A new statistical brief reports that 33 states and the federal Bureau of Prisons held a total of 2,881 inmates under sentence of death at the end of 2015, 61 fewer than at year’s end in 2014. It was the 15th consecutive year in which the number of condemned inmates decreased, according to “Capital Punishment, 2014-2015,” by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. Fourteen states and the federal system received a total of 49 inmates under sentence of death in 2015.
Other key findings from 2015 year-end data: Six states executed 28 inmates. Twenty-one states removed 82 inmates from under sentence of death by means other than execution. Overall, 20 states held fewer inmates under sentence of death than a year earlier, five states and the federal system held more inmates, and nine held the same number. The largest decline in inmates under a death sentence occurred in Texas (down 17), followed by Georgia (down eight), and Missouri (down seven). The governor of Maryland commuted the sentences of the four remaining inmates under sentence of death in the state.