The idea of capital punishment has always been an area of great debate. Already, 16 states and the District of Columbia have abolished its use. Many in California are hoping to make The Golden State No. 17.
A bill is currently being drafted by Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock that would amend the state law and move all inmates currently on death row to instead serve life in prison without parole. This bill is expected to reach the governor’s desk this fall and could possibly make its debut on the ballot in 2012. Proponents of this bill claim that millions of dollars will be saved by not fighting for the use of the death penalty.
Here is a look at all 50 states and where they currently stand in regards to the death penalty. The differences between states may shock you.
Alabama – The death penalty is currently an option in Alabama. Inmates have a choice between lethal injection and the electric chair. Since 1976, a total of 53 inmates have been executed and 203 remain on death row.
Alaska – The death penalty is not allowed in Alaska.
Arizona – The death penalty is currently used in Arizona. Since 1976, a total of 27 inmates have been executed by either the gas chamber or lethal injection and another 137 remain on death row.
Arkansas – Since 1976, a total of 27 inmates have been executed in Arkansas and another 43 remain on death row. The current method of execution is lethal injection.
California – California has executed 13 inmates since 1976 and currently has the largest death row populations at 714. Inmates have their choice of either lethal injection or the gas chamber.
Colorado – Colorado does allow for the death penalty, but only one inmate has been executed since 1976 and currently only three inmates are on death row. Inmates are executed by way of lethal injection.
Connecticut – Only one inmate has been executed since 1976, and nine currently remain on death row. Inmates are executed by way of lethal injection.
Delaware – Delaware currently allows the death penalty and currently holds 20 inmates on death row. 14 others have been executed since 1976. Inmates are executed by means of lethal injection unless the crime was committed before 1986. In that gas hanging can be chosen by the inmate.
Florida – Florida has executed 69 inmates since 1976, and a further 394 reside on death row. Inmates may choose between electrocution or injection.
Georgia – Georgia currently allows executions by means of lethal injection. To date, 50 inmates have been executed and another 103 are living on death row.
Hawaii – Hawaii does not allow the use of capital punishment.
Idaho – Idaho currently uses lethal injection to execute inmates. Since 1976, only one execution has been performed but 16 others currently reside on death row.
Illinois – Illinois has executed 12 inmates since 1976, but currently does not allow capital punishment. Capital punishment was formally abolished in 2011.
Indiana – Indiana has performed 20 executions since 1976 and currently holds 14 inmates on death row. Inmates are executed by lethal injection.
Iowa – Iowa does not allow the use of the death penalty.
Kansas – Although Kansas began allowing the death penalty in 1994, no inmate has been executed. Death row currently holds nine inmates awaiting death by lethal injection.
Kentucky – Inmates are executed by means of lethal injection. Three executions have been performed since 1976, and currently 35 inmates are serving time on death row.
Louisiana – 28 inmates have been executed since 1976 and another 86 are awaiting execution. Inmates are executed by lethal injection.
Maine – Maine does not allow lethal injection. The use was abolished in 1887.
Maryland – Lethal injection is used to execute inmates on death row. Five have been executed since 1976, and another five are awaiting execution.
Massachusetts – This state does not allow the use of the death penalty. The use was abolished in 1984.
Michigan – Michigan has not allowed the death penalty since 1846, making it the first state in the Union to official abolish it.
Minnesota – Minnesota officially abolished the death penalty in 1911.
Mississippi – Execution is allowed by lethal injection and 15 inmates have been executed in this way since 1976. Another 59 inmates populate death row.
Missouri – Missouri allows inmates the choice of gas chamber or lethal injection. Since 1976, there have been 128 inmates placed on death row. 68 of them have been executed.
Montana – Montana has executed three inmates by lethal injection. Two others are waiting for their sentence to be carried out.
Nebraska – The death penalty is allowed in Nebraska and since 1976, three inmates have been executed by lethal injection. 12 others currently sit on death row.
Nevada – 12 inmates have been executed in Nevada since 1976. Another 80 are currently on death row. The current method of execution is lethal injection.
New Hampshire – New Hampshire has allowed for the death penalty since 1991, but it has not been used. Only one person is currently on death row.
New Jersey – New Jersey began allowing the death penalty in 1982, but it was formally abolished in 2007 without ever being used.
New Mexico – New Mexico abolished capital punishment in 2009, but the move was not retroactive, so two inmates are still on death row. One person was executed before it was abolished.
New York – New York does not allow the use of the death penalty. It was abolished in 2007.
North Carolina – 43 inmates have been executed since 1976 and another 166 are on death row. Lethal injection is used in this state.
North Dakota – The death penalty was abolished in 1973 in North Dakota.
Ohio – Ohio has executed 45 inmates since 1976, and a further 160 are on death row. Lethal injection is the current method of execution.
Oklahoma – 96 inmates have been executed in this state since 1976 and another 81 are on death row. Injection is the primary method for execution.
Oregon – Oregon began allowing lethal injection in 1996 and since that time, two have been executed. Another 34 remain on death row.
Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania has only executed three inmates since 1976 but currently holds 220 on death row.
Rhode Island – In 1984, Rhode Island officially abolished the death penalty.
South Carolina – South Carolina allows its death row inmates the choice of injection or electric chair. So far, 43 inmates have had to make that choice and another 63 are still on death row.
South Dakota – 1 person has been executed and three others are on death row. Lethal injection is the method used in South Dakota.
Tennessee – Capital punishment is allowed and six have been executed since 1976. Another 88 are currently on death row.
Texas – Texas has more death sentences than any other state. Since 1976, a total of 471 have been executed and a further 322 are on death row. Lethal injection is the only method allowed.
Utah – Utah allows for the death penalty and since 1976, a total of seven have been executed. Nine others are still on death row.
Vermont – Vermont does not allow the death penalty. It was abolished in 1964.
Virginia – Inmates can choose between the electric chair and lethal injection in this state. A total of 108 have been executed since 1976, and 11 others are on death row.
Washington – Washington is the only state that allows for hanging. Inmates may also choose lethal injection. Since 1976, five have been executed, nine others are still on death row.
West Virginia – The death penalty has been abolished since 1965.
Wisconsin – The death penalty was abolished in 1853 in Wisconsin.
Wyoming – Wyoming does allow for the death penalty, but it has only been used once since 1976 and only one person remains on death row. Lethal injection is the primary means of execution.