DPIC marks 50th anniversary of Furman with a death sentence census


The Death Penalty Information Center marked the 50th anniversary of Furman v. Georgia by releasing a census of death sentences handed down from June 29, 1972 — the day the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in Furman — through January 1, 2021, and the status of each sentence. 

“The data provide powerful evidence that the nations use of capital punishment continues to be arbitrary, discriminatory, and rife with error,” DPIC says in the report. 

It is an invaluable resource, 50 years of death penalty information compiled in a database that includes the name, race, and gender of defendants, the year of the sentencing, the state, county, and region where it was handed down, the outcome of the death sentence (e.g., died on death row, executed, resentenced, etc.), and the current status of the case. 

Numbers don’t lie, and these numbers are evidence of the racial bias in death sentencing in the U.S. As DPIC Executive Director Robert Dunham explains, “The data show that white lives matter more than Black lives.”

DPIC says it plans to continue reviewing data and analyzing trends since 1972 and will update accordingly.

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