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Map of US states that still have the death penalty now that WA doesn’t



death penalty lethal injection
death chamber of the lethal injection facility at San Quentin
State Prison in San Quentin, California on Sept. 21,

Associated Press/Eric

  • Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that
    the death penalty violates its constitution.
  • Capital punishment has reached record lows across the
    US — at both the state and federal levels.
  • Though most states still technically retain the death
    penalty, very few actually use it.

Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the death
penalty violates its constitution because it has been “imposed in
an arbitrary and racially biased manner.”

The ruling declared that all eight of the state’s prisoners who
are currently on death row will now serve life sentences instead.

“The use of the death penalty is unequally applied — sometimes by
where the crime took place, or the county of residence, or the
available budgetary resources at any given point in time, or the
race of the defendant,” the justices wrote in their ruling. “The
death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any
legitimate penological goal.”

Washington isn’t alone — data show that use of the death
penalty has steadily declined since the
, and few states still execute prisoners regularly.

Though the majority of states still retain capital punishment,
few of them have actually used it in recent years. There are even
16 states that haven’t executed a single prisoner since 1976,
according to The Marshall

As the death penalty fades out of use across the country, many
states have even put the issue on the ballot in
recent years. But voters have been reluctant to abolish capital
punishment completely, no matter how rarely it’s used.

death penalty in united states mapShayanne Gal/Business Insider

Here are all the states that still retain the death
, but haven’t executed anyone in at least five years:

states death penalty haven't executed 5 years mapShayanne Gal/Business Insider

Harvard researchers found in 2016 that
the US’s use of the death penalty is mainly fueled by just a
handful of counties — they’re known as “outlier” counties and they’re
scattered throughout states like Texas, Alabama, and Florida.

The researchers found that the counties that still actively
pursue the death penalty tend to have several factors in common:
overzealous prosecutors, inadequate defense attorneys, and racial

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