Minorities: Crime

Overall national number of prisoners sentenced to the death penalty separated by race.
Overall national number of prisoners sentenced to the death penalty separated by race.  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

Economy Contributes to Seeking Death Penalty Alternatives
Published Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Recently, Death Penalty alternatives have been sought in Georgia and a bill has been introduced in Washington State and Kansas to abolish the penalty. Under Georgia law, the only way to keep a murderer locked up is to mount a death penalty case or get a murder conviction against a defendant with a prior violent felony conviction. The legislation moving through the General Assembly would give District Attorneys the option of seeking a life without parole sentence without having to seek the death penalty first. Fairness of the application of the Death Penalty and the money saved from not mounting capitol cases are the major reasons for the law’s change in Georgia. Both Kansas and Washington are citing the state’s budget woes as an incentive—both potentially saving between $100,000 to $500,000+ per case—to do away with the penalty and institute life without parole.

The number of those under the sentence of death for all races has leveled off since 2003 after experiencing a steady increase after the 1972 temporary cessation of the death penalty. The main focus of the 1972 Furman vs. Georgia Case was the race disparities found in the application of the penalty. However, the disparities still persist as the Black population has been sentenced to death nearly four times that of the white population and seventeen times that of the Hispanics and other minorities.

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U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Capital Punishment - http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cp.htm
Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2005 and of persons executed in 2005. Preliminary data on executions by States during 2006 are included. The report also summarizes the movement of prisoners into and out of death sentence status during 2005. It presents data on offenders' sex, race, Hispanic origin, education, marital status, age at time of arrest for the capital offense, legal status at time of the offense, methods of execution, trends, and time between imposition of death sentence and execution.

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Department of Justice: Office for Victims of Crime - http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/welcovc/welcome.html
The mission of OVC is to enhance the Nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims.