NEW DPIC REPORT: Only 2% of Counties Responsible for Majority of U.S. Death Penalty

On October 2 the Death Penalty Information Center released a new report, The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All. The report shows that, contrary to the assumption that the death penalty is widely used in the U.S., only a few jurisdictions employ capital punishment extensively. Only 2% of the counties in the U.S. have been responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions since 1976. Likewise, only 2% of the counties are responsible for the majority of today’s death row population and recent death sentences. The report also noted that aggressive use of the death penalty in relatively few counties produces enormous costs that are shifted to the entire state. “This peculiar exercise of discretion results in enormous expenses being passed on to taxpayers across the state. Moreover, the correlation between the high use of the death penalty and a high rate of error means that courts in these states will be occupied for years with costly appeals and retrials. Some states have recently chosen to opt out of this process, at great savings to their taxpayers.”  For a video about the report, infographics, and more information, visit deathpenaltyinfo.org/twopercent.

(R. Dieter, "The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All," DPIC report released October 2, 2013).  Read the Executive Summary.  Read DPIC's Press Release.  Read full text of the report.  See more DPIC Reports.