BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Home  | Data Collection Detail

Data Collection: Capital Punishment (NPS-8)
Status: Active
Frequency: Annual data on executions since 1930 and on inmates under sentence of death since 1973
Latest data available: 2012

This collection yields annual data on national and state-level yearend counts of persons sentenced to death and executed. Data collected include offender demographic characteristics, prior criminal histories, criminal justice system status at the time of the capital offense, date of death sentence, and date and type of sentence disposition. The collection also includes summary information on the status of and changes to death penalty statutes.

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Data Experts

  • Tracy L. Snell, Statistician
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    Collection Period

    Annual data are available on executions since 1930 and sentencing since 1973.

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    Questionnaires

    Report of Inmates Under Sentence of Death
    2010-2012 PDF (132K) | 2009 PDF (132K) | 2006 PDF (53K) | 2004 PDF | 1995 PDF
    Status of Death Statutes No Statute in Force
    2012 PDF (82K) | 2008 PDF (82K) | 2005 NPS-8B (49K)
    Status of Death Statutes Statute in Force
    2012 PDF (103K) | 2008 PDF (103K) | 2005 NPS-8C (44K)
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    Methodology

    Capital punishment information is collected annually as part of the National Prisoner Statistics program (NPS-8). This data series is collected in two parts: data on persons under sentence of death are obtained from the department of corrections in each jurisdiction currently authorizing capital punishment, and the status of death penalty statutes is obtained from the Office of the Attorney General in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government.

    NPS-8 covers all persons under sentence of death at any time during the year who were held in a state or federal nonmilitary correctional facility. This includes capital offenders transferred from prison to mental hospitals and those who may have escaped from custody. It excludes persons whose death sentences have been overturned by the court, regardless of their current incarceration status.

    These statistics may differ from data collected by other organizations for various reasons: (1) NPS-8 adds inmates to the population under sentence of death not at sentencing, but at the time they are admitted to a state or federal correctional facility; (2) if inmates entered prison under a death sentence or were reported as being relieved of a death sentence in one year but the court had acted in the previous year, the counts are adjusted to reflect the dates of court decisions; and (3) NPS counts are always for the last day of the calendar year and will differ from counts for more recent periods.

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    Publications & Products

    The following publications and products were generated by BJS using data from this collection.

    Capital Punishment in the United States, 2013 - Statistical Tables Presents information on persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2013, and persons executed in 2014.
      PDF (1M) | ASCII file (34K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 54K)
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2012 - Statistical Tables (Revised) Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2012, and persons executed in 2012.
      PDF (765KB) | ASCII file (14KB) | Zip format (28KB)
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2011 - Statistical Tables Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2011, and persons executed in 2011.
      PDF (1.1M) | ASCII file (14K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 28K)
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2010 - Statistical Tables Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2010, and persons executed in 2010.
      PDF (800K) | ASCII file (12K) | Spreadsheets (Zip format 20K)
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2009 - Statistical Tables Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2009, and persons executed in 2009.
      PDF (505K) | ASCII file (10K) | Zip Format (Spreadsheet 24K)
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2008 - Statistical Tables Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2008, and persons executed in 2008. Preliminary data on executions by states during 2009 are included.
      Acrobat file (PDF 1M) | ASCII file (4K) | Zip format (14K) | To order paper version
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2007 - Statistical Tables Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2007, and persons executed in 2007.
      HTML | PDF (386K) | All tables in zip format (Zip format 13K)
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2006 - Statistical Tables Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2006, and of persons executed in 2006.
      HTML | PDF (386K) | All tables in zip format (Zip format 13K)
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2005 Presents characteristics of persons under sentence of death at yearend and of persons executed. This annual BJS report summarizes the movement of prisoners into and out of death sentence status during the year.
      Press Release | PDF (389K) | ASCII file (32K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 23K) | To order paper version
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

    Capital Punishment, 2005 "The number of death row inmates declined for the fifth straight year during 2005"
      Press Release | More information about this release
    Part of the Capital Punishment Series

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    Related Topics

  • Corrections
  • Corrections | State and federal prisoners and prison facilities
  • Corrections | Special populations
  • Corrections | Capital Punishment
  • Corrections | State and federal prisoners and prison facilities | Prison population counts
  • Corrections | State and federal prisoners and prison facilities | Special topics
  • Corrections | Capital Punishment | Number under sentence of death
  • Corrections | Capital Punishment | Executions
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