In 2010, Texas accounted for 37% of all people executed in the United States.
Texas leads the nation in the number of executions and has the third largest death row, after California and Florida. The use of the death penalty does not deter crime or improve public safety, but it does waste tax dollars.
Constitutional concerns with the death penalty:
- Denies due process – it is irrevocable (only a small number of convicted murderers in the US receive a sentence of death) and carries the risk of convicting and executing the innocent.
- Denies equal protection under the law – it is applied arbitrarily and used disproportionally on people of color and on the poor.
- The conditions of confinement for those on death row are cruel and unusual. Inmates convicted to death are held in solitary confinement or “Administrative Segregation” regardless whether they pose any threat to the rest of the prison population. Ad Seg – 23 hours daily solitary confinement — causes such severe mental health problems that some inmates lose the ability even to understand the punishment imposed on them.
Public safety concerns with the death penalty:
- A punishment can only be an effective deterrent if it is consistently employed – the death penalty does not meet this condition.
- A survey of police chiefs nationwide found the death penalty ranked as the least effective way to reduce violent crime.
- The FBI found that states with the death penalty also have the highest murder rate
- Convicting the wrong person leaves a guilty perpetrator on the streets.
Facts about the Death Penalty from TCADP
- In 2011, the State of Texas executed 13 people out of 43 nationwide. Of those executed, six were white, four were Hispanic/Latino and three were African American.
- Texas has executed 477 people since 1982, accounting for 38% of the national total since 1977.
- There are 300 individuals on death row in Texas (291 men and 9 women).
- Texas holds the highest number of DNA exonerations with 44 since 1994 (and 36 since 2001); this includes non-capital cases.
- Twelve people have been released from death row in Texas due to evidence of their wrongful conviction.
- In Texas, nearly one in four death row inmates was represented by a lawyer who had been reprimanded, placed on probation, suspended or banned from practicing law by the state bar.
- In a 1992 study, the Dallas Morning News determined that the average cost to the state of Texas for a death penalty case was $2.3 million, or about three times the cost of imprisoning an individual for 40 years.
- Of Texas’ 254 counties, 136 have never sent a single offender to death row (1976 – present).
- Only 23 Texas counties have imposed death sentences over the last 5 years; only 10 have done so in the last 2 years.
- African Americans comprise only 12% of the population of Texas, but they comprise 39.8% of death row inmates.
- In the past five years, nearly three-fourths of all death sentences of Texas have been imposed on people of color – 41% African American, 29% Hispanic/Latino and 2% other.
- In Harris County, 12 of the last 13 defendants sentenced to death are African American and the 13th is Hispanic/Latino.
- In 2011, juries condemned eight new individuals to death in Texas. This remains the lowest number of new death sentences in Texas since 1976.
The death penalty is more expensive than life without parole, and it burdens the criminal justice system, wasting the limited resources of courts, prosecutors, juries, and law enforcement personnel.
It is time to end the use of the death penalty in Texas. Change starts with public awareness.
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Make the criminal justice system just
December 11, 2013 6:30 pm –
December 11, 2013 7:30 pm