The number of U.S. executions dropped 10 percent this year to a total of 39, the Death Penalty Information Center said today, reports Politico. Nine states executed inmates, with 59 percent of the executions in Texas and Florida. In 2013, Texas carried out 16 executions and Florida had seven. In total, the number of executions fell below 40 for only the second time in nearly two decades. Last year, 43 people were executed.
The center, which opposes capital punishment cited “the ongoing problem that states have had in finding a consistent means of carrying out executions” as one of the major reasons for fewer executions this year. Several states have not had an execution in more than seven years because of their inability to settle on a lethal injection protocol, and federal executions are on hold for the same reason. Many drugs used in lethal injections are manufactured in Europe, where opposition to the death penalty has resulted in a ban on exporting drugs for executions, said the center. As of April 1, there were 3,108 inmates on death row compared with 3,170 in 2012.