Inmates Spend an Average 18.7 Years on Death Row: BJS

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While the number of prisoners held under a death sentence declined for the 19th consecutive year, as of the end of 2019, prisoners carrying a death penalty sentence have been on Death Row for an average of 18.7 years — with 98 percent of those individuals being men, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) disclosed in its latest report on capital punishment data for 2019. The report noted that 22 people were executed that year. Looking specifically at the prisoners executed during 2019, the BJS reports that they had been on death row for an average of 22 years. A closer look at the demographics of the individuals executed, revealed that of the 22 people executed, 15 of them identified as white, and seven identified as Black.

In terms of geographics, the state of Texas carried out 41 percent of the 2019 executions — putting nine prisoners to death, six who identified as white, and three who identified as Black. Also in 2019, New Hampshire repealed the state’s death penalty, but it was prospective, leaving one man still sentenced to death. New Mexico also repealed the death penalty, and resentenced all those on Death Row to life terms. An advance count of the 2020 numbers noted in the latest BJS report shows 17 executions, which is five less than 2019’s executions. The 2019 BJS report, related documents, and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs are available on their website.

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