Fewer states executing prisoners 
in the US

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Nine US states executed inmates in 2012, the fewest number in 20 years, as several states that usually carry out executions did not put any inmates to death, according to a report by a charity that tracks death penalty data.

“There are still 33 states with the death penalty, but very few are actually regularly carrying out executions,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Centre and author of the report.

Some 43 inmates were executed this year, the same number as 2011, according to the report. Last year, 13 states executed inmates. No more executions are scheduled for this year.

Four states – Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Mississippi – accounted for more than three-quarters of the executions. Texas executed 15 people, and Arizona, Oklahoma and Mississippi each executed six. Ohio and Florida each executed three inmates. South Dakota two, and Delaware and Idaho one each. All were by lethal injection.

Several states that allow the death penalty and have traditionally had high numbers of executions did not carry out any in 2012. Among those was Virginia, which is second to Texas in the number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Missouri also had no executions in 2012.

“Even in the traditional death penalty areas, the death penalty is not being used as much,” Dieter said.

“It’s very expensive, it takes a long time to get to a death sentence, many are overturned and executions take place 20 years after the sentence.”

This year in California, which has not carried out an execution in nearly seven years, voters narrowly declined to repeal the death penalty.