

75

0.195

23. Virginia

8,001,024

151

0.188

24. Nebraska

1,826,341

28

0.153

25. Indiana

6,483,802

98

0.151

26. Wyoming

563,626

7

0.124

27. South Dakota

814,180

9

0.110

28. Montana

989,415

10

0.101

29. Maryland*

5,773,552

53

0.091

30. Utah

2,763,885

19

0.068

31. New Mexico*

2,059,179

14

0.067

32. New Jersey*

8,791,894

57

0.064

33. Washington*

6,724,540

39

0.057

34. Connecticut*

3,574,097

16

0.044

35. Kansas**

2,853,118

12

0.042

36. Colorado

5,029,196

15

0.029

37. New Hampshire

1,316,470

1

0.007

38. New York*†

19,378,102

8

0.004

Population based on US Census Bureau 2010 Population Estimates

Death Sentences from Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment Annual Reports

* States that have abolished the Death Penalty

**Kansas reinstated Death Penalty in 1994

† New York reinstated Death Penalty in 1995