Since 1976, One-Third of All U.S. Executions Took Place in Texas

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In 1976, the Supreme Court established the modern constitutional precedent governing death penalty decisions after effectively suspending capital punishment nationwide for four years. Since then, Texas has killed 481 inmates. That's over a third of all U.S. executions since 1976. Here's the Economist's map of every American execution in the past 36 years:

Even though capital punishment is technically legal in most states, it is increasingly rare. ThinkProgress points out that only 12 states executed someone in 2010, and only 7 states executed more than one person. Even in Texas, as BOR's Emily Cadik wrote about, executions are slowing: the 13 executions in 2011 were 4 fewer than in 2010, and 11 fewer than in 2009.

A huge component of Texas's disastrous reputation for abusing humans and their rights comes from our shoddy, racist, death-penalty-worshipping criminal “justice” system. For thirty-six years, Texas has been racing ahead of the nation in this awful category while falling behind the nation in educational, health, and environmental standards. You know, the ones that really matter.

I wish it were true that the recent decline in Texecutions were matched with a new focus on our real priorities, but it is not. Texas government is run by Christianist corporatists with disdain for the justice system when it doesn't serve their political ends (or their donors'). The only solution is for progressive Texans to come out and support candidates who reject archaic policies like the death penalty and actually want to do something productive for our state. That would be true “Texas Justice.”

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About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it distorts almost every other issue in American politics.

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