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In 2021, 2,382 prisoners were sentenced to death and awaiting execution, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than half of prisoners with a death sentence were held in California (690 people), Florida (324), and Texas (198), the most populous states.

Adjusting for population, the states with the greatest number of prisoners sentenced to death per 100,000 people in 2021 were Alabama (3.35 per 100,000 people) and Nevada (1.94). California ranked third with 1.76 prisoners under sentence of death per 100,000 people in 2021, while Florida ranked fifth (1.48), and Texas ranked 14th (0.67).

Were there any executions in 2021?

Eleven executions, including 10 males and one female, occurred in 2021: three were carried out by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, three by Texas, two by Oklahoma, and one each in Missouri, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Which states allow the death penalty?

In 2021, death penalty statutes were in effect in 30 states and in the federal government, while 20 states and Washington, DC, did not enforce any death penalty statutes.

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Are there fewer death sentences now compared to prior years?

The number of prisoners sentenced to death peaked in 2000 at 3,601 prisoners and declined for 21 consecutive years.

State legislatures and the Federal Bureau of Prisons can also remove prisoners from death sentences, which they did for 48 people in 2021. Virginia repealed its death penalty in 2021 and adjusted existing death penalty sentences to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

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