Most Executions Occur in Just 3 States

December 18, 2014 AT 10:40 AM

The death penalty is on the decline in the United States in every conceivable category. Fewer states execute inmates, fewer executions are carried out and fewer people are sentenced to death in the first place.

This year, as executions went awry in high-profile ways, this clear trend continued. The United States executed 35 inmates in 2014, the smallest number in two decades. And the number of inmates sentenced to death is projected to be 72, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which would be fewer than a quarter of the number of death sentences handed down in the mid-1990s.

“Not every year will show declines in every measure, but the overall pattern has been away from the death penalty,” the Death Penalty Information Center said its annual report, which was released early Thursday morning.

As a sign of how much of the country has shifted away from the practice, four out of five executions were carried out in just three states: Texas, Missouri and Florida. A total of seven states carried out executions, which is also significantly down from the 20 states that executed inmates in 1999.

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