24 facts you should know about the death penalty in the United States

Outside Tsarnaev’s trial.
Outside Tsarnaev’s trial.
Image: Reuters/Dominick Reuter
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Editor’s Note: This article was first published on April 7. On May 15, surviving Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death.


Today (Apr. 7), a jury in Boston, Massachusetts, is deliberating the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of two brothers allegedly behind the 2013 bombing of the Boston marathon. Tsarnaev, now 21, could face the death penalty if convicted.

The death penalty was abolished in Massachusetts in 1984, however, it still applies to US federal cases like Tsarnaev’s. For a look at the complicated history and status of capital punishment in the United States, read this list, excerpted from the book 13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty (2015, Seven Stories Press). —Quartz staff


Age of George Stinney, the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the twentieth century, at the time of his execution


Number of days between Stinney’s arrest and his execution in 1944


Average number of days between sentencing and execution in 2012


Year when the United States Supreme Court declared executing defendants who had committed their crimes as juveniles unconstitutional


Percentage of individuals executed between 1608 and 2002 whose occupation was listed as “slave,” the most commonly listed occupation


Number of individuals executed between 1608 and 2002 whose occupation was listed as “pirate


Number of individuals executed between 1608 and 2002 whose occupation was listed as “playboy


Number of people executed in the US between 1608 and 2002 for “sodomy, buggery, or bestiality


Percentage of white Americans who said they favored the death penalty for convicted murderers in 2013


Percentage of African Americans who said they favored the death penalty in the same survey


Factor by which jurors in Washington state were found to be more likely to recommend the death sentence for a black defendant than for a white defendant in a similar case according to a 2014 study


Percentage of Boston residents who in 2013 said they supported a death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if he were convicted of the Boston Marathon bombing


Percentage of 2010 US executions that took place in the South

Percentage that took place in the Northeast


Rank of Texas among states in money spent on mental health treatment, including services in jails and prisons, in 2003


Number of US states with the death penalty in 2013


Number of states where death row inmates were allowed contact with their families


Number of states that do not provide access to television for death row inmates


Cost of “tent lease and media supplies” for a 2011 execution in Idaho


Cost of remodeling the building in preparation for the same execution


Price cap for last meals on death row in Oklahoma


Year Texas stopped offering last meals before executions


Number of people in the US executed by firing squad since 1976


Year the Supreme Court determined that drawing and quartering, public dissection, burning alive, and disembowelment were “cruel and unusual” punishments