EXECUTIONS: The U.S. in Mid-Year 2012

In the first half of 2012, eight states carried out 23 executions. In the same period last year, there were 25 executions in 9 states. The annual number of executions has declined significantly from its peak in 1999, when 98 people were executed. There were 43 executions in 2011. Sixteen of this year’s executions (70%) have been in the South, with nearly half in just two states - Texas and Mississippi. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of cases resulting in executions this year involved a murder with a white victim, even though generally whites are victims of murder less than 50% of the time in the U.S. Inmates executed so far this year spent an average of just over 18 years on death row prior to execution. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average time between sentencing and execution for those executed in 2010 was 15 years, the longest period for any single year. States have continued to alter their execution protocols due to ongoing shortages of certain execution drugs. All executions in 2012 have been by lethal injection. This year Arizona and Idaho joined Ohio and Washington in using a one-drug lethal injection procedure. All executions this year have used pentobarbital, a drug not used in executions prior to December 2010.

(DPIC, posted July 3, 2012). For more information about lethal injection drugs and procedures, visit DPIC’s page on Lethal Injection. Also see our State-by-state lethal injection page. Visit our 2012 Execution List for information about each execution, or see generally Executions.