Originally Answered: How many states in the US have a Death Penalty?
This will be a long answer, but you asked a lot of questions:
14 states and the District of Columbia do not have the death penalty:
Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan,Minnesota, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia,
36 states allow it but few execute anyone.
The 36 states are:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana,
Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland,
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,
New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,
South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia,
In 2006-7, most states carried out no more than 1 execution:
Alabama 4, Arizona 1, California 1, Florida 4, Georgia 1, Indiana 3, Mississippi 1, Montana 1, North Carolina 4, Nevada 1, Ohio 7, Oklahoma 7, South Carolina 2, South Dakota 1, Tennessee 3, Texas 50, Virginia 4,
The other 33 states carried out no executions at all.
Deterrence: Homicide rates are higher in states and regions with the death penalty than in those without it.
At the state level, only a conviction for murder can lead to a death sentence.
Alternates to freeing dangerous criminals: 48 states have life without parole on the books (all except Alaska and New Mexico.) It means exactly what it says.
My opinion about the wisdom of the death penalty for crimes other than homicide, that is for molesting a child, with the safety and well being of the victim in mind:
•First of all, to avoid the death penalty the rapist is more likely to kill the key and only eyewitness, namely his victim.
•Secondly, rape and abuse of children is already one of the most underreported crimes, because they are most often committed by fathers, uncles, and family friends. If the perpetrator can face the death penalty, the crime will be even less likely to be reported.
•Additionally, children who are victims of rape and abuse often carry a heavy load of guilt which would be made much worse if the victimizer is executed.
•Last of all, defendents in rape cases have been misidentified by victims. Take a look at www.innocenceproject.org for information about cases where rape victims identified the wrong person. Children have also been manipulated into making accusations of rape and abuse where no such crimes even occurred.
If you need more info feel free to email me.
Death Penalty Information Center, www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, for stats on executions, reports on costs, deterrence studies, links to FBI crime stats and links to testimony (at state legislatures) of victims' family members.