Over half of death sentences in the US come from 2 percent of counties

Illustration for article titled Over half of death sentences in the US come from 2 percent of counties

Virtually every rich nation in the world has abolished the death penalty. But since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S. in 1976, courts have sentenced over 7,000 people to die. Shockingly, about 56 percent of death sentences currently come from just 2 percent of U.S. counties.


The Christian Science Monitor recently profiled one of those counties and examined its residents' views on the death penalty. Duval County includes the city of Jacksonville, Florida and sentences more people to death per capita than any other place in the United States. Roughly 1 out of every 14,000 people who live in the county has been sentenced to die.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

While much of the United States has gradually backed off the ultimate sanction, Duval County jurors have sentenced 14 people to death in the past five years for a litany of crimes, and 60 since the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

Death penalty critics tend to focus on wild-eyed prosecutors, vengeful judges, and bumbling defense attorneys as the problem with a national death row that runs 3,000 people deep. But interviews in and around Jacksonville indicate that Duval's propensity for punishment by death comes in big part from the will of the people. Such views of residents haven't been shaken by some 148 death row exonerations in the US since 1973 – 25 in Florida alone – including five in the US so far in 2014.

You can read more about the culture of capital punishment in the United States over at the Christian Science Monitor.

Image: 2005 photo of the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio via AP

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"Kill 'em all! Let God sort 'em out!" - Every person in Duval County.