DPIC Reports

Below are reports released by the Death Penalty Information Center since its incep­tion, cov­er­ing sub­jects such as race, inno­cence, politi­ciza­tion, costs of the death penal­ty, and more. When open­ing a report, please allow the report page to load ful­ly before select­ing links to sec­tions or foot­notes. Most of these reports are also avail­able in print­ed form from DPIC. For a copy of one of these reports, e‑mail DPIC. For bulk orders, please down­load our Resource Order Form.

Reports are sep­a­rat­ed into Year End Reports, In-Depth Reports, and Special Reports. In-Depth Reports are DPIC’s sig­na­ture long, thor­ough reports on major death-penal­ty issues. These include The 2% Death Penalty,” exam­in­ing geo­graph­ic arbi­trari­ness in cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, and Behind the Curtain,” cov­er­ing secre­cy in the death penal­ty sys­tem. Special Reports are short­er, and typ­i­cal­ly address a spe­cif­ic event or ques­tion. These include DPIC’s expla­na­tion of the 2017 spate of exe­cu­tions that were sched­uled in Arkansas, and our analy­sis of the largest num­ber of exe­cu­tions per­formed on a sin­gle day.



Feb 18, 2021

DPIC Special Report: The Innocence Epidemic

In 1993, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights con­duct­ed hear­ings on what was then a rel­a­tive­ly unknown ques­tion: How sig­nif­i­cant was the risk that inno­cent peo­ple were being wrong­ful­ly con­vict­ed and sen­tenced to death in the United States. After tak­ing tes­ti­mo­ny from four exonerees who had been wrong­ful­ly con­demned to death row, Representative Don Edwards, the sub­com­mit­tee chair­man, asked the Death Penalty Information Center to research the issue and com­pile infor­ma­tion on how fre­quent­ly these mis­car­riages of jus­tice were occur­ring and what were the rea­sons why.

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Jun 16, 2023

Doomed to Repeat: The Legacy of Race in Tennessee’s Contemporary Death Penalty

The his­tor­i­cal use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in Tennessee shows a clear con­nec­tion between the extra­ju­di­cial lynch­ings of the 1800s and 1900s and the state sanc­tioned death penal­ty prac­tices of today. As one lynch­ing expert notes, “[l]ocal tra­di­tions, sit­u­a­tions, and per­son­al­i­ties must be con­sid­ered in any attempt to explain pat­terns of lynch­ing.…” This empha­sis on local­i­ty par­al­lels mod­ern death penal­ty trends in Tennessee — as well as the rest of the nation — where­in death sen­tenc­ing is heav­i­ly depen­dent on local cul­ture, pros­e­cu­tors, and per­cep­tions. An impor­tant lega­cy from the lynch­ing era and ear­ly executions…

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Dec 16, 2022

The Death Penalty in 2022: Year End Report

Note: In March 2023, DPIC learned of one addi­tion­al death sen­tence that was imposed in 2022: Leo Boatman, a white male defen­dant, was sen­tenced to death on November 9, 2022 in Bradford County, Florida, for the mur­der of Billy Chapman, a white male. Boatman’s death sen­tence brings the total to 21. The text below does not reflect that death sentence.

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Oct 14, 2022

Deeply Rooted: How Racial History Informs Oklahoma’s Death Penalty

Oklahoma’s death penal­ty is at a cross­roads. On August 25, 2022, Oklahoma exe­cut­ed the first per­son in a series of 25 exe­cu­tions set to occur near­ly every month through 2024. The pro­ject­ed increase in exe­cu­tions in Oklahoma comes while the death penal­ty is in decline nation­wide; 2021 had the fewest exe­cu­tions since 1988. Furthermore, Oklahoma’s planned exe­cu­tions are sched­uled to move for­ward despite evi­dence that there are seri­ous prob­lems with Oklahoma’s death penal­ty that the state has done lit­tle to address.

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Jul 01, 2022

DPIC 2022 Mid-Year Review: Geographic Isolation of Death Penalty Continues Amidst Eight-Year Trend of Minimal Use

Long-term trends con­tin­ued in the first half of 2022, with new death sen­tences and exe­cu­tions both on pace for con­tin­ued his­toric lows. Use of the death penal­ty was con­fined to a small num­ber of states that have his­tor­i­cal­ly been heavy users of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. The unavail­abil­i­ty of exe­cu­tion drugs and the inabil­i­ty of states to com­pe­tent­ly car­ry out exe­cu­tions con­tin­ued to shape exe­cu­tions and poli­cies across the coun­try, as pris­on­ers con­tin­ued to chal­lenge lethal-injec­tion pro­to­cols and states halt­ed sched­uled exe­cu­tions. At the same time, a small num­ber of states undertook…

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Dec 16, 2021

The Death Penalty in 2021: Year End Report

Key Findings Virginia becomes 23rd state, and first in the South, to abol­ish the death penal­ty Seventh con­sec­u­tive year with few­er than 30 exe­cu­tions and 50 new death sen­tences New study finds one exon­er­a­tion for every 8.3 exe­cu­tions Federal exe­cu­tion spree ends, new admin­is­tra­tion halts all fed­er­al exe­cu­tions and announces pol­i­cy review

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