State of Texas: Decline of the Death Penalty

Joanna Wojtkowiak

maystateoftexas2014

The number of death sentences in Texas has been declining in Texas recently. Experts attribute the reduction to a number of factors, including the cost of death penalty cases, U.S. Supreme Court rulings restricting who can be executed, and defense attorneys’ use of mitigating evidence about defendants’ difficult upbringings. Another factor is that juries can now sentence convicted murderers to life without the possibility of parole, an option Texas instituted in 2005. Since then, as life-without-parole sentences increased, the number of convicts headed to death row has dropped.

Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Illustration by Joanna Wojtkowiak

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