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Methods of Execution
(click the state to get specific information about the methods authorized)
|Lethal Injection||1261||33 states + U.S. Military and U.S. Gov't||
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,* Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico*, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, U.S. Military, U.S. Government
*New Mexico and Nebraska abolished the death penalty but their repeals may not apply retroactively, leaving inmates on death row facing possible execution.
To find the drug protocols used by states, see State-by-State Lethal Injection.
|Electrocution||158||8 states (all have lethal injection as primary method).||
The supreme courts of Georgia (2001) and Nebraska (2008) have ruled that the use of the electric chair violates their state constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. UPDATE: In 2014, Tenn. passed legislation allowing imposition of the electric chair if lethal injection drugs cannot be obtained.
|Gas Chamber||11||5 states (all have lethal injection as primary method)||Arizona, California, Missouri, [Wyoming], [Oklahoma] UPDATE: On April 17, 2015, Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation allowing the state to use nitrogen gas as a form of execution if either the drugs for lethal injection are unavailable or if lethal injection is struck down by the courts.|
|Hanging||3||3 states (all have lethal injection as primary method)||Delaware, New Hampshire, Washington|
|Firing Squad||3||2 states (all have lethal injection as primary method)||
Oklahoma offers firing squad only if lethal injection and electrocution are found unconstitutional.
NOTE: states in [brackets] authorize the listed method only if a current method is found unconstitutional (see state description, below, for more information).
(Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment 2011; updated by DPIC)