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.

Reports: 6 — 10

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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Jul 01, 2021

DPIC 2021 MID-YEAR REVIEW: Virginia’s Historic Death Penalty Abolition Accompanies Continuing Record-Low Death Penalty Usage in First Half of Year

The first half of 2021 spot­light­ed two con­tin­u­ing death-penal­ty trends in the United States: the con­tin­u­ing ero­sion of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in law and prac­tice across the coun­try; and the extreme and often law­less con­duct of the few juris­dic­tions that have attempt­ed to car­ry out exe­cu­tions this year. The year began with three exe­cu­tions that con­clud­ed the Trump administration’s unpar­al­leled spree of 13 fed­er­al civil­ian exe­cu­tions in six months and two days, and saw state attempts to revive grue­some, dis­used exe­cu­tion meth­ods and to intro­duce nev­er-before-tried ways of putting pris­on­ers to…

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Dec 16, 2020

The Death Penalty in 2020: Year End Report

2020 was abnor­mal in almost every way, and that was clear­ly the case when it came to cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in the United States. The inter­play of four forces shaped the U.S. death penal­ty land­scape in 2020: the nation’s long-term trend away from cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment; the worst glob­al pan­dem­ic in more than a cen­tu­ry; nation­wide protests for racial jus­tice; and the his­tor­i­cal­ly aber­rant con­duct of the fed­er­al admin­is­tra­tion. At the end of the year, more states had abol­ished the death penal­ty or gone ten years with­out an exe­cu­tion, more coun­ties had elect­ed reform pros­e­cu­tors who pledged nev­er to seek the death penal­ty or to use it more spar­ing­ly; few­er new death sen­tences were imposed than in any pri­or year since the Supreme Court struck down U.S. death penal­ty laws in 1972; and despite a six-month spree of fed­er­al exe­cu­tions with­out par­al­lel in the 20th or 21st cen­turies, few­er exe­cu­tions were car­ried out than in any year in near­ly three decades.

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Oct 23, 2020

DPIC Analysis: Use or Threat of Death Penalty Implicated in 19 Exoneration Cases in 2019

The use or threat of the death penal­ty was a fac­tor in more than 13% of exon­er­a­tions across the United States in 2019 and near­ly 95% of those cas­es involved some form of major mis­con­duct, a Death Penalty Information Center analy­sis of data from the National Registry of Exonerations has revealed. The DPIC review found that the death penal­ty played a role in at least 19 of the 143 exon­er­a­tions in 2019 (13.3%) list­ed in the Registry’s annu­al exon­er­a­tions report, result­ing in near­ly 500 years lost to wrong­ful incar­cer­a­tion. Based…

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