More than 350 people have been executed in the USA since 1990. The U.S.A. has the highest known death row population on earth at over 3, 300. In 1997 the USA carried out 74 executions--the highest number for the last four decades. Only China, Saudi Arabia and Iran were known to have executed more prisoners. The ramifications of the use of the death penalty in a country as influential as the USA go far beyond its borders. Officials in different countries have suggested that it is a factor in, or justification for, their own decision to retain the punishment. In 1997 government officials from both the Philippines and Guatemala reportedly inspected execution chambers in the USA as part of their research into lethal injection as a method for killing condemned prisoners of 38 states with death penalty statutes, 14 provide that 18 is the minimum age for execution. In 4 states, 17 is the minimum age; while in 21 other states, 16 is the minimum age. There are now 47 offenders who committed crimes under the age of 18 are currently on death row.
[...] prisons revealed that contrary to popular belief, there are more White men living on death row in our nation's prisons than Black men. A survey by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, USA Today, CNN and Gallup found that there are 2,948 inmates on death row. White men make up 49 percent of death-row inmates while Black men make up 40 percent of prisoners on death row. However, the new statistics also reveal there is a disproportionate number of Black men on death row in comparison to the general U.S. [...]
[...] "Relationship of Offender and Victim Race to Death Penalty Sentences in California." Jurimetrics Journal 32, Fall 1991. Klein, Stephen; Rolph, John. "Relationship of Offender and Victim Race to Death Penalty Sentences in California." Langan, Patrick Farrington, David P. "Two-track or one-track justice? Some evidence from an English longitudinal survey." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology pp. 519-546. Katz, Joseph L. "Warren McCleskey V. Ralph Kemp: Is the Death Penalty in Georgia Racially Biased?" Department of Decision Sciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. [...]
[...] In modern times the use of capital punishment in civilized societies has declined markedly, and the death penalty is inflicted only for the most serious crimes--such as murder or treason. In much of Western Europe capital punishment has been abolished altogether, and it is seldom used where it is legal. The fact remains that, in principle, the death penalty exerts a peculiar and primal force on American society. From radio personality Don Imus to Cuomo's gubernatorial successor, George Pataki, there is support for a practice that has largely been abandoned by America's cultural cousins in the West while sustained by nations - Iraq, Syria, Iran and China, for instance - that seem most removed and dissimilar. [...]
[...] There are just too many unknown variables." Research into possible racial bias in the application of the death penalty is mostly inconclusive. Recently concerns have been expressed that much depends on the race of a murder victim, the theory being those killers of whites are likelier to get the death penalty. Former President Bill Clinton promised to issue an executive order that attempted to bar racial discrimination in death sentencing. The promise surfaced after Congress refused to incorporate the so-called Racial Justice Act in its gargantuan billion or so) Omnibus Crime Bill, an omission that infuriated the Congressional Black Caucus. [...]
[...] Regardless of the opposition or support for the death penalty in America, our judicial system must find the delicate balance of punishing offenders while still doing so in the most equitable and appropriate manner possible. The statistics show a vast difference from state to state and population to population as to how the death penalty is administered, but the underlying concept is that the death penalty is (as of now) here to stay and the challenges ahead of our nation necessitate that we look for the best possible solution to inequality in the process of condemning criminals to the ultimate punishment. [...]
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