Our Latest Updates – Archive

US Supreme Court Upholds Death Penalty Sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
3/4/2022 -

In a 6-3 vote, the US Supreme Court upheld Tsarnaev’s death sentence. The sentence was overturned in 2020 by an appeals court, but that ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court by the Trump administration. The Biden administration, despite a federal moratorium on capital punishment, pursued the appeal after Biden took office.

Updated: Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?
9/22/2021 -

Explore the debate with updated and new questions, resources, and more.

US Department of Justice Withdraws Death Penalty in Seven Cases
7/23/2021 -

The US Justice Department has quietly withdrawn the death penalty in seven cases over the past several months. In each case, prosecutors were directed by the Trump Justice Department to seek the death penalty.

US Attorney General Imposes Federal Death Penalty Moratorium
7/2/2021 -

Merrick Garland, JD, stated, “Serious concerns have been raised about the continued use of the death penalty across the country… Those weighty concerns deserve careful study and evaluation by lawmakers.”

New Resource: International and American Methods of Execution
5/20/2021 -

What methods of execution are used globally? Which methods other than lethal injection are authorized by US states? Find out in this new resource.

New Resource: International Death Penalty Status
5/19/2021 -

Where in the world is the death penalty legal? Which countries have abolished the practice? Find out in this new resource.

South Carolina Legalizes Electric Chair and Firing Squad Executions if Lethal Drugs Are Unavailable
5/17/2021 -

The state’s supply of lethal injection drugs expired in 2013.

Virginia Abolishes Death Penalty
3/24/2021 -

The first southern US state to abolish the death penalty, Virginia had, as of Mar. 24, 2021, carried out the most executions in the United States since the country’s first execution in Jamestown in 1608.

US Supreme Court Agrees to Review Lower Court Ruling That Vacated Boston Bomber Death Penalty Sentence
3/22/2021 -

The Trump administration requested the review, but there is no indication the Biden administration opposes the review.

US Federal Government Executed 13 Inmates under Trump Administration
1/18/2021 -

On Jan. 16, 2021, the federal government executed Dustin Higgs, the thirteenth and final prisoner executed under the Trump administration, which carried out the first federal executions since 2003.

US Federal Government Executed First Woman since 1953
1/13/2021 -

Lisa Montgomery, executed on Jan. 13, 2021, was the first woman to be executed by the federal government since the Dec. 18, 1953 execution of Bonnie Brown Heady, according to US Bureau of Prisons records. She was the only woman on federal death row and the eleventh person executed by the Trump administration.

Number of Federal Executions Surpasses Total State Executions for First Time, as State Executions Hit Historic Low
12/16/2020 -

The federal government resumed the death penalty in July 2020 and has executed 10 people since. The states executed a total of seven people: three by Texas, and one each by Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Ohio Governor Announces Continued “Unofficial Moratorium” on Death Penalty
12/9/2020 -

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced that lethal injection is no longer an option in the state because of ongoing problems acquiring the drugs for execution.

COVID-19 Has Killed More Prisoners in 2020 Than the Death Penalty Has in 43 Years
12/8/2020 -

Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, there have been 1527 executions. COVID-19 (coronavirus) deaths overtook executions as of Dec. 4, 2020, when virus deaths totaled at least 1568.

Trump Admin to Expand Allowable Methods of Execution
12/1/2020 -

The new rule will go into effect on Dec. 28, 2020 and will allow the federal government to use all execution methods allowed by the state in which the federal inmate is being held if lethal injection drugs are not available.

US Federal Government to Execute First Woman since 1953
10/19/2020 -

Lisa Montgomery is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 8, 2020, the first woman executed by the federal government since Dec. 18, 1953.

US Executed Man for Crime Committed as Teen for First Time in 70 Years
9/25/2020 -

Christopher Andre Vialva was convicted of murdering two youth ministers in 1999, when Vialva was 19 years old.

COVID-19 Has Killed More Prisoners than Capital Punishment since 2001
9/2/2020 -

As of the morning of Aug. 23, 2020, 858 prisoners had died of COVID-19 (coronavirus), more than the 839 prisoners executed since 2001.

Boston Marathon Bomber’s Death Sentence Overturned
8/3/2020 -

An appeals court overturned Tsarnaev’s death sentence because the US district court did not properly vet jurors for bias. The lower court will have to hold a new trial on sentencing, though the appeals court judge emphasized that Tsarnaev will not be leaving prison.

First Federal Execution since 2003
7/14/2020 -

The Supreme Court cleared the way for the resumption of the federal death penalty on July 14, 2020.

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Federal Lethal Injection Protocol Challenge
6/29/2020 -

With the ruling, the federal government is cleared to resume executions.

Oregon to Empty Death Row
5/18/2020 -

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Oregon Corrections Director Colette Peters announced the state’s death row will be closed in summer 2020 and the 27 death row inmates will be moved to the general prison population or other prison housing.

Healthcare Workers Ask States to Release Execution Drugs to Fight COVID-19
4/15/2020 -

Death penalty states have been asked to release lethal injection drugs that are needed for intubation and mechanical ventilation of COVID-19 patients.

Colorado Becomes 22nd State to Abolish the Death Penalty
3/24/2020 -

Governor Jared Polis signed SB-20-100 on Monday, Mar. 23, 2020, abolishing the death penalty and commuting the sentences of the three men on death row to life in prison.

Death Row Inmates
2/7/2020 -

In 1953, there were 131 inmates on death row. In 2017, 2,703 prisoners were under sentence of death. Find how many prisoners were on death row, how many were executed, and how long they stayed on death row on average by year from 1953 to 2017.

Death Penalty in Decline in 2019
12/30/2019 -

Executions in the United States were at the second-lowest number since 1991 in a year that saw New Hampshire abolish capital punishment and California implement a moratorium on its use.

Majority of Americans Support Life in Prison instead of Death Penalty for the First Time in 34 Years
11/26/2019 -

60% of Americans now say the life in prison without the possibility of parole is a better punishment than the death penalty.

NEW ProCon.org Website! – 2020 Presidential Election: The Candidates and Where They Stand on the Issues
8/29/2019 -

Learn about the presidential candidates’ views on important issues, compare them with a side-by-side chart, find your best match with a fun quiz, track their finances, and so much more on our 2020 Presidential Election website. The New York Times called our previous presidential election site “The most comprehensive tool for researching the candidate’s stance on issues.” Check back monthly for expanded issue coverage.

US Federal Government to Resume Use of Death Penalty
7/26/2019 -

On July 25, 2019, US Attorney General announced the federal government would execute five men, the first federal use of the death penalty since 2003. The federal government has executed three people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1988.

29 States with the Death Penalty and 21 States with Death Penalty Bans
5/30/2019 -

New Hampshire legislators overrode the Governor’s veto to abolish the death penalty.

Top Pro & Con Quotes: Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?
3/27/2019 -

See both sides of the debate with quotes from Colorado district attorney George Brauchler (pro), Sen. Kamala Harris (con), President Donald Trump (pro), California Gov. Gavin Newsom (con), and more.

California Governor Declares Death Penalty Moratorium
3/14/2019 -

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Mar. 13, 2019, placing a moratorium on the death penalty, granting reprieves to 737 death row inmates, closing the San Quentin execution chamber, and stopping the state from creating a constitutional lethal injection protocol.

Updated: 30 States with the Death Penalty and 20 States with Death Penalty Bans
3/13/2019 -

Explore which states have the death penalty and which have bans, along with information such as which states have moratoriums or court-ordered stays on the use of capital punishment.

New ProCon.org Website! – Should Birth Control Pills Be Available Over-the-Counter?
2/21/2019 -

Our new topic explores the pros and cons in the debate over making birth control pills available over-the-counter (OTC). 9.1 million women (12.6% of contraceptive users) use birth control pills, which are the second-most commonly used method of contraception in the United States. Proponents say making the birth control pill available over-the-counter would lower teen pregnancy rates, provide contraceptive access to medically underserved women, and ease access to a health-improving drug with decades of safe use. Opponents say making the Pill over-the-counter would raise the cost of contraception for women, pose a danger to teens’ and women’s health by removing the doctor’s visit requirement, and limit what options are made available.

Our new website presents the top pro & con arguments and quotes, a history of the debate, a video gallery, the prescription status of birth control pills around the world, and a list of drugs switched from prescription to OTC status.

Researcher Wanted at Educational Nonprofit ProCon.org
1/17/2019 -

ProCon.org, a Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity,
seeks an in-house Researcher (full-time with benefits or part-time
without benefits) to develop content for websites devoted to a
nonpartisan in-depth presentation of 70+ controversial issues. Three
items are required for application, as specified in the job notice.

Synthetic Opioid Fentanyl Used for the First Time in a Lethal Injection Execution
8/15/2018 -

Prison officials in Nebraska used fentanyl as part of a four-drug cocktail to carry out the death penalty, marking the first time the opioid was used for this purpose.

50 Lesson Plan Ideas Using ProCon.org
7/16/2018 -

We’re excited to announce 50 free lesson plan ideas for educators! Visit our Teachers’ Corner for inspiration, including lessons plans about distinguishing fact from opinion, how to write a “call-to-action” letter, and content from our partner Credo Reference.

Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?
4/7/2017 -

Examine both sides of the debate with quotes from President Donald Trump (Pro), Pope Francis (Con), Anne Marie Schubert, Sacramento County District Attorney (Pro), and the ACLU (Con).