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July 24, 2008

Waiting and waiting and waiting on the row

A_deathrowgraf This morning's USA Today has this piece about the continuing delays between the imposition of death sentences and executions.  Here are excerpts:

The time prisoners spend on death row has nearly doubled during the past two decades. Legal experts predict it will rise further as states review execution procedures and prisoners pursue lengthy appeals.

Waits rose from seven years in 1986 to 12 years in 2006, the latest Justice Department statistics show.  In all five states with the most prisoners on death row — California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Alabama — offenders spend more time in prison than they did four years ago, a USA TODAY survey of state records through 2007 found.

In California, wait times average nearly 20 years, a state commission report in June says. It costs about $90,000 more per year to house a death row inmate than other inmates.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Kentucky's lethal injection method, ending an informal halt to executions nationwide for seven months. Of the 10 states with the most prisoners on death row, five launched their own reviews of lethal injection procedures in the past two years. Those resulted in suspensions or delays in executions.

July 24, 2008 at 07:47 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Virginia's execution tonite will lower the average time on the row for an executed murderer. Additionally, many of the scheduled Texas executions involve murderers whose stay on the row is considerably shorter than 10 years.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 24, 2008 8:26:14 PM

Is Virginia's average stay on the row still astonishingly low compared to the rest of the country? Like 3 years, no?

Do this -- divide the number of exonerations in each state by their death row population. Then use excel to compare the exoneration rate to the average stay on death row. I haven't seen this done for about four years, so I don't know what the relationship is, but if exoneration rate is not inversely correlated with speed of execution, I'll eat every shoe in Imelda Marcos's closet, and then ask Ferdinand if he has any accessories.

Posted by: RW | Jul 27, 2008 2:10:12 AM

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