Death Sentences at Historic Lows

It might matter little to critics of capital punishment that contend it should not happen at all, but the trend against executions is unmistakable: death sentences have taken a historic drop of about 75 percent over the last 15 years, and 2011 was the first time in more than three decades that fewer than 100 people have been sent on death row. According to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center, 78 people were handed death sentences in 2011, down from 315 in 1996. And there were 43 executions this year, including the controversial of Georgia inmate Troy Davis in September, down from 98 in 1999.