Special Report

States With Most People on Death Row

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

24. Indiana
> Number of prisoners on death row: 8
> Race of prisoners: Black: 2 (25%); White: 6 (75%);
> State incarceration rate, 2020: 351 per 100,000 – 19th highest of all states

There are eight men on death row in Indiana, all at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. The eight men were each convicted of murder – some of multiple murders. The victims include children and a police officer.

A total of 151 executions have been carried out in Indiana’s history. The state moved away from hangings and electrocution in 1995 to lethal injection primarily. A shortage of execution drugs has delayed the carrying out of sentences for the current death row inmates. The length of time spent on death row among them ranges from about eight to 29 years.

23. Idaho
> Number of prisoners on death row: 8
> Race of prisoners: White: 8 (100%)
> State incarceration rate, 2020: 398 per 100,000 – 9th highest of all states

Seven men and one woman are currently on death row in Idaho. One of the men was initially scheduled for execution on June 2, 2021, but the execution was deferred due to a clemency hearing. Due to his poor health, the state’s Commission of Pardons and Parole voted to reduce his sentence. However, Gov. Brad Little rejected the commission’s recommendation and the inmate has now been on death row for over three and a half decades.

Idaho has carried out 29 executions in its history, most recently in 2012. Executions in the state are carried out through lethal injection, and as of last year, the state did not have the necessary drugs to carry out sentences.

22. Kansas
> Number of prisoners on death row: 9
> Race of prisoners: Black: 3 (33%); White: 6 (67%)
> State incarceration rate, 2020: 298 per 100,000 – 23rd lowest of all states

Though capital punishment is legal in Kansas, the state has not executed a prisoner since 1965. Kansas does not have a separate death row, and prisoners who are sentenced to death in the state are typically held in the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Butler County.

There are currently nine inmates – all men – in the state who have been sentenced to death. The most recent death row inmate was sentenced in 2016, and the two inmates who have been on death row longest in the state were sentenced in 2002.

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21. Nebraska
> Number of prisoners on death row: 11
> Race of prisoners: Black: 2 (18%); White: 3 (27%); Latino/a: 6 (55%);
> State incarceration rate, 2020: 269 per 100,000 – 20th lowest of all states

There are 11 men on death row in Nebraska. Earlier this year, a 12th man was on death row who was originally sentenced to life in prison for murder and later sentenced to death after strangling his cell mate to death in 2017. However, he took his own life while in custody in August 2022.

Lawmakers in Nebraska have introduced bills to abolish the state’s death penalty in every legislative session since 1981. Still, the state’s death penalty stands – despite a lack of the lethal injection drugs necessary to carry out the sentence, as manufacturers are refusing to supply them.

20. Missouri
> Number of prisoners on death row: 20
> Race of prisoners: Black: 6 (30%); White: 14 (70 %);
> State incarceration rate, 2020: 374 per 100,000 – 12th highest of all states

Well over 300 people have been executed in Missouri’s history, including 51 men in the 21st century. The state primarily uses lethal injection and gas chambers to carry out executions.

There are currently 20 men on death row in the state, including one who is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection on Nov. 29, 2022, for the 2005 murder of a St. Louis police officer. In the state’s history, four people have been freed from death row after being exonerated.

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