The Death Penalty Information Center has tallied its numbers and released its annual report on the state of Capital Punishment in America this week.  Its eight (8) page report can be downloaded and printed in a pdf format from the DPIC site at no charge. 

There’s some good news here.

When you’re against the death penalty and both the federal government and a majority of states allow capital punishment, you have to find your encouragement where you can until the goal of abolishing the Death Penalty arrives.  Luckily, almost like a holiday gift and definitely as a shot in the arm after the recent Ohio activity, the research center’s release arrives …

And the DPIC report tells us that once again, there is a decline in the number of executions in this country.

For the past seven (7) years, there has been a downturn in capital punishment.  In 2009, the DPIC reports our country will have the lowest number of executions since 1976, when the United States Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty with  Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153  (1976).    That’s great news!  Even more so, when you consider that this year’s executions will total one-third of those undertaken in this country in 1994 (where the United States hit its record number of executions, 328). 

Additionally, death sentences have dropped sixty-three percent (63%) over the past decade — so not only are fewer individuals being executed, fewer juries are sentencing people to die in the first place.  That’s very encouraging, right?

Of course, the Death Penalty Information Center delves into the reasons why these numbers exist.  Considerations of the economic costs are believed to be contributing.  An availability for alternative sentences is another contributing factor that the DPIC explores.

For those of us dealing with the cold reality of the government ending the life of a citizen, the DPIC Annual Report is most welcome.  We encourage you to read it, in its entirety.