State of Texas: The Road to 500 Executions

Dave Mann

State of Texas May 2013

Texas will soon execute its 500th person since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. If the current schedule holds—barring any stays or reprieves—the 500th execution will take place in June. Texas uses the death penalty more than any state, and it isn’t even close. No. 2 on the execution list is Virginia, which has killed just 110 people—and only five since 2010. Texas has executed more people than the next six states—Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, Alabama and Georgia—combined. It wasn’t always so. Texas executed fewer than 10 people a year until 1992, when executions spiked under then-Gov. Ann Richards. They peaked under George W. Bush, who sent 37 people to the death chamber in 1997 and 40 in 2000. The Texans put to death are disproportionately African-American.

Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice and The Death Penalty Information Center

Illustration by Joanna Wojtkowiak

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Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.

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