Executions Continue to Fall in Texas

There were seven executions in Texas in 2016, the lowest yearly total in two decades, according to the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

“What we’ve seen in Texas for the last couple of years is really declining use of the death penalty both in terms of new death sentences and executions,” Executive Director Kristin Houle said.

At the same time, she said, this is rising: “nearly as many people who have been scheduled for execution have received reprieve in the last two years.”

Houle said seven people were put to death in 2016 in Texas, seven others were stopped by the appeals court.

South Texas College of Law Professor Ken Williams said Texas, like the rest of the country, is moving away from the death penalty, but why? Well, he said, it’s because of “concerns about innocent people being sentenced to death and executed, concerns about racial disparity in death sentencing,” and concerns about the lack of adequate inmate representation in the cases, among other things.

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