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Death Penalty in Decline

U.S. executions fell to a 20-year low in 2014

States executed 35 prisoners in 2014, the lowest number since 1994, according to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center. Meanwhile, the number of death sentences fell to 72, the lowest level in four decades.

A shortage of execution drugs and delays prompted by several high-profile botched executions contributed to the downturn this year, according to the group. A sharp drop in violent crime nationwide over the past two decades has also led to a corresponding drop in the number of executions over that span.