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United States of America: The Death Penalty: Developments in 1988

NCJ Number
Date Published
29 pages
This paper provides information on executions, court rulings, and other developments in the use of the death penalty in the United States in 1988.
In November 1988 an unprecedented 2,151 prisoners were under sentence of death in 34 of the 36 States that have death penalty laws. Eleven prisoners were executed in 1988. Some 40 percent of the death row inmates were black. The inadequacy of legal counsel given to prisoners under sentence of death is still often a cause for concern. In addition, in August 1988 a total of 28 juvenile offenders were under sentence of death in 12 States. Furthermore, evidence has emerged in a number of cases that prisoners may have been innocent of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. Some have been acquitted or have had their death sentences commuted, but at least two have been executed recently. Finally, despite United States Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the execution of the insane, two mentally ill prisoners were executed during 1988. Tables.


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