Size of Death Row Continues to Decline
According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's quarterly report, Death Row U.S.A., the number of people on death rows around the country declined again as of July 1, 2005. The latest count of inmates is 3,415, down from 3,452 as of April 1 and down considerably from the 3,692 inmates recorded on October 1, 2002. About 54.5% of those on death row are members of racial minorities. Pennsylvania (70%) and Texas (69%) had the largest percentage of minority defendants on death row.
Among the states with largest declines were Texas (-27), North Carolina (-5) and Alabama (-4). Some of the declines are due to juvenile offenders being removed from death row in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons (2005). Not all such juveniles have been taken off death row.