Fewer Americans want the death penalty, but more executions may come
Americans are finding themselves less and less in favor of the death penalty, according to the Pew Research Center, which published a new study that found 55 percent of the country’s adults are in favor. This is a drop from 62 percent in 2011, Pew said.
“Public support for capital punishment has ebbed and flowed over time, as indicated by polls going all the way back to the 1930s,” Pew reported. “But it has been gradually ticking downward for the past two decades, since Pew Research began collecting survey data on this issue.”
Religious groups were found to be heavily in favor of capital punishment, with 67 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 64 percent of white mainline Protestants favoring the death penalty. About 59 percent of white Catholics also approve of capital punishment, Pew reported.
“The differences among religious groups reflect the overall racial and ethnic picture on support for capital punishment,” according to Pew, which found that whites are more in favor of the death penalty than blacks by a 63 to 30 percent margin.
This comes at the same time as a CNN report that said executions are on the rise across the globe by 15 percent.
"The virtual killing sprees we saw in countries like Iran and Iraq were shameful," Amnesty International's Secretary General Salil Shetty said in a statement, according to CNN. "[T]hose states who cling to the death penalty are on the wrong side of history and are, in fact, growing more and more isolated."
The United States executed 39 people in 2013, which is a drop from 43 people in 2012, CNN reported. Texas accounted for “more than 40 percent of all American executions,” CNN said. The Washington Post recently published a map that shows where every execution since 1977 happened, with the bulk of them taking place in the Southeast of the United States.
Florida may be pushed up the list in the future, The Daily Beast reported. A new law — The Timely Justice Act — in the Sunshine State was created to push “inmates into the execution chamber as quickly as possible once their appeals have been exhausted,” The Daily Beast reported. Not only did Florida have the most death sentences in the country in 2013, but the state holds the all-time record for most “convicted death row prisoners turning out to have been innocent,” The Daily Beast reported.
This isn’t sitting well with activists, or Chiara Sangiorgio, the death penalty campaigner for Amnesty International, a human rights advocacy group, according The Daily Beast.
“Florida’s Timely Justice Act is 100 percent bad news, because it limits the possibility for challenging the death sentence,” Sangiorgio told The Daily Beast. “We still have unsafe convictions. Quite worryingly we are seeing other states trying to follow suit and speed up executions.”
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