The Bureau of Justice Statistics released its latest report on the status of the death penalty in the U.S., Capital Punishment, 2004, on November 13. According to the report, the nation’s death row population, executions, and the number of people given death sentences last year all declined. There were 3,315 people on state and federal death rows at the conclusion of 2004, 63 fewer than in 2003. Last year, 125 people were sentenced to death, the fewest since 1973. Twelve states executed 59 prisoners in 2004, six fewer than in 2003. Those executed had been under a sentence of death for an average of 11 years, which was one month longer than the period for inmates executed in 2003. Of those under a sentence of death in 2004, 56% were white, 42% were black, and 13% were Hispanic (“Hispanic” is counted as an ethnicity, rather than a race). (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment, 2004, November 13, 2005). Read the report Capital Punishment, 2004. See also DPIC’s 2004 Year End Report.

This year, the nation will likely carry out the 1,000th execution since capital punishment was reinstated. For analysis and information about this upcoming event, read DPIC’s Press Release.