The death penalty is considered to be one of the most potent forms of punishment, given to heinous crimes and similar cases. Although it is prevalent in different parts of the world, in recent years’ things have been changing. The rousing debate around the death penalty has been signalling towards its abolishment. People from around the world tend to believe that there is no place for the same in a democratic setup. But the practice is yet to call it quits with governments enforcing the same on some instances. On that note, let us now look into a few of the top facts about the death penalty.
1. USA’s New Stance
In 2017, for the second year in a row, the U.S. was not among the world’s top five countries in executions. Based on a list published by Amnesty International, the U.S. ranked eight internationally behind numerous countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and so on. On an overall basis, the year 2017 witnessed around 993 executions compared to 1,032 executions in 2016. But the report also came under backlash since certain countries are well-known for concealing death penalty proceedings.
2. The Sharp Fall
A sharp fall in the number of executions is widely visible in the U.S. The nation hit its peak in 1999 with 98 executions, but since then the graph has drastically gone down. In the year 2019, around 22 people were executed compared to 25 executions for the year 2018. So by all means, the annual number of executions in the U.S. is below its peak. These figures may or may not be an indication of the widespread backlash that the practice has been facing over the course of time.
3. A Divide
A divide in opinion is quite visible when it comes to the topic of the death penalty. Around 59% of whites, 36% of blacks and 47% of Hispanics favour the practice. On the other hand, Catholics and other individuals without religious affiliations are more divided on the topic. With the Vatican changing its teachings to oppose the death penalty, followers are keener on going against the practice. Coming to the political front, one must know that Republicans are more than twice as likely to support the death penalty when compared to democrats.
4. An Uncertain Ground
The outcome and the process of execution are two aspects that many tend to doubt. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in the year 2015, about six-in-ten adults believe that the death penalty does not prevent people from committing serious crimes. Apart from that, people also believe that minorities are more likely to get sentenced to death for similar crimes when compared to the majority.