Eight states executed 25 death row inmates last year for the most executions in the nation since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, a Justice Department report shows.
As of Dec. 1, 1987, a record 1,984 offenders were on death row in 34 states, said the Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of the Justice Department.Of the death row prisoners, 57.4 percent were white, 41.4 percent were black, 0.8 percent were American Indian, 0.5 percent were Asian and 1.1 percent were women, said the report released Sunday. About 50 percent were 33 years and older.
In 1987, eight people were executed in Louisiana, six in Texas, five in Georgia, two in Mississippi, and one each in Alabama, Florida, Utah and Virginia.
Previously, the most executions in the United States since 1976 occurred in 1984, when 21 prisoners were put to death. Eighteen people were executed in each 1985 and 1986.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics said state courts sentenced 299 offenders to death in 1987, while 79 people were released from their death sentences.
"Twelve states have executed 92 men and one woman from 1976 through 1987," said Bureau Director Steven Schlesinger. "That is 2.9 percent of the people who were under death sentences during that period.
"During the same years, 1,086 people or 34.3 percent of those at risk, were removed from death row."
The report said prisoners executed in 1987 spent an average of seven years and two months waiting for their sentences to be carried out, about the same time as those executed the year before.
About 50 percent of the inmates under death sentence at the end of 1987 had been on death row for more than 3.5 years.
All prisoners under a death sentence had been convicted of murder except for one man who was found guilty of the capital rape of a child, the report said.