Last updated on: 8/25/2021 | Author: ProCon.org

Death Row Inmates

In 1953, there were 131 inmates on death row and 62 (47.3%) of them were executed. In 2020, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 28 states held 2,469 prisoners under sentence of death, and executed 17 (0.7%) of them.

Below, find out more about death row inmates, including the number of death row inmates, average time spent on death row before execution, the year each inmate was sentenced to death, demographic information, criminal histories, and removals from death row for reasons other than execution.


Death Row Inmates: 2020

 Number of Death Row Inmates
(Dec. 31, 2020)
Federal51
Alabama170
Alaska0
Arizona116
Arkansas29
California703
Colorado0
Connecticut0
DC0
Delaware0
Florida337
Georgia40
Hawaii0
Idaho8
Illinois0
Indiana0
Iowa0
Kansas10
Kentucky26
Louisiana66
Maine0
Maryland0
Massachusetts0
Michigan0
Minnesota0
Mississippi40
Missouri20
Montana2
Nebraska12
Nevada67
New Hampshire1
New Jersey0
New Mexico0
New York0
North Carolina137
North Dakota0
Ohio137
Oklahoma45
Oregon24
Pennsylvania118
Rhode Island0
South Carolina36
South Dakota1
Tennessee50
Texas206
Utah7
Vermont0
Virginia2
Washington0
West Virginia0
Wisconsin0
Wyoming0

Inmate Time on Death Row: 1953-2020

 Total Death Row InmatesNumber of Death Row Inmates ExecutedPercentage of Death Row Inmates ExecutedAverage Time from Sentence to Execution
19531316247.3%--
19541478155.1%--
19551257660.8%--
19561466544.5%--
19571516543.0%--
19581474933.3%--
19591644929.9%--
19602125626.4%--
19612574216.3%--
19622674717.6%--
1963297217.1%--
1964315154.8%--
196533172.1%--
196640610.2%--
196743520.5%--
196851700.0%--
196957500.0%--
197063100.0%--
197164200.0%--
197233400.0%--
197313400.0%--
197424400.0%--
197548800.0%--
197642000.0%--
197742310.2%3 months
197848200.0%--
197959320.3%3 years 6 months
198069200.0%--
198186010.1%1 year 0 months
19821,06620.2%4 years 4 months
19831,20950.4%5 years 10 months
19841,420211.5%6 years 2 months
19851,575181.1%5 years 11 months
19861,800181.0%7 years 3 months
19871,967251.3%7 years 2 months
19882,117110.5%6 years 8 months
19892,243160.7%7 years 11 months
19902,346231.0%7 years 11 months
19912,465140.6%9 years 8 months
19922,580311.2%9 years 6 months
19932,727381.4%9 years 5 months
19942,905311.1%10 years 2 months
19953,064561.8%11 years 1 months
19963,242451.4%10 years 4 months
19973,328742.2%11 years 1 month
19983,465682.0%10 years 10 months
19993,527982.8%11 years 11 months
20003,601852.4%11 years 5 months
20013,577661.8%11 years 10 months
20023,562712.0%10 years 7 months
20033,377651.9%10 years 11 months
20043,320591.8%11 years 0 months
20053,245601.8%12 years 3 months
20063,228531.6%12 years 1 months
20073,215421.3%12 years 9 months
20083,210371.2%11 years 7 months
20093,173521.6%14 years 1 month
20103,139461.5%14 years 10 months
20113,065431.4%16 years 10 months
20123,011431.4%15 years 10 months
20132,983391.3%15 years 6 monts
20142,942351.2%18 years 2 months
20152,872281.0%16 years 3 months
20162,814200.7%17 years 0 months
20172,703230.9%20 years 3 months
20182,628251.0%19 years 10 months
20192,570220.9%22 years
20202,469170.7%18 years 11 months

Year of Capital Sentencing

Below are tables showing when each person on death row was sentenced to death. According to the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, “For persons sentenced to death more than once, counts are based on the year of the most recent death sentence.”

Note that there are two tables to accommodate the most information within the width of our pages.

 1976-19801981-19851986-19901991-19951996-20002001-20052006-2010
US Total20106208398513360421
Alabama01922373036
Arizona14818101634
Arkansas1007554
California5468812515676106
Florida8183566583050
Georgia002412710
Idaho0013121
Indiana0001211
Kansas0000034
Kentucky1344724
Louisiana0231025117
Mississippi0136587
Missouri0210048
Montana0101000
Nebraska0000143
Nevada1115101658
New Hampshire0000001
North Carolina01144472313
Ohio061521262316
Oklahoma010161313
Oregon0004837
Pennsylvania021518241618
South Carolina021171111
South Dakota0000000
Tennessee03881366
Texas31721424333
Utah0121200
Virginia0000011
 2011-201520162017201820192020Average Years on Death Row
US Total293303439331419.4
Federal60221013.5
Alabama244133017.2
Arizona161421117.2
Arkansas50020018.0
California7210945121.2
Florida473375720.2
Georgia40001018.2
Idaho000000--
Indiana300000--
Kansas21000012.4
Kentucky10009024.9
Louisiana70010020.1
Mississippi60120117.4
Missouri40010015.6
Montana000000--
Nebraska00120012.5
Nevada51410021.9
New Hampshire000000--
North Carolina44003021.3
Ohio154146019.1
Oklahoma60211114.2
Oregon20000019.0
Pennsylvania211200119.3
South Carolina10002017.6
South Dakota100000--
Tennessee50010022.2
Texas354465216.6
Utah100000--
Virginia000000--

Death Row Inmate Demographics: 2020

  Total Death Row InmatesAdmissions to Death RowRemovals from Death Row
Total2,46914108

Sex

Men97.9%100.0%98.1%
Women2.1%0.0%1.9%

Race

White56.5%57.1%52.8%
Black41.1%41.9%44.4%
American Indian/Alaska Native0.7%0.0%
2.8%
Asian/ Native Hawaiian/ Other Pacific Islander1.7%0.0%0.0%

Ethnicity

Hispanic15.3%0.0%15.2%
Non-Hispanic84.7%100.0%
84.8%

Age

18-190.0%0.0%0.0%
20-240.0%0.0%0.9%
25-291.2%14.3%0.9%
30-344.4%7.1%0.9%
35-397.5%21.4%4.6%
40-4412.8%14.3%13.9%
45-4916.3%14.3%15.7%
50-5417.7%
14.3%15.7%
55-5915.9%7.1%15.7%
60-6411.9%7.1%13.9%
65 or Older12.2%0.0%24.1%

Education

8th Grade or Less11.6%0.0%14.8%
9th-11th Grade34.9%66.7%35.2%
High-School Graduate or GED44.4%33.3%40.9%
Any College
9.2%0.0%9.1%

Marital Status

Married21.1%18.2%27.2%
Divorced/Separated20.0%18.2%14.1%
Widowed3.5%9.1%6.5%
Never Married55.4%54.5%52.2%

Death Row Inmate Criminal History: 2020

  All Death Row InmatesWhite Death Row InmatesBlack Death Row InmatesHispanic Death Row InmatesAmerican Indian/Alaska Native Death Row InmatesAsian/Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander Death Row Inmates

Prior Felony Conviction

Yes67.6%63.8%72.8%65.4%63.8%56.8%
No32.4%36.2%27.2%34.6%31.3%43.2%

Prior Homicide Conviction

Yes9.5%9.8%9.6%9.1%5.6%5.0%
No90.5%90.2%90.4%90.9%94.4%95.0%

Legal Status at Time of Capital Offense

Charge Pending7.9%9.6%7.0%5.8%6.3%5.6%
Probation11.4%9.9%11.5%14.8%18.8%13.9%
Parole16.0%13.7%17.9%17.4%25.0%13.9%
On Escape1.2%1.7%0.8%1.0%0.0%0.0%
Incarcerated4.6%5.9%3.7%3.5%
12.5%0.0%
Other Status0.1%0.0%0.1%0.3%0.0%0.0%
None58.8%59.2%58.9%57.2%37.5%66.7%

Removals from Death Row: 2020

 Total Including ExecutionExecutionOther Death*Sentence CommutedCapital Conviction Overturned by CourtDeath Sentence Overturned by Court
US Total108174241134
Federal10100000
State9874241134
Alabama513010
Arizona101000
Arkansas100001
California25019033
Florida805012
Georgia411110
Kentucky101000
Louisiana202000
Mississippi100010
Missouri211000
Nevada201001
Ohio403001
Oklahoma203001
Oregon201001
Pennsylvania1501001
Tennessee211000
Texas12321007

*According to the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, “other deaths were due to natural causes, suicide, and unspecified causes” in 2020.

Sources

Tracy L. Snell, “Capital Punishment, 2018 – Statistical Tables,” bjs.gov, Sep. 2020

Tracy L. Snell, “Capital Punishment, 2019 – Statistical Tables,” bjs.gov, June 2021

Tracy L. Snell, “Capital Punishment, 2020 – Statistical Tables,” bjs.gov, Dec. 2021

US Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Capital Punishment, 2013 – Statistical Tables,” bjs.gov, Dec. 2014

US Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Capital Punishment, 2016 – Statistical Brief NCJ 251430,” bjs.gov, Apr. 30, 2018

US Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Capital Punishment, 2017: Select Findings NCJ 253060,” bjs.gov, July 23, 2019

US Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Number Under Sentence of Death,” bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov (accessed Sep. 19, 2011)