The Bureau of Justice Statistics typically releases an annual report entitled “Capital Punishment” containing tables and information on the death penalty for the previous year. Although BJS, which is part of the Department of Justice, did not publish a separate report for 2006, it did release information in tabular form that quantifies death penalty practice in the U.S. Information drawn from BJS’s recent tables includes:

  • The number of people on death row declined from 3,245 in 2005 to 3,228 in 2006.
  • The number of people received under sentence of death in 2006 was 115, of whom 72 were white and 42 were black. The 115 death sentences was the lowest number since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
  • The South had the greatest number of death sentences: 71 (62% of the U.S. total), followed by the West with 25, the Midwest with 10, and the Northeast with 4 (all in Pennsylvania). There were 5 federal death sentences.
  • There were 53 executions in the U.S. in 2006, including 44 (83%) in the South.
  • 11% of those on death row in 2006 were of Hispanic origin.
  • 51% of those on death row had not graduated from high school; only 9% had any college education.
  • 91.6% of those on death row had no prior homicide conviction.
  • The average time between sentencing and execution for all those executed since 1976 was 10.5 years.
  • The average time between sentencing and execution for all those executed in 2006 was 12.1 years.

(See Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment, 2006 - Statistical Tables, released Dec. 17, 2007). See also DPIC’s 2007 Year End Report.