DEATH TOLL

Execution Rates Near 20-Year Low

Executions in the U.S. continued their steady decline in 2013, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit that advocates for the abolition of capital punishment. There were 39 executions this year, 16 of which came from the state of Texas. This marks the second time in 19 years executions have fallen below 40. There have been 80 death sentences so far in 2013, a slight uptick from last year, but far below the peak of 315 in 1996. One reason noted for the decline was a shortage in lethal injection drugs caused by some European manufacturers’ refusal to export them for executions.