Report: Death Sentences In U.S. Drop Sharply In Last Decade

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
December 15, 2011

PHOENIX -- The Death Penalty Information Center study shows that 78 people were sentenced to death this year. It’s the lowest number since the U.S. Supreme Court re-instated capital punishment in the 1970’s.

The report also shows that since 2000, executions have declined by 56 percent.

Richard Dieter is with the Death Penalty Information Center. He says wrongful death convictions and cost are reasons for the decline.

“If the numbers are any indication the public is less supportive and willing to let it go if there is punishment like life without parole," Dieter said. "That’s I think the wave of the future."

Texas executed the most prisoners in 2011. But the state sentenced fewer people to death.

California could vote next year to abolish the death penalty.