WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of people executed in the United States this year dropped to the lowest level since 1991, as states impose fewer death sentences and defendants in capital cases have access to better legal help.
The Death Penalty Information Center, a group that opposes executions and tracks the issue, says 28 inmates were executed this year. That’s down from 35 last year and far below the peak of 98 in 1999.
Another 49 defendants received death sentences this year, down 33 percent from 2014 and the lowest number since the early 1970s.
The numbers reflect a steady decline in death sentences over the past 15 years. Only six states accounted for all the executions this year – Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. That’s the fewest since 1988.