This report presents statistics on prisoners who were under sentence of death in 2021, a summary of state and federal death penalty laws in 2021, and historical trends in executions. It provides data on which jurisdictions have the death penalty, which jurisdictions carried out an execution in 2021, and which methods of execution are authorized in each jurisdiction. The report also presents demographics (including sex, race and ethnicity, age, and education) and the criminal history of persons under sentence of death. BJS collects information about capital punishment each year through the National Prisoner Statistics program.
- During 2021, the number of prisoners under sentence of death declined for the 21st consecutive year.
- A total of 16 prisoners were received under sentence of death in 2021, one more than was reported in 2020.
- Twenty states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) removed a total of 84 prisoners from under sentence of death by means other than execution in 2021.
- Among jurisdictions with prisoners under sentence of death at yearend 2021, 19 states and the BOP reported a decrease in the number of prisoners held under sentence of death, 8 states reported no change, and no states reported an increase in the number of prisoners held under sentence of death. Four states held no prisoners under sentence of death during 2021.