DPIC Releases Interim Death Row Numbers
The Death Penalty Information Center has conducted a survey of death row populations as reported by the various state departments of correction in January/February 2008. From that survey, the current death row population across the country is 3,263. California continues to have the highest death row population with 669 inmates. Florida follows with 388, and Texas has 370 inmates. A state-by-state breakdown appears below.
Except for Illinois and the federal government, these numbers are the official totals from each state's prison system. The death row number for Illinois comes from the Supreme Court Unit of the Public Defender's Office in Springfield, while the federal number comes from the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel and the Federal Defender Organization.
Traditionally, death row statistics have been available from two sources: "Death Row USA," published quarterly by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Capital Punishment Yearly Reports, published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The most recent edition of Death Row USA (DRUSA) was published in January 2007. At that time, DRUSA reported 3,350 inmates. DRUSA includes inmates whose death sentences have been temporarily overturned, but who are awaiting the final disposition of their cases as well as the names, race, and gender of each inmate. The Bureau of Justice Statistics did not publish a Capital Punishment report for 2006. However, they have made their statistical tables available on the Internet (here). According to that source, the death row population at the start of 2007 was 3,228. BJS data do not include prisoners on the military death row. DPIC's death row statistics include the military death row, as obtained from the Appellate Defense Counsel.
DPIC does not intend for its death row census to replace the other sources noted above. Our purpose is to give the public a sense of whether there have been large shifts in death row numbers over the past 14 months, a period in which executions have come to a halt and death sentences remain low compared to a decade ago. We expect to refine our data gathering in the months ahead and we will also report on similar studies by other organizations.
(Posted February 18, 2008). See Death Row and Sentencing. See also State by State Information and Death Row Inmates by State.
State Number of Inmates